Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Black and White Make Brown", Archibald Lyall (1938) republished

From the original book cover:

Mr. Archibald Lyall has struck completely virgin soil for his new travel book. This is the first work that has ever appeared in English on the Portuguese colonies of either Guinea or the Cape Verde Islands. They may truly be said to be two of the least known territories in Africa, if not in the world—but by no means two of the least important. With the German demand for colonies, and the confused future of the Mediterranean, they may yet leap into front-page news, and Mr. Lyall has much that is topical to say about the strategic importance of Cape Verde, and about the German activities in the Bissagos Islands, off the Guinea coast, where the French newspapers place secret naval bases almost weekly. During his adventures, Mr. Lyall sailed in the last wind-jammer still left in the trans-Atlantic passenger trade, he stayed with alleged cannibals, hobnobbed with some of the most eccentric exiles ever to be washed up on a tropic beach, discovered the worst poet in the world—and at least one very good one."

About St. Vincent (excerpt1)

About life in Portuguese Guinea (excerpt2)

About the Creole ("Kriolo") language (excerpt3)

(Link to my (re)published books at

Archibald Lyall: Black and White Make Brown, 1938 (excerpt 3)

Soon the republication of Archibald Lyall's visit to the Cape Verde Islands and 'Portuguese Guinea' of 1936 - published as Black and White Make Brown in 1938 - is finished. As a teaser, I will pre-publish some excerpts here. [About the Creole ("Kriolo") language] "Creole is to Portuguese much what the Afro-American English of Alabama is to English. Its basis is the fifteenth-century dialect of the Algarve spoken by the early colonists of Cape Verde and imperfectly assimilated by African ears. Since none of the slaves and almost none of the colonists could read or write, the language naturally underwent a strange sea-change in the process of being learnt by frightened black captives from uneducated Portuguese. The grammar was greatly simplified (‘he,’ ‘she’ and ‘it’ are alike simply el), the pronunciation was corrupted (vocé—’you’—has come down to bo), and many African words were incorporated into the language, such as ‘n meaning ‘I’ and ca meaning ‘not’; the latter is found in several of the languages of West Africa, although Capverdians anxious to emphasise the Latin element in Creole at the expense of the Bantu will derive it from nunquam by way of the Portuguese nunca. Papiar, meaning ‘to speak’ (e.g. Bo ca papia Crioulo?—’Don’t you speak Creole?’) is interesting because the Portuguese-based ‘speech’ of Curacão in the West Indies is called the Papiamento—the same word on both sides of the Atlantic. Three of the chief points where the pronunciation of Creole differs from that of Portuguese are that v becomes b, ch becomes tch, and lh becomes dj. All these pronunciations are archaic and were common in Southern Portugal at the time of the colonisation. ‘Eye,’ for example, is olho in Portuguese, ojo in Spanish (j like ch in ‘loch’) and odjo in Creole. This attracted my notice particularly because I have talked with Jews in the Balkans, who still speak fifteenth-century South Spanish, and their pronunciation is almost the same as that of the Capverdians, whose language is based on fifteenth-century South Portuguese. Where the Creole says odjo, the Spanyol of Salonika or Skoplje says ojo—the j as in French, very close to the Creole dj. Many difficult words early disappeared or, more probably, were from the outset avoided by the colonists in speaking to their slaves. Thus its similarity to vir, ‘to come,’ caused the replacement of the verb ver, ‘to see,’ by olhar (Creole odjâ), literally ‘to eye,’ just as in the pidgin English of the West Coast words like ‘over’ and ‘done’ are replaced by the unambiguous ‘finish,’ and ‘later on’ and ‘afterwards’ by the equally unmistakable ‘by’m bye.’ On the other hand, the elimination of genders, cases and tenses, and the reduction of several Portuguese words to a single Creole equivalent, are responsible for what is perhaps the greatest difficulty confronting the student of Creole, who finds that its excessive simplification results in a number of ambiguities only resolvable by means of the context. Thus bedjo may be either a ‘kiss’ (Portuguese beijo) or an ‘old man’ (Portuguese velho) and nha may mean ‘my,’ or ‘lady’ or ‘you,’ being a corruption both of minha and of senhora. In Tavares’ Lua Noba (New Moon) the word nha occurs twenty-one times; nine times it is certainly senhora or a senhora, three times minha, and nine times it may equally well be either. I quote it in