Theses defended

"Por ti, Portugal, eu juro!" Memórias e testemunhos dos comandos africanos da Guiné (1971-1974)

Sofia da Palma Rodrigues

Public Defence date
May 30, 2022
Doctoral Programme
Post-Colonialisms and Global Citizenship
Maria Paula Meneses e Mustafah Dhada
António de Spínola founded the African Commandos Battalion, the only elite troop of the Portuguese Armed Forces fully comprised of black Africans, during his time as Governor of Guinea (1968-1973). He promised these men a better life, and that they would be in charge of Guinea's destiny when Portugal won the war (1961-1974). He promised them that, in Guinea, they would be at the forefront of the new State project he planned to implement: a pluricontinental State comprised of autonomous provinces that, as a whole, would form the Portugal of the future. The undoing of this political project, that challenged the prevailing winds blowing in mainland Portugal, is at the heart of the analysis undertaken within this thesis. In pursuing the narratives of men who, after the wars of independence, ceased to form part of the Portuguese dream and lost their Portuguese nationality, this work questions and digs deep into the dilemmas of decolonialization in the context of the Guinean process. This research bases its questioning, assertions and methodologies on those proposed by Oral Traditions (Spear, 1981; Mazrui, 1985; Vansina, 1985) and the Epistemologies of the South (Santos & Meneses, 2013), incorporating a multidisciplinary and multi-sited approach (Marcus, 1995) to include the testimonies of the men who comprised the Battalion of African Commandos of Guinea in the historical debate and to open a discussion on the absolutist nature of the narrative presented by the Nation-State (Ranger, 1971, 2004).

Key-words: Colonialism; Postcolonialism; Portuguese Armed Forces; Guinea-Bissau; Oral History