Nearly half a million people arrived to the place where they once departed. The images of the waiting, of the arrival, of the chaos and disorientation of those who had to leave everything behind, could be images of the present, due to how similar they are to the current waves of refugees who arrive in Europe. In that time, those who arrived were called “homeless”, “fugitives”, “refugees”, but the term that would prevail above all others, and that has become their automatic label, was “returnees”. These labels would overlap their own names and identities. Mary became “the Angolan”, another one became “the black”. When asking a question, a teacher could address them not by their names, saying “answer, returnee” instead. Regardless whether they are pejorative or not, nicknames and labels would consume, in some way, names and identities.
In their condition of returnees, of refugees, considering the weight that these terms possess, did these people lose their name, their individual identity? And for us, how would it be if we lost our name upon arrival?