full, partly to illustrate this philological point and partly as an example of Tavares’ verse in the original. O nha Madrinha Lua, Nha Madrinha de Ceu, Nha botam quel bençom; Nha Madrinha de meu! O nha Madrinha branca, Ca nha esquicê de mi! Nha dixam ta tchorâ, Ai, pa nha atcham ta arri! O nha Madrinha Santa, Nha pegam na nha mom, Nha lumiam na nha passo, Ai, nha botam bençom! Nha espiam la de Ceu, Nha djudam co nha cruz! Nha Madrinha, nha Mai, Nha Madrinha, nha Luz! O my Godmother Moon, My Godmother in Heaven, Give me your blessing, Godmother of mine! O my white Godmother, Do not ever forget me! When you leave me I weep for you And when you return I laugh. O my holy Godmother, Take me by the hand, Light me in my steps, Ah, give me your blessing! Look down on me from Heaven, Help me with my cross! My Godmother, my Mother, My Godmother, my Light! In the course of centuries other elements entered Creole besides Portuguese and Bantu. Many Brazilian words came in owing to the constant coming and going in the days when first Ribeira Grande and then Praia were ports of call between Portugal and South America. Sailors and others introduced French and Spanish elements. (Santo Antão received an influx of Canarian immigrants at the beginning of the last century when a certain Don Mariano Stinga tried to establish a slave depot on the island.) Many English words entered the language by three main channels. The first was by way of the English who exploited the salt-pans of Boa Vista and Maio in the eighteenth century. In Boa Vista and São Nicolau a sweetheart is a sicate, which is said to be derived from ‘sick-at-heart.’ A common interjection in São Nicolau is tarote! from the English ‘my troth.’ In Boa Vista the castor-oil plant is castrai instead of ricino. Senhor José Lopes even derives the word morna itself from the English ‘mourner’ and incorporates this theory in his sonnet on the morna: Do ‘mourn’ inglês vem morna, e é lamentar; e tanto Que é o coração chorando . . . E que outra prova exigem? ‘Mourner’ é quem a canta, é ‘mourner’ quem a dança. The only evidence for this seems to be the fact that the morna originated, or at least is first known to have appeared, in the English-influenced island of Boa Vista. On the other hand, similar nostalgic little songs are called mornes by the French métis of Martinique and, since morne (‘sad’) appears a more appropriate description of them than morna (‘tepid’), it seems more probable that the name was first bestowed by French sailors who observed the similarity between the songs of Boa Vista and those of Martinique. The second channel of entry was St. Vincent, where the English sowed among the natives such words as ovacôte, ovataime (‘overtime’) and grog. Allright and chin-chin are common expressions of amity all through the Islands. The national dish of maize, veal and pork is catchupa, a word said to be derived from the English ‘ketchup.’ A more extensive English element is to be found in the dialects of the Sotavento, where the returned Americanos brought back many expressions with them. A Brava man will call his friend a sanababitche for taking off his trôsas in the quitchen; when he sees a ship he cries Selo! (“Sail Off!’) and when he means ‘let go’ or ‘O.K.’ he says Goahed! or Alrai! When he wants to land he says he will gotchôr (‘go ashore’). Brava in one sense was a great disappointment to me. Eugénio Tavares wrote in Brava Creole and I hoped to get valuable help in my translation from the many Americanos there who speak fluent English. I found, however, that this was not possible. They did their best but they were not educated men, and their minds entirely lacked the precision and subtlety necessary for accurate translation. Thus an Americano would peruse a stanza carefully and at the end would translate it thus: ‘Dat mean dat guy wishes he was back home,’ or ‘Dat mean dat feller ain’t got nobody to love him,’ or ‘He say he like-a nice-a-lookin’ lady, eh?’—all of which I had already been able to deduce for myself. The mornas of Tavares deal for the most part with love and with the many things which contribute to form the melancholy of his countrymen. One of the chief among them is sodade, a typically Capverdian state of mind which doubtless dates from the far-away days of the colonisation, when white and black alike felt themselves to be exiles in an inhospitable land. Sodade is a state of heartsick-ness, a nostalgia, a memory of something missing or lost. A lover feels sodade for his lost mistress, an old man for his youth, an exile for his native land. In Andorinhas de Bolta Tavares calls his island ‘the land of Sodade.’ Swallows of the wide seas, What wind of loyalty Brings you on this bitter journey To our land of Sodade?"

