Although Maria Archer has lived in Brazil in recent years, she grew up and spent a large part of her life in Africa, where she traveled extensively and visited all the Portuguese territories. She has published several books about her travels as well as many works of fiction set in both Africa and Portugal.
The title of Terras onde se fala português would seem to indicate that the book deals with all of the Portuguese speaking world. However, the larger part is about the African territories: Cabo Verde, Guiné, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, and Mozambique. This second edition of the book, as the author says in her preface, is addressed expressly to the Brazilian reader and is dedicated to Brazilian school boys and girls in the hope that it will make them more aware of their noble Portuguese heritage.
Because of the audience to which it is addressed, and perhaps because of the author’s experience in the field of literature for children, the style of Terras onde se fala português is simple and direct, and it is thickly interlarded with