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Return to the Source: Selected Texts of Amilcar Cabral, New Expanded Edition


A classic collection of essays calling for decolonization through self-liberation

“For us,” said Amilcar Cabral, “freedom is an act of culture.” Guided by the concrete realities of his people, he called for a Return to the Source, a process of decolonization through “re-Africanization.” With a system of thought rooted in an African reading of Marx, Cabral was a deep-thinking revolutionary who applied the principles of decolonization as a dialectic task, and in so doing became one of the world’s most profoundly influential and effective theoreticians of anti–imperialist struggle. He translated abstract theories into agile praxis and in under just ten years steered the liberation of three–quarters of the countryside of Guinea Bissau from Portuguese colonial domination. Cabral and his fellow Pan-African movement leaders catalyzed and fortified a militant wave of liberation struggles beginning in Angola, moving through Cabral’s homelands of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, and culminating in Mozambique and beyond.

As a new imperialism has taken hold the world over, many have once more hearkened back to Return to the Source, and this time, our source of inspiration is Cabral himself. First published in 1973, this new edition has been expanded to include important texts from ‘Revolution in Guinea’ to ‘Our People Are Our Mountains,’ along with the principal speeches —revised and corrected — Cabral delivered during visits to the United States in the final years before his assassination in 1973. Return to the Source is essential reading for all who understand that the erasure of historical continuity between social movements has disrupted our ability to make the revolutionary transformation we all desperately require.

What people say about Return to the Source

Amilcar Cabral (1924-1973) was a Pan-African freedom fighter and anti-imperialist theorist, best known for bringing the Portuguese empire to its knees. He was born in the Guinea Bissau town of Bafatá, to Cape Verdean parents of divergent classes, living under Portuguese colonial dominion. During a restive period in the development of African nationalist movements, he studied agronomy in Portugal alongside other African colonial subjects who joined together to form student movements dedicated to opposing the ruling dictatorship of Portugal and promoting the cause of independence for all Portuguese colonies in Africa. Upon his return to Africa in the 1950s, he managed, in under a decade, to steer Guinea Bissau towards near total independence. On January 20, 1973, Portuguese agents assassinated Cabral, but his murder did not deter his people from unilaterally declaring independence just eight months later. In life and death, he became an inspiration to revolutionary socialists and national independence movements worldwide.
Tsenay Serequeberhan is a Professor of Philosophy at Morgan State University in Baltimore.  He is the author of the groundbreaking work The Hermeneutics of African Philosophy: Horizon and Discourse and the key text, African Philosophy: The Essential Readings, among other books.

Format Clear

Edition: New, Expanded

Publication Date: 04/01/2023

Number of Pages: 296

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-68590-004-5

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-68590-005-2

eBook ISBN: 978-1-68590-006-9