Archibald Lyall: Black and White Make Brown, 1938 (excerpt 2)

Soon the republication of Archibald Lyall's visit to the Cape Verde Islands and 'Portuguese Guinea' of 1936 - published as Black and White Make Brown in 1938 - is finished. As a teaser, I will pre-publish some excerpts here. [About life in Portuguese Guinea] "It is, in short, an idyllic existence, that of such jungle villages as Tuan. Even then I did not humbug myself into imagining that I would like to spend the rest of my life there, or that we sophisticated Europeans would ever be capable of adapting ourselves to the simple life, however enthusiastic we may be about it in theory; but the people who have never known anything else are perhaps the happiest in the world. They are beautifully mannered, absolutely natural and utterly innocent. (And by that I do not mean to imply that they have not known what we call ‘the facts of life’ ever since they could toddle. The very fact that they have, is one of the reasons for their innocence.) Their lives have very few complications. They have never heard of such a thing as jealousy. Nobody looks cross if you pay more attention to somebody else than to her. In this Utopian society the girls do not even know their ages, let alone lie about them. “How many rains have you?” I asked Cadi in the Creole phrase. She said: “I don’t know,” and skipped laughing away. No one had ever asked her that before. If civilisation lies in the solution of the problem of how to lead a good and happy life, then these ‘savages’ are ten times as civilized as the Europeans with their treadmill scramble for money and possessions, and their innumerable little fears about their positions and their reputations and their souls and their sins, and twenty times as civilised as the wretched, self-complicated, self-tortured Asiatics. As Van de Velde says, ‘To be happy is an art, and is meritorious in itself.’ He might have added that it is rapidly becoming a lost art."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Archibald Lyall: Black and White Make Brown, 1938 (excerpt 1)

Soon the republication of Archibald Lyall's visit to the Cape Verde Islands and 'Portuguese Guinea' of 1936 - published as Black and White Make Brown in 1938 - is finished. As a teaser, I will pre-publish some excerpts here. [About St. Vicent] "...there is now nobody to say a mass, since the old black priest of Ribeira Grande died two or three years ago. I should have liked to have met the old padre. He was reputed to have a hundred children, and his parishioners respected him equally for his fecundity and for his political influence. Most of the old negro priests of Santiago have, or at any rate used to have, large families. Nobody thinks the worse of them, for blood runs warm in the tropics and the morals of the old slave days still survive in the Islands; the old days when the master took any girl he fancied and the blacks mated together like animals. When I was in St. Vincent, I was told of a recent case in which a woman brought a man into Court for attempted rape. The judge was puzzled, when she had finished her story. He said: "But there is one thing you have not made clear. What was your reason for resisting this man?" The woman replied rather lamely that she was defending her virginity. "Ah, now that is a reason," said the judge. "Let us see if it is true." The Court thereupon adjourned while the plaintiff underwent a medical examination. When it met again, the doctor reported that she was not a virgin. The case was dismissed on the ground that she had nothing to defend, and she was severely reprimanded for wasting the time of the Court. Among the lower classes marriage is looked on as an entirely unnecessary bother and expense. The latest statistics show that at least two-thirds of the children born in the Islands are technically illegitimate, and a priest whom Dr. Friedlander met in St. Vincent in 1912 put the proportion there as high as 98 per cent. This does not matter to them, for the Capverdians are very fond of children, and no stigma attaches to bastardy."

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reunie 1977: DE AVOND

Gisteren was het dan eindelijk zover: met 60 leerlingen en 3 leraren werd de reunie gestalte gegeven. Ik denk dat we wel kunnen stellen dat het een geslaagde avond is geweest; als 'organisatie' kregen we vele bedankjes en veel mensen gaven aan uitermate blij te zijn met dit evenement en ook met de verzorging bij Apollo. Er werd al veel gesproken over een reunie over 10 jaar, of als we allemaal 50 zijn (september 2015)... Uiteraard heb ik de foto's ook op de site gezet. Hier alvast een voorproefje (wie zou nou niet bij deze twee schatjes in de klas gezeten willen hebben?!): Komende week zal ik de adressen, telefoonnummers en email-adressen rondsturen (maar ze komen niet op internet). Mocht je hier bezwaar tegen hebben, laat het me dan even weten. Als je nog een reactie wil geven op de reunie, dan kun je hieronder op 'Post a Comment' klikken. Het eenvoudigste is voor 'anoniem' te kiezen en in je tekst je naam eronder te zetten. Groeten, Andreas

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Venlo's stadswachters van Tajiri

Op de Venlose stadsbrug zijn 2 mei 2007 vier stadswachters onthuld door Koningin Beatrix. Het betreft 4 metalen beelden van de in Baarlo woonachtige kunstenaar Shinkichi Tajiri (1923).

1 mei - dag voor de onthulling
Daags voor de onthulling maakte ik enkele foto's van de verpakte beelden:

2 mei - onthulling
Om 14:00 uur arriveerde Koningin Beatrix per helicopter op de Frederick Hendrikkazerne in Blerick, om 14:30 werden de beelden officieel onthuld:

Zuidoost-wachter (m)

Noordoost-wachter (v)

Noordwest-wachter (m)

Zuidwest-wachter (v)