Accepted Paper:

Buying and Selling Between Different Worlds: The Rabidantes from Cape Verde  


Andréa de Lobo (University of Brasília)

Paper short abstract:

This study focuses on the configuration of the commercial route between Cape Verde and other countries created and maintained by the so-called Rabidantes, street vendors from Cape Verde who operate at the borders between countries through an intense circulation of commodities.

Paper long abstract:

The Creole word Rabidante means to 'sidestep', to 'free one's self of trouble', and is used to indicate someone who is skilled at convincing others. This word is used to address people who trade in the Cape Verde markets (mostly in the Sucupira market) located in the country's capital, Praia city. The Rabidantes are mostly women traders with keen negotiating skills.The Rabidantes are regarded as agents who are active in the process of global circulation of commodities, resulting in the circulation of products among many frontiers. They travel among countries such as the United States, Portugal, France and Brazil to purchase goods. In addition to selling on the archipelago's islands, they 'export' to nearby African countries such as São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Thus they secure a place in the global economy, either as producers or consumers.

The aim of this presentation is to discuss that in buying and selling, the Rabidantes mediate products and their consumers and play a double role of buyers and sellers (consumers and traders). In this game, they mobilize and add value to what they buy and sell, thus interpreting the cultural values and desires of different worlds and capitalizing on such values and desires.

Panel P128
The Rise of African Transnational Traders