Celebrating Portuguese

On 5 May, the world celebrates World Portuguese Language Day, marking the cultural richness and diversity of the nine countries with Portuguese as their official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe.

Together, they comprise the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), in which Namibia participates as an observer member.

Spoken by more of 300 million people on four continents, Portuguese is consecrated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as a global language of communication increasingly present in innovation, research, scientific and technological knowledge, business, art, literature and diplomacy.

It is the official and working language of many international organisations, including the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Portuguese language has been present in Namibia since the 15th century. More than five centuries later, over 100 000 Namibians use Portuguese in their daily activities, making it one of the most spoken foreign languages in this country and a bridge between local culture and the widespread, pluricentric world of Lusophony.

Since 2011, Portuguese has been taught as an optional foreign language in the official curriculum of Namibian high schools.

Through the Portuguese language, Namibians have enjoyed a profusion of musical expressions, such as kizomba and kuduro from Angola, bossa nova and samba from Brazil and fado and corridinho from Portugal.

In literature, iconic Portuguese authors such as Portugal’s Luís Vaz de Camões, Brazil’s Machado de Assis, and Angola’s Henrique Lopes Guerra have inspired young writers in Namibia to expand the international reach of Namibian writings and share the strength of Namibian culture and history throughout the world.

Beyond the cultural realm, the participation of Namibia in the CPLP has fostered closer cooperation in the political and economic fields, thus creating opportunities for young generations of Namibians to expand their international skills.

Former president Hage Geingob in 2021 said: “We join hands with CPLP members to strengthen our local, regional and global governance architecture.”

As resident ambassadors in Windhoek of CPLP member countries, we express our gratitude to all Namibians for embracing the legacy of the Portuguese language, a bond that unites us as friendly partners.

We reassure the firm commitment of Angola, Brazil and Portugal to engaging even further with Namibia in translating the opportunities of Portuguese into direct benefits to all Namibians.

We invite Namibia to join us in celebrating the month of the Portuguese language.

Let’s grow together, through the Portuguese language, the warm friendship of our countries.

Obrigado, Namibia!

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