The home of Creole culture, a meeting point between Africa and Europe, a bridge to the Americas, the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde, lost in the middle of the Atlantic, is made up of ten islands swept by the trade winds, each with its own reality and beauty, but united by a profound identity that goes beyond history and mestizaje. Morabeza, a feeling, a typically Cape Verdean state of mind that cannot be explained in words, one can only feel it in the bottom of one’s heart, lulled by the melancholic melodies of morna music.
Morabeza is lived. It is lived in the colourful colonial towns of Sao Felipe on Fogo Island, Mindelo in Sao Vicente, Ciudad Veihla in Santiago, or Sal Rei in Boa Vista, but also in the most remote villages in the mountains. Morabeza is welcome, smiles, openness of spirit. It is drinking grogue in bars in the company of others, or playing cards on every street corner. It is carnival, between competition and celebration. It’s music and dance, but also the melancholy and nostalgia of the 700,000 Cape Verdeans who have immigrated abroad, and who will sooner or later return to their beloved land.
Morabeza are the historic abandoned salt pans on the island of Sal and the revered Pico do Fogo on the island of the same name, which every so often awakens to bury everything in lava, but also to purify and fertilise a miraculously productive soil. The green valleys of Santo Antao or the pitch-black lunar landscapes of the volcanic peaks. It is the paradisiacal beaches of Sal and Santiago, the turquoise water of a hundred shades and the white dunes of Boa Vista, as if a small corner of the Sahara had decided to migrate, letting itself be carried away by the desert winds. Morabeza is everywhere, among the fish market and the wooden boats of the fishermen, on the painted walls of the houses, among the melodies that resonate in every corner of the town, in the presence of the effigy of Cesaria Evora, Cape Verdean godmother, undisputed queen of morna.
Morabeza is Cape Verde in its essence, the welcoming atmospheres of an uprooted people, with multiple Afro-European origins, who have been able to rebuild their own Creole identity, on a common feeling, a deep state of mind of sharing and solidarity, of love towards a land that now belongs to them, for better or for worse.
Cape Verde is the greatest “human laboratory” in history, which from slavery and deportation has been able to germinate one of the richest cultural heritages in “human capital” in the world, among what appears to be one of the last paradises on earth.