“I have become an Ethnographer in my own country.”

Mário Pinto de Andrade


Mário follows the story and legacy of Mário Pinto de Andrade, founder of the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), Pan-African thinker and activist whose critical mission within the African liberation movements of the 60’s and 70’s laid the groundwork for the identity and representation of the newly formed African nations after European colonization.

Growing up in Angola, one of the last European colonies in Africa, Mário left his home in 1928 to study in the Portuguese metropolis of Lisbon for what would become a lifelong exile. With companions from other Portuguese-held territories — Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Guinea-Bissau — Mário coordinates the bases of the liberation movements of the Portuguese colonies from Paris where he is secretary at Présence Africaine magazine and an active member in the city’s intellectual scene. Internationalist solidarity and a deep love for his homeland leads Mário to devote himself completely to the liberation of the African colonies, traveling the globe on a mission for the success of the flowering liberation movements in Africa and worldwide.

Mário was the founding member of the Angolan liberation movement MPLA, its first president and main diplomat; the founder of CONCP (Conference of the Nationalist Organization of the Portuguese Colonies), a unique organization gathering all the liberation movements from the Portuguese colonies in a joint effort of independence from Portugal; a respected keynote speaker at several conferences on African culture, identity, and politics; a frequent contributor to several newspapers and cultural magazines and a regular contributor to UNESCO. A war strategist, prolific writer and thinker, Mário’s efforts were frank and direct in the fight for liberation until independence, and in the work for peace following the 1975 civil war in Angola.

The legacy of Mário Pinto de Andrade is evident in the rich archive of his socio-economic analysis of modern African affairs, his quest for a proper understanding of the origins of identity in Africa, his poetry, plays and screenplays, and in the memories of his family, friends and disciples, who tell of his great spirit and rigorous mind, and universally, of a deep admiration from all those who encountered him.

Produced by Rui Alexandre Santos Associate producer Teresa Gusmão Coproduced by Maéva Ranaïvojaona and Georg Tiller Edited by Luís Nunes Cinematography Chappell and João Vagos Sound editor Luís Zhang Sound mix André Fèvre Directed by Billy Woodberry

The wisdom that comes with age

I counted my years and discovered there are fewer ahead of me than behind
I have much more of a past than a future
I feel like a boy with a bowl of cherries,
The first were carelessly swallowed
but on seeing there were not so many, he starts to chew on the stones
I have no more time for mediocrity.
I do not want to be around in meetings where inflamed egos are on parade
I am uneasy with people driven by envy to destroy whomever they admire Coveting their talent and destiny
Nor do I have time for endless talk or discussions of useless matters Concerning others whose lives are not part of mine.
I do not have time to soothe the sensitivities of those who, despite their numerical age, are manifestly immature
And I despise the indulgence of the disaffected,
squabbling over who should be selected as the all-mighty secretary general of the choral society.
People do not discuss content, only the labels
I have no time to discuss such things, I want the essence not the label and my soul is impatient
With just a few cherries left in the bowl I want to live alongside humane people
People who can laugh at their blunders, not be blinded by their successes,
or chosen before time, running away from their own mortality.
I will be guided by truth and persons of truth, the essential is what makes life worthwhile.
And for me, nothing but what is essential!

Mário Pinto de Andrade