A Diáspora como Base da Identidade Cabo-Verdiana em Ilhéu dos Pássaros, de Orlanda Amarílis, e Chiquinho, de Baltasar Lopes


  • Diana Simões


The harsh environmental conditions of the Cape Verde islands introduce the theme of emigration as a justifiable escape from a miserable life of hard work, threatened by starvation. Cape-Verdean identity is built upon the experience of that reality, without being confined to the geographical borders of the archipelago. According to Bradley Smith’s definition, being Cape-Verdean means assuming a foundationally diasporic identity, characterized by hybrid miscegenation and by a feeling of double consciousness in reverse (subverting Paul Gilroy’s thesis). Baltasar Lopes, in Chiquinho, and Orlanda Amarílis, in Ilhéu dos Pássaros, skillfully use the motto of emigration in a broad sense, which encompasses different phases of country development and the mentality changes that follow, thus presenting distinct views of the diasporic possibilities beyond the islands. This article will also highlight the importance of language in the formation of national identity, through competition faced by creole against standard Portuguese (in the context of social mobility in colonial and post-colonial regimes) and other foreign languages, like English or French (useful in the diaspora).