Photograph: Rui Gaudêncio
The Portuguese Migration Department sponsored a leadership program for a group of 21 young Cape Verdeans that included a trip to the land of their fathers, an archipelago off the western coast of Africa. Some of them have never been to the place where Portuguese society keeps telling them they come from, some of them have never been to Africa.
Their agenda there is full of official meetings. But from the very moment they land they are divided, they feel they have to comply with whatever is asked of them officially but emotions get in the way. They are in formal meetings longing to get together with their grandmothers.
Grannies are the pillar of migration in this former Portuguese colony where half a million live and from where more than one million are supposed to have migrated looking for better lives. In their journey they learn that it’s possible to be both European and African, to be from Portugal and Cape Verde. Vanessa finally lives the moment when she can hug her “iá-iá”.