Life Beyond
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Life Beyond

Why we need to preserve and pass on Cape Verdean culture

And why specifically second generation Cape Verdeans need to embrace their culture and values

Image retrieved at Pinterest

As cultures and people evolve, we all adapt and we all forget certain traditions. Although many older traditions are ridiculous in the light of modern understanding, please, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. Cape Verdean or other.

Cape Verdeans abroad outnumber Cape Verdeans who actually live in Cabo Verde two to one. And in that, we’re not even counting all of the second generation Cape Verdeans who often are of mixed heritage — but then again, aren’t we all — and live with their Cape Verdean migrant parents anywhere in the world.

That’s kind of a weird statistic if you think about it.

Cape Verdeans are good at adjusting to a new, different environment with different cultural values and a different language. I believe it’s in our cultural DNA to be open-minded and flexible like that, being that we are a mestiço people with a history of sailing the world and opening our harbors, our minds, hearts and our music to the world in return.

So, if we’re so flexible and open-minded, and if we adjust so easily — why is it so important for us to maintain, embrace and pass on our cultural values?

There’s power in diversity

Firstly, I’d like to remind that every culture, every language and every bit of knowledge and insight in this world should be cherished.

As modern human capitalist society steamrolls across the planet, not only animals and plants become endangered. There are also numerous native cultures and languages that are on the verge of being extinct.

And that’s a pity. Because, much as with the diversity in potentially medicinal plants alone that the rainforests of the Amazon and Indonesia harbor; we never know when we as humanity might come across a problem we might have overcome by applying some obscure, exotic insight from a culture that is now fast forgotten.

Research has proven again and again that we need diversity in the workplace to be successful. That’s because everyone of us brings their own way of looking at a problem, and it’s usually best to be able to test more than one solution.

So it’s not just Cape Verdeans. All of us need to embrace our culture. And not just in favor of diversity:

What is a tree without its roots?

In the rainforest, there are many different kinds of trees. Any of these trees can produce a number of interesting and beneficial products to their environment— next to the oxygen they produce, which enables about 99.99% of life on this planet.

Think of shade, fruits; leaves that birds use for their nests or that shamans may use for specific medical practices.

But these trees often do more: they provide a habitat for a multitude of other lifeforms, existing together with each other and the tree in complex, evolving ecosystems.

Now, equate the tree in the forest to the human in its natural habitat. All of us contribute value to our environment — mainly consisting of other humans, mind you — and we do it all of the time. We often support a complex ecosystem ourselves, in various roles and ways.

Now, ask yourself this question: what can a tree, or a human, really provide stably, if it is not firlmly rooted? What is a tree without its roots?

And how flexibly can one bend and wave along with the wind, if one does not have a firm grasp of the ground?

Let’s pass on our unique flexibility and openness

So what is Cape Verdean culture and what are typical cultural values?

Of course there’s our Creole language, cuisine and our world famous musical tradition. Cachupa, Sampajudo, Badiu; Cesaria, Tito Paris, Ildo Lobo; Mayra Andrade, Sara Tavares and Elji Beatz.


Of course there’s our beautiful, wise, sarcastic moms, and our strong, silent, and ever less absent dads.

And, according to Hofstede Insights, we have a fairly hierarchical, collectivist, caring culture, that values traditions and that has a strong tendency towards indulgence as compared with other countries. Nice. Except for the hierarchical (older traditions or bath water).

But there’s one thing that I don’t see explicitly mentioned or referenced anywhere, when people discuss Cape Verde culture. And that’s our openness and flexibility.

In a world that’s becoming more and more culturally mixed by the day, I propose this might be one of the main things that will distinguish succesful and healthy societies, organizations and groups from unsuccesful and unhappy or unhealthy ones.

And it’s exactly this cultural openness and flexibility that I think might be one of the most important reasons for us as Cape Verdeans and especially us, ‘second generation’ Cape Verdeans to maintain and pass on at least some of our culture. To our children, but also to anyone we might come across in our travels.

And for ourselves? Grab on to your roots. Only if you are rooted, can you ever hope to be open and flexible. Or be strong, grow sustainably, and bare fruit.

I greatly value and thank you for your attention. That’s why I try to bring value. I’d love it if you would let me know how you valued this article, by clapping or in the comments below.

Finally, if you know anyone who you think this article might be valuable for, please share it.




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Erwin Lima

Erwin Lima

Exploring and maximising human potential. I write about tech, marketing, writing, love, money, society; life. Find my newest book here:

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