proud cape verdean

8 Reasons To Be A Proud Cape Verdean

We know that Cape Verdeans across the globe have a lot of pride in their culture and history, so we sought out to compile a list of “8 Reasons To Be A Proud Cape Verdean.”

1. Music

You can never listen to enough Cape Verdean music. It’s such a big part of our culture and one of our biggest contributions to the world. Some of our most notable musicians include: Cesaria Evora, Bana, Mika Mendes, Gil Semedo, and Mayra Andrade. We thank them for blessing us with the songs and stories that have consistently made us proud, and given us the chance  to share our pride with people who know nothing about the islands. Genres include morna, coladeira, zouk, funana, kizomba and batuque. Our music is filled with longing, love, history and soul and allow us to celebrate the unique people we are, every single day.

2. Passada

We all know the feeling of going to the club, or some family party and the excitement that comes with knowing that you’re going to be able to perfect your passada moves on the dance floor. We just can’t help it – the one-two step to the tune of your favorite Nelson Freitas song just takes over you. The dance floor is always LIT and sweating out your newly blow-dried hair is a guarantee. No doubt, you are always ready to teach your non-Cape Verdean friends how to move their hips the way you do, because we know there’s so much beauty in this form of art, and no other dance can ever compare.

3. Our Traditional Foods

Two of the most popular traditional Cape Verdean foods are catchupa and pastel. Cachupa is a stew that typically consists of hominy, beans, fish or meat and is considered Cape Verde’s national dish. Every household adds it owns flare of ingredients and spices. A personal favorite variation is catchupa refogado (or refried), especially with a fried egg on top, drizzled with olive oil straight from the motherland.  As for pastel, the flaky tuna-filled fried dough, you never know you were craving it until you see the aluminum filled “panela” from across the room, and 5 minutes later you realize you’ve eaten 17 of them and your diet is ruined. But it was worth it!

4. Our Sense of Community & Family

Whether you’re from Dorchester, Providence, New Bedford or southern California, the sense of community among Cape Verdeans is undeniable. Cape Verdeans are committed to each other, and it shows in big and small ways. Our school and church communities are some of the strongest and most involved. This is also evident through the fact that 20% of Cape Verde’s GDP is from remittances (a transfer of money by a foreigner to an individual in his or her home country). We’re accustomed to watching our mothers fill “bidons” to send back home to those who don’t have the means. This level of generosity is a result of and reinforced by our deep feeling of connectedness to each other, to the close-knit families near to us, and to those across oceans who never stop singing our praises.

5. Our Drive to Succeed

We truly belief that as a people, Cape Verdeans possess an undeniable drive to succeed. Some of our biggest inspirations are people we grew up with on the block, who have navigated the tough streets of our cities, graduated from some of the best institutions in the country and through hard work, are making a name for themselves in and outside of our community. Some have taken more nontraditional paths and have accomplished some impressive things, but one theme is clear – hard work is in our DNA and we’re always eager for the next opportunity to better ourselves. We expect to see an increasing number of role models continue to represent us over the next few years, and we can’t wait to give them a shout out.

6. Development of the Country

Since it gained independence in 1975, Cape Verde has been a relatively stable democracy, with development metrics such as the Human Development Index (life expectancy, education, infant mortality, income per capita), being among the highest in all of Africa. Due to its successes in combatting the country’s poverty levels and continuous growth in GDP year over year, in 2008 Cape Verde graduated from Least Developed Country to Middle Income Country (established by the World Trade Organization). Despite its lack of natural resources, Cape Verde is paving the way in areas such renewable energy, which can be attributed to wind farms that were built in 2011 that now supply 25% of the country’s electricity, with a target of 100% by 2020 (Learn more). We hope to see continued investment in sectors including, but not limited to education, technology, and tourism, but so far, we are proud of the model the Cape Verde serves for other developing nations in Africa and beyond. Read more about Cape Verde’s history and development here.

7. Relative Freedom of Its People

Cape Verde’s “Freedom In the World” rating, which measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights is the highest possible (1/1), ranking higher than all of the other 53 African countries, sharing first place with 48 other countries globally. Cape Verde also ranks #1 in Africa for “Freedom of the Press.” This is HUGE considering the level of oppression and lack of civil liberties people still experience in too many parts of the world. Cape Verdeans living in the country have the right to exercise free speech, to vote in democratic elections, the right to equal treatment under the law, right to a fair trial, and freedom of religion (to name a few) – all things we shouldn’t take for granted and should definitely celebrate.

8. Beauty in Diversity

As a whole, there’s no denying that Cape Verdeans are some of the most beautiful people on this planet. A big part of that can be attributed to the diversity of its people – we can find every skin and eye color, every hair texture, a variety of accents and traditions on each and every island of the country, as well as in every city around the globe where we have a presence. The origins of our diversity go way back to the widespread miscegenation that occurred during colonial rule that has resulted in 57% of genes in today’s Cape Verdean population coming from Africa and 43% from Europe. This level of diversity not only has created an entire population of people with enviable physical beauty but also makes its cultural traditions that much more interesting and special.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the list, which is by no means exhaustive, of the “8 Reasons to Be A Proud Cape Verdean. We welcome your comments and don’t forget to share & subscribe!

4 replies on “8 Reasons To Be A Proud Cape Verdean

  • Paulo

    Sorry Maria but zouk, kizomba, and passada are not ours to claim!!!!
    Yes, Bana and Cesaria are traditional Cabo Verdean singers. Mayra Andrade somewhat…. but Mika Mendes,Gil Semedo, and Nelson Freitas are artists of Cabo Verdean descent who happen to sing another countries music genre in Cabo Verdean Creole!

    • Maria Centeio

      We appreciate the input! The article doesn’t presume that any of those genres are ours to claim, it simply expresses that we’ve adopted it as part of our culture, and that they have had a real impact into how people of Cabo Verdean descent relate to the country. However you personally perceive them is for you to express and we welcome that. We’ll celebrate them nonetheless 🙂


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