Australian author Nazam Anhar contacted us to help promote his pirate adventure novel Scrimshaw. The story is set largely on the Cape Verde Islands. English schoolboy Nathan Whitford is taken captive by a notorious pirate and must find a way to escape the ship. He makes a dangerous journey from the island of São Nicolau to the port of Mindelo. Scrimshaw was first published in print by Scholastic Australia, and is now available as an eBook. It will be offered as a free download from Amazon for the next 5 days (as at 06 December 2018) through this link: https://amzn.to/2rmqrnK
Hermínia Ribeiro the deputy director of the Instituto Marquês de Valle Flôr (IMVF) has been on the island of Maio this month. The IMVF became a Non-Governmental Development Organisation (NGDO) in 1988 in São Tomé and Principe. The IMVF is an organisation for development and cooporation and in the 1990’s extended its work to other countries that are Portuguese speaking. The organisation has been supporting initiatives on the island of Maio.
During her visit Ms Ribeiro visited several recipients of the support to monitor progress. She reported that renewal element of the project to promote and renew tourism on Maio was nearly completed. The creation of craft-making enterprises had already resulted in more handmade goods being sold in the shop adjacent to the Forte de São José.
Also the Salt Interpretation Centre is nearing completion and it is expected that this will be a useful addition for the people of Maio and visitors to the island.
Other projects on the island such as the Projeto de Turismo Solidário e Comunitário, which was started 12 months ago, has the aim to improve the living conditions of the people of Maio. It is intended to strengthen and diversify the tourism offer on Maio. Increasing tourism will increase those activities that generate income and are connected with sustainability. This will run for a further two years.
The projects are financed by the European Union, the IMVF and the Portuguese Co-operation and the Society of Tourist Development of the Boa Vista and Maio Islands (SDTIBM).
At a time when much of Europe is in the middle of a heatwave/draught it is particularly good to hear that some farmers in Cape Verde have had their lives improved by the installation of a water irrigation system. Money from the African Development Bank has paid for this installation on the island of Santiago. It means that the farmers that have benefitted from it no longer have to hike for up to 20km in order to get water for farming and for daily use.
Santiago is the largest island in Cape Verde and it is an important centre for agriculture. Farming relies on water for its survival, but in country where there is little rain that has always proved problematic. A large number of farmers are women, so this is making life considerably improved for these hard working ladies. One lady farmer has reportedly been able to increase her production and can now send her son to university.
The Picos and Engenhos Watershed Management project will help to secure the future for farming on Santiago. It has already increased the yield of the 17 farming groups that has brought almost 1,000 women farmers together. The programme has seen wells, reservoirs and irrigation systems constructed over the course of 7 years. Currently Cape Verde has to import up to 75% of its food. It is anticipated that this improvement in agricultural production will reduce that figure.
Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora has been honoured especially within Cape Verde but also further afield. She was internationally famous for singing Morna, which is usually considered to be Cape Verde’s national music. Ms Évora was a recording artist and a Grammy Award winner, and was considered to have a particularly beautiful singing voice. Creole-Portuguese is the language of Cape Verde and that is the language in which Cesária sang. The language was, however, never a barrier to people from outside of the country.
Cesária Évora died in 2011, and since then a number of artists have recorded songs in tribute to her. In Cape Verde and in some countries in in Europe, such as France, roads have been named after her. Also in France, a college in Montreuil (Île de Paris) was named after her in 2014. Also a stamp was issued in remembrance of her concert at the Bataclan in 1995, combined with remembering the tragic events at that concert hall in 2015.
The Banco de Cabo Verde included Cesária Évora’s face on a new 2000 Escudo bank note in 2014. The airport on the island of Säo Vicente was renamed the Cesária Évora Airport in march 2012. There is also a stature of Évora at the entrance to the airport terminal.
The African country of Guinea-Bissau also issued stamps featuring her together with an image of her grammy award. Èvora won the Grammy for her album ‘Voz d’Amor’.
As if all that wasn’t honour enough, a sea slug found in the northeast corner of the island of Sal has been named Aegires evorae. Also a butterfly found on the island of Santo Antäo has been named Chilades evorae.
Cesária Évora can certainly be considered to have put Africa, and Cape Verde in particular, on the international musical map. These honours to her indicate the esteem in which she is held both at home and in the wider world. A big voice and a big name from a small country.
Digital terrestrial television is to be expanded in Cape Verde. The change from analogue to digital was completed in 2017 for the islands of Santiago, Maio, Sal and São Vicente. The new investment of €14.5m will complete the Digital TV service for the islands of Santo Antão, Fogo, Boa Vista and São Nicolau and by the end of 2018 Brava will also be included. The news was given recently by the Minister of Culture and Creative Industries, Abraham Vincente.
There are some festivals coming up during August and September. These include the Festival de Música de Calheta, 12 – 13 August in Calheta, Santiago; City festival (sport and culture), 21 August to 8 September in Vila do Maio, Maio; the famous Baia das Gatas Festival of Music, 11 – 13 August in Baía das Gatas, São Vicente and The Sal Music festival in September in Santa Maria. Enjoy the music that is such an important part of Cape Verdean life.