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A memoir of a mother and daughter's return to Cape Verde reveals the legacies of national liberation, a story of memory and migration, and the psychic and physical landscape that colonialism has wrought.When Sonia Vaz Borges accompanied her mother, Maria Isabel Vaz, home to Santiago Island, Cape Verde, it was the first time she experienced the island where her mother and family were born, and where her mother left forty years earlier. As a historian, documentarian, and a Black Cape Verdean young woman born in Portugal, she booked a trip to a native land she's never been to in order to conduct research on the history of militant resistance to Portuguese colonialism, of the education initiatives of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC), and the lessons for freedom available for today. What she discovers are lifelong lessons as illuminating as anything her PhD revealed to her. The fragments of memories, episodes, and encounters in Cape Verde that she assembled in this travel diary reveal an experience of "homegoing" that is rich with the legacies of national liberation, the story of a Black woman's migration during the height of colonial oppression, of separation from family and nation, and memories of an island transformed since Independence, and the psychic and physical landscape that the legacy of colonial rule has wrought. As mother and daughter travel home together for the first time, they embark on a journey that takes them to new places in their relationship to each other, a return and a rediscovery of a place and people imagined and conjured through memory, where history and place blur and where stories are created and shared. Rag?s is a Cape Verdean creole word for the space created between the waist and the knees when seated: the lap. Here, it is a place to find nurturing, a place to be embraced, protected, and cared for, a place for reconnection and return to the memories that others carry for you when migration means both leaving and being left behind.

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"Whether in Cape Verde or anywhere else in the world, education is the fundamental basis that underpins the work of the emancipation of every human being and the conscientisation of mankind1, not in relation to individual or class needs or conveniences, but in relation to the environment in which he lives, to the needs of the community, and to the problems of the humanity in general. … Today, education aims at the full realisation of man, without distinguishing race or origin, as a conscious and intelligent, useful, and progressive being, integrated into the world and his (geographic, economic, and social) environment, without any sort of submission. For this and because of this, the issue of education cannot be treated separately from the socioeconomic question." 


Amílcar Cabral, 1951

"Looking to national liberation projects of an earlier era opens a window to imagining the alternatives that we can build today. In the struggle against Portuguese colonialism, the PAIGC, or the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, prioritised education and other social advances that enhanced human dignity."                                                                                             Vijay Prashad

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English, Portuguese, Spanish

PAIGC Militant Education


"We were politicians in that situation, it was difficult not to be. A child who comes from the liberated areas, who hears the bombings, you have to explain why there were bombings, [explain] about the colonialism, that he didn't see but that he was feeling it. [As a teacher] You had to explain why people decide to fight to be free from colonial oppression... Politics was so evident, that they had to know and understand"


Maria da Luz Boal,

Cape Verde, 2013


This book brings to light the educational project developed by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) during the period of the armed liberation struggle against the Portuguese colonial regime in Guinea Bissau (1963-1974).

The work goes further to explore the practices of education in the period after independence until 1978.

It includes an extended analysis of reports and printed material produced by the PAIGC, and expands its sources to oral testimonies, exploring militants individual and collective experiences on education under the colonial regime, that finally led the Party militants to develop their concept, practices, and materials for the militant education project. 

An invaluable contribution to the history of education in Guinea Bissau in specific and African and World history of education in general, the present work leads the reader through the paths of education during colonialism and the challenges to the process of decolonize education during and after the armed conflict for independence and liberation. 

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Language: English

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"In the Dust of Waiting. Paths in the neighborhoods of Estrada Militar, Santa Filomena and Encosta Nascente" 


Fundação Calouste Gulbenkien| Principia


This book is  the result of three years of work in the neighborhood of Santa Filomena, Amadora (Portugal), where, between 2008 and 2010, the author Sónia Vaz Borges coordinated some activities within the framework of the "Laço" parental training project, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and developed by the Instituto das Comunidades Educativas.


The book documents the history of three neighborhoods and the presence of  African diasporic people in the periphery of Lisbon, particularly as it relates to their struggles to secure housing, establish communities, and to reckon with the lingering effects of post-colonialism.


"These are pieces of stories, lives, places and ways, dreams and journeys, memories and everyday life. Stories of who was and continues to be placed on the shores of history. In houses and streets built by time and by people. So that this world was not forgotten and erased not only from memory but also from physical space, I made sure that some of its stories had a place where they could be told and lead to a reflection that opens the way for the future."



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Language: Portuguese 




A escola na sociedade intercultural: perspectivas europeias. Documentação do projecto “Interacção, Diversidade e Tolerância: A Escola como Palco do Dialogo Intercultural” 

Borges, Sónia Vaz;Ernst, Christian .
SPGL, Lisboa

Language: Portuguese 

Caderno Consciência e Resistência Negra, Vol. I-X

Borges, S. Vaz, et al.
Encontros, Amadora.

Language: Portuguese 


                                   Unavailable for sell


 Image by Craig Gilmore

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