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Photo by Antonio Thompson.

Travel Diary: Antonio Thompson Gets To Know Guinea-Bissau—the Birthplace of Revolutionary Amílcar Cabral

"Guinea-Bissau represents, to me, the meaning of family and the distance we can travel when kindness is the language spoken."

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Antonio Thompson links with us again sharing the faces and places he came across in Guinea-Bissau after reconnecting with his homeland Cape Verde for the first time.

During my final few weeks in Cape Verde, I attended a party where, by chance, I met a couple from Guinea-Bissau. I knew this was a good sign: just a few weeks prior, I purchased an inexpensive flight there and planned to stay for just one week. After a great conversation, they promised to put me in touch with someone named Baltazar who lived in Bissau, the capital city.

Up to that point, the most I knew of Guinea-Bissau was its shared history with Cape Verde: both countries were once colonized by Portugal; then led to independence by the revolutionary Amílcar Cabral, who was assassinated in 1973. Going to another country with my still-developing Portuguese and such little background information was exciting, if not naïve. Thus, the idea that someone would help me during my travels there was a relief.

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Photo by Antonio Thompson.

Travel Diary: Antonio Thompson Explores Cape Verde Off the Beaten Path

The artist and photographer booked a one-way ticket to his homeland to reconnect with his father and the Cape Verdean people.

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, we meet Cape Verdean-American photographer and artist Antonio Thompson as he reconnects with his homeland for the first time—and his father for the first time in over a decade.

Curiosity inspired my inaugural solo journey to Cape Verde, my father's homeland that I've long wanted to discover. Determined to master Kriolu, the native language comprised of traditional Portuguese and West African dialects, I purchased a one-way ticket, planning only to "get lost" here for a few months. Since arriving here, it's been a colorful, fun, disorienting, and rewarding experience—for a few reasons.

Over 13 years passed since I last saw my father, who moved from the United States to retire in a town just outside of Mindelo, Cape Verde's second-largest city. Because I also didn't grow up with him, I felt a sudden urge to connect and build a relationship while life still afforded us the chance. In the spirit of #adulting and healing, I'm glad I made that decision.

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