P.I.: Inocência Mata


When political actors of an era move into the following one, they keep their roles, although in different ways. It is therefore understandable that talking in and about the present is made by referring to the past.

This is what happens in the political debates taking place in the African Portuguese-speaking countries, and even in Brazil, where discussions are often held about individual and collective memories. They allow the history of the national liberation movement to come to light  as well as the roles played by the different social and political actors at different stages of the independence struggle. Today the present is still conditioned by the past and even more so when many of the actors ‘bear the burden of the past’ – whether this indicates the active roles they played or their absence. Indeed, the four decades of their political independence still need to be explored by History from the viewpoint of transforming the past into an object of study.

Full description

Keywords: “Building of history”, memorialist discourse, political written memoirs.


The aim of this project is to question the memoirs of the political actors in the historical processes in the African Portuguese-speaking countries, during the colonial and post-colonial periods as “nation-building sites”. The research focuses on memoir writing (autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, reports, interviews) in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape-Verde and São Tomé and Principe that have been published, and in working on them, raise some conjectures (or: propositions) not only about the functions of new kinds of chronicles (which may include those close to the griots as historians in traditional African societies) but also about “writing the nation” and as a counterpoint literary discourse.


Inocência Mata (FLUL-UL)
Maria Paula Meneses (CES-UCoimbra)
Eliane Veras Soares (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brasil)
Francesa Negro (CEC-FLUL)
Lourenço do Rosário (Universidade Politécnica, Moçambique)
Margarida Paredes (CRIA-ISCTE-IUL/UFBA, Brasil)
Mário César Lugarinho (USP)
Odete Costa Semedo (Universidade Amílcar Cabral/INEP – Guiné-Bissau)
Melquisedeque Muniz de Melo (PhD-COMP-FLUL)
Liz Maria Teles de Sá Almeida (UEvora)
Rosa Cruz e Silva (Arquivo HIstórico de Angola)


  • Catholic University of Angola
  • Agostinho Neto University
  • São Paulo University


  1. 1st Seminar/Workshop: The site of memorialist writings and repossessing the traditional function of the historical registration. FLUL, 22-23 January 2013.
  2. Round table at the 12th CONLAB – Luso-Afro-Brazilian Congress of Sciences /1st AILPcsh Congress – International Association of Social and Human Sciences in Portuguese. TOPIC: Memorialist Dynamics in the Five African Portuguese-speaking Countries. Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1-5 February 2015.
  3. 1st International Conference Memory and History in Macau Writing: a Postcolonial Approach was then held in partnership with another project: Literature of Macau in Portuguese – a Postcolonial Approach (MYRG2014-00016-FAH). PI: Prof. Fernanda Gil Costa. Universidade de Macau, 5-6 May 2015.
  4. 2nd International Conference on Memorialist Discourse and the Building of History (Africa and Macau). Co-organized by the Department of Portuguese and Research Centre for Luso-Asian Studies (CIELA) / Centre for Comparative Studies (CEC), funded by the MYRG project on Memorialist Discourse and the Building of History: The Case of Macau (Ref Nº: SRG2015-00003-FAH/UM). PI: Inocência Mata. Universidade de Macau, 25-28 October 2016.
This work is financed by national funds through the FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., within the scope of the project UIDB/00509/2020 and UIDP/00509/2020.