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Cape Verde, the land of “morabeza”

Everybody that comes to my island, will definitely fall in love with the place and the people.

First year student at the Graduate School of Fundamental Science and Engineering

Whenever I say where I am from in Japan, people often ask if it is a country on the Caribbean or they assume I am referring to Cape Town in South Africa.

Cape Verde is a small archipelago of 10 islands: 9 inhabited and 1 uninhabited, with the inhabited being nowadays a natural reserve. The country’s official language is Portuguese, but in everyday life we use a dialect called “crioulo”. Since the islands are very small, it is a running joke that we, the Cape Verdean people, all know each other.

Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony, and during the colonial (from 1460 until 1975) period that “morabeza” started to develop, mainly as survival mechanism. At its core morabeza is exemplified by people helping each other get by. One could say that morabeza is the Cape Verdean philosophy and it is expressed towards everybody living in the country.

Some of the components from in morabeza, are hospitality and happiness. Even though I’m a native it still amazes me how Cape Verdeans are able to make strangers/visitors feel like they are home. Also, no matter the situation, Cape Verdeans always keep a smile on their face.

Sao Vicente

My island, called Sao Vicente, is an island that showcases morabeza strongly. The island is known by the other islands as an island with people with very “chill”, happy and partying personality. People of Sao Vicente are very creative too, and they showcase it in several ways. Some of those include: jokes, music, theater, dance, festivals and much more.

People from Sao Vicente, in order to help new people get settled in the new life, will frequently take them to engage in the activities popular activities. One of those is going to Laginha, a beach located within the city. Because of the close distance, you can find people there at any time of the day.

Laginha beach

Like Brazil, Cape Verde also celebrates carnival. In Sao Vicente the celebration starts one month before carnival day. The mandingas are first to come out and play every Sunday until the last one before carnival. Carnival is so strongly tied to our culture, that there are carnival parades from all ages, ranging from kindergarten children, to high-school teachers.

The mandinga(left)and a scene from the carnival(right)

The carnival is filled with a lot of people.

I think everybody that comes to my island, will definitely fall in love with the place and the people. Hope to meet you there one day.

◎ What Cape Verde is like ◎

Cape Verde is a republic located in Macaronesia in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Northwest Africa. The capital is Praia. The size of the country is 4033㎢ (about the same as Shiga Prefecture). The population is 546,000 (2017). It’s a tropical oceanic climate there, but it’s dry, with little precipitation throughout the year. The music of the ”Morna” is characterized by melancholy voices and laid-back tunes, and is based on a Creole culture that is a mixture of Portuguese, African and Brazilian cultures. The time difference from Japan is minus 10 hours.

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