Levanta o Braço, Grita a tua Liberdade

After 40 years, what does colo­ni­a­lism, war, libe­ra­tion and fre­e­dom repre­sent these days? How are the memo­ries of this period trans­mit­ted to future gene­ra­ti­ons? How is a com­mon
future built from this past?

These are some of the issues laun­ched the by eighth edi­tion of Rotas & Ritu­ais, dedi­ca­ted to the 40th Anni­ver­sary of inde­pen­dence of afri­can coun­tries with which Por­tu­gal had a rela­ti­onship that gene­ra­tes, to this day, exchan­ges that enrich Lis­bon and cons­ti­tute one of its dis­tinc­tive features.

Rather than focus­sing on rela­ti­ons between coun­tries, we tried to focus on peo­ple, brin­ging the street to the São Jorge Cinema, through dis­cus­si­ons and issues that do not usu­ally have this stage, fra­med by seve­ral docu­men­ta­ries that help to unders­tand post-colonialism. On the walls of São Jorge, the faces of the Chil­dren of the Wind remem­ber who has been forgotten.

The street, in this case, is also a lite­ral. Recog­ni­zing urban art as a pri­vi­le­ged stage of social inter­ven­tion, we laun­ched a chal­lenge, in part­nership with the Urban Art Gal­lery of the Lis­bon City Coun­cil, to sub­mit pro­po­sals to build a wall that will reveal inde­pen­dence in the light of cur­rent events.

And because there is no revo­lu­tion without music, it will be quite pre­sent in this edi­tion of Rotas & Ritu­ais. At a time of han­do­ver between gene­ra­ti­ons, we will have two con­certs of his­to­ri­cal groups: Os Tuba­rões from Cape Verde and Ghorwane from Mozam­bi­que, com­ple­men­ted by con­tem­po­rary reflec­tion of Ango­lan Nás­tio Mos­quito and his guest Moço Árabe. We also have the Inde­pen­dence Dance in the foyer of the São Jorge Cinema, to the sound of the ener­ge­tic rhythms of Gui­nean Djum­bai Djazz.

An intense week that will help the city look at itself.

The motto is given by the title of a song by Os Tuba­rões, writ­ten nearly 40 years ago: Labanta Braço, Grita Bo Liberdade.

The Board of Direc­tors of EGEAC

“Every time a man has con­tri­bu­ted to the vic­tory of the dig­nity of the spi­rit, every time a man has said no to an attempt to sub­ju­gate his fel­lows, I have felt soli­da­rity with his act.””

Frantz Fanon Peau noire, mas­ques blancs

To cele­brate the for­ti­eth anni­ver­sary of the Inde­pen­dence of Por­tu­guese colo­nial rule, Rotas & Ritu­ais invi­tes you on a jour­ney to the past and pre­sent of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozam­bi­que, São Tomé and Prin­cipe and Portugal.

These are sto­ries of colo­ni­a­lism and deco­lo­ni­za­tion, tes­ti­mo­nies of war, of strug­gle, of fre­e­dom, of sur­vi­val, of recon­ci­li­a­tion with the past, but also of hope for the future. And so the date should be cele­bra­ted as a pur­suit for fre­e­dom and against oppression.

Over time and his­tory, new para­digms arose, but something pre­vails. In the words of Mia Couto “Colo­ni­a­lism did not die with inde­pen­dence. It just chan­ged shift and exe­cu­tors”. If in the past it was impe­ri­a­lism, today we speak of glo­ba­li­za­tion, but the assump­ti­ons of the world sys­tem are not that dif­fe­rent. A cons­tant game of clo­se­ness and dis­tance, of inte­rests and power, gui­ded by incre­a­sin­gly less tole­rant, inclu­sive and supor­tive rules. And, at the same time that dis­tan­ces between coun­tries are shor­te­ned, invi­si­ble bar­ri­ers are built between people.

Des­pite all the talk about inter­cul­tu­ra­lism, the path towards social, eco­no­mic and cul­tu­ral inclu­sion of Afri­cans in Por­tu­gal remains dif­fi­cult. The colo­nial past per­sists on tre­a­ding over sub­se­quent gene­ra­ti­ons that still face situ­a­ti­ons of dis­cri­mi­na­tion, racism and resis­tance to inte­gra­tion – a rea­lity that dis­cri­mi­na­tes and at the same time is said to be multicultural.

The silence around his­tory con­ti­nues invul­ne­ra­ble and refu­ses to come to terms with our past. A past which is never to be for­got­ten but which does not want to be recal­led. But we can not erase our his­tory, mini­mize the impor­tance of sla­very, colo­ni­za­tion, war and libe­ra­tion. Four deca­des have gone by and it is now time to recall, review atti­tu­des, pre­vent the sub­ject from suc­cum­bing to silence and being for­got­ten by the gene­ra­ti­ons of today and tomor­row. Because for­get­ting is something that can bring shame upon us.

Paula Nunes
Rotas & Ritu­ais programmer