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#JusticeForGiovani, Cape Verde Demands Answers in the 'Barbaric' Death of 21-Year-Old Student In Portugal

Luis Giovani dos Santos Rodrigues, a Cape Verdean student living in Portugal, died on New Year's Eve after succumbing to injuries from an attack ten days earlier, which many believe was racially motivated.

Cape Verdeans are demanding answers in the "barbaric killing" of 21-year-old student and musician Luis Giovani dos Santos Rodrigues in Portugal last month.

According to various Portuguese reports, Rodrigues was allegedly attacked by a group of men while leaving a party at a local bar on December 21. According to the Portuguese newspaper Contacto, witnesses say a group of about 15 men approached Rodrigues and two of his friends armed with belts, sticks and other weapons. The report goes on to say that Rodrigues was beaten and left unconscious with bruises to his head. He spent 10 days in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries on December 31.


Rodrigues had moved to the town of Bragança less than two months earlier to attend the Bragança Polytechnic Institute (IPB), where he was studying Digital Game Design, according to a statement from the municipality of Mosteiros, where he was from. He was also known as a talented musician, who played piano at his childhood church in the Cape Verdean Island of Fogo.

He was a member of the band Beatz Boys, and was described as one of the "most promising artists in Mosteiros."

Jovem estudante mosteirense de 21 anos morre em Portugal vítima de espancamento www.youtube.com

According to Time 24 News, The Cape Verdean Embassy in Portugal has called for an autopsy and a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Rodrigues' death. Cape Verde's President Jorge Carlos Fonseca, has also stated his involvement in seeking answers around Rodrigues' "brutal death."

Janira Hopffer Almada, the president of the opposition African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde, shared a post on Facebook calling for justice in Rodrigues' case and urging citizens to take up the cause of fellow Cape Verdeans living in Portugal. "It's time to stop and analyze the real situation of students and our community in Portugal," she wrote. "We have a duty to be more present."

Star Cape Verdean musical artist Nelson Freitas weighed in as well, sharing an image of Rodrigues by the artist Gualter Monteiro on his Instagram with the caption "We want justice!"

Artwork by Gualter Monteiro

"We deeply regret the barbarous assault that resulted in the death of a Cape Verdean student in Bragança," said the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, "Those responsible will be identified and brought to justice."

Many online believe that racial discrimination in Portugal played a role in Rodrigues death, and some have stated that the incident should be investigated as a possible hate crime.

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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