This is a special tribute to an iconic Santomean poet, an important figure in the national movement, who has left the Santomean community.
Alda Graça do Espírito Santo
Poet and a great exponent of Saotomean nationalism.
The author of “Trinity” and other verses that inspired nationalism in Sao Tome, Alda Graça do Espírito Santo, died. March is the month of women, but this year saw the loss of a great woman. The poet would have been 84 years old on the 30th of April this year.
She wrote the letters of the national anthem and is a reference to the literature of Sao Tome e Principe. She was a member of the transitional government that led the country from 1974 until independence, July 12, 1975. She was also the minister of education and culture, and later the minister of information and culture. Alda Graça was the first woman to be President of the National Assembly of Sao Tome and Principe. She founded and was president of the National Union of Writers and Artists São Tome (UNEAS).
Last year, she was honored twice. First, by the Ministry of Education and Culture in celebration of her 83 years of age. Then, by the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. “I think think this is an exaggeration on your part, because I do not think of myself as a monument. The monument is the people, the monument is the country, the monument is what we want to build. In that sense this vanity is something that is not part of me, “said the poet, in April 2009, when she was honored on the occasion of her 83rd birthday.
“Slain was the river of my town”, is one of many legacies she left to us.
“Lá no “Água Grande” a caminho da roça negritas batem que batem co’a roupa na pedra. Batem e cantam modinhas da terra.
Cantam e riem em riso de mofa histórias contadas, arrastadas pelo vento.
Riem alto de rijo, com a roupa na pedra e põem de branco a roupa lavada.
As crianças brincam e a água canta. Brincam na água felizes… Velam no capim um negrito pequenino.
E os gemidos cantados das negritas lá do rio ficam mudos lá na hora do regresso… Jazem quedos no regresso para a roça.”
Katya Aragao is a Santomean journalist. Her work has been published in Tela Non and Editora Sol. She is also a beloved radio voice at Rádio Jubilar. This special tribute was first published at Editora Sol and as been translated for publication at SaoTomeBlog.