RABELADOS

Ana Rocha Fernandes, Torsten Truscheit
Germany 2001 | 90 Min. | 35 mm, OmeU
Q&A with:
Ana Rocha Fernandes, Torsten Truscheit

The Rabela­dos live in iso­lat­ed regions of main island San­ti­a­go and are the remain­ing rebel­lions of Cape Verde, the for­got­ten Islands near the west coast of Africa. They have been described as “non-believ­ing” with occult rites and defamed as ter­ror­ists. As a result many have been taken to con­cen­tra­tion camps or their chiefs have been abduct­ed to other islands. Their uncon­ven­tion­al­i­ty, their rejec­tion of the church and the state, as well as their efforts to become inde­pen­dent were seen by the Por­tuguese as an omen of organ­ised resis­tance. Indeed, there are rumours that Amil­car Cabral, the sym­bol­ic figure of the fight for inde­pen­dence, has met with the Rabela­dos. The flag which they still hold up high, shows the shield of the Inde­pen­dent Party of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. Still they refuse to send their chil­dren to school or to pay tax and only in the case of an emer­gency do they take buses. Remain­ing inde­pen­dent is their most impor­tant maxim. They work only for them­selves as farm­ers, fish­er­men or hand­i­crafters and never accept presents.