A diaspora returns. Why people are choosing to leave Europe and America in favour of Cape Verde, one of the fasting growing economies in Africa.
NICHOLAS HAWKE: Anchored in the harbor of Cape Verde’s island of Sao Vicente is the vessel of return. For architect Kunle Adeyemi, this is much more than a floating music studio. It’s a call to Africans, whether in the diaspora or African-Americans to return home to the continent. Designed by Nigerian, financed by a Malian, and located in Cape Verde, it’s a tribute to African contemporary design and a window into the future.
KUNLE ADEYEMI: We’re in the water. It’s a fluid environment. It’s a fluid space. You know, we have to learn to live with water instead of fighting with it. We see this as a– also as a vessel of return for people in the African diaspora and as a place to rewrite new narratives of the African continent.
NICHOLAS HAWKE: Once a country ravaged by famines and drought, 46 years after independence, the small island nation is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, attracting both African migrants who are choosing Cape Verde over a life in Europe and the diaspora returning to their homeland, among them Joli Moniz from the East Coast of the United States. She has built a business helping African-Americans and Cape Verdeans relocate to the islands.
JOLI MONIZ: I never felt that I was truly home until I moved to Cape Verde. And I get emotional to this day when I talk about it. But it’s– it’s in my blood. I feel such a connection here. I feel at peace here.
NICHOLAS HAWKE: Cape Verde is no longer poor, but a stable middle income country with a young and educated population, a key demographic for opposition leader, Janira Hoffer Almada. Looking to make history if her party, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde, wins the legislative election, she will become the youngest and first female prime minister in Cape Verde. She has made youth, employment, and attracting the Cape Verdean diaspora a priority.
JANIRA HOFFER ALMADA: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
INTERPRETER: We are a global nation. To govern Cape Verde is to govern the 10 islands and the huge diaspora. We have become what we are today, thanks to the financial contribution, skills, and knowledge they transmit to us, to our country.
NICHOLAS HAWKE: These once uninhabited islands where slaves were shipped off to the Americas have, 145 years later, become a nation that welcomes design and creativity to the continent. To Adeyemi, the vessel of return is an invitation for Africans to imagine and invent their own future. Nicholas [? Hawke, ?] Al Jazeera, Mindelo, Sao Vicente.