"The Testament of Senhor da Silva Araujo" is a book of surprises. Araujo's discreet life in one of the islands that make up Cabo Verde's archipelago shows itself to be complex and certainly rambunctious when he details it in his last will, using no fewer than 387 pages to disclose his doings. Such ease in writing had never before been guessed at by the islanders. His discourses on his family members, his employers, his employees, and above all his detailed and methodical unraveling of a life full of--until now unknown--love affairs, is met with disbelief. That his fortune is not left to his nephew as expected but to an out-of-wedlock daughter with a former employee is shocking. And from event to event, from specific requests for his funeral arrangements to suggested business methods that might be just on the outside of the law, we are able to view the life of Cabo Verde, a country of 10 islands, divided into small towns, distant from each other by a lot of sea, and divided in 300,000 inhabitants.
Araujo very easily stands for Cabo Verde itself. His solitude, methodical manners, controlled and reclusive life keep him insulated from the town. Even after becoming a very successful business man he was still rejected by the local club. The void around his life is sensed everywhere. But when dies, and his will detailing his adventures is read, we and his neighbors and acquaintances discover that his life within was different, very different. Richer in excitement. Fuller in emotions. He lived indeed as an island, isolated, no one knew the Napumoceno within.
In an interview given to Fernando Nunes of "ZonaNon: revista de cultura crítica", in 2003, Germano Almeida described the independence Cabo Verde in 1975, as having been a "true revolution" causing an unbelievable growth from 1975 to 1990 that had not been foreseen and certainly had surpassed expectations. The country grew at a much higher rate than in the 500 years Cabo Verde was Portugal's colony. This exultation about Cabo Verde's inner potential, inner abilities, is akin to those we discover in Araujo's world. Richer than expected, even though no one believed it or could imagine it.
But this is not a political book. This is not a historical book. This is the portrait of a man in his complexity, someone like our neighbors, like our friends and family. People we believe we know, who all of a sudden, unexpectedly, show a different side that had only been lived and carried on within.
Germano Almeida received in 2005 the award -- Fundação Casa da Cultura de Língua Portuguesa -- an award given every two years to distinguish personalities or institutions that have notably promoted Portuguese Speaking Cultures in the world. The award was established in 1990, by Oporto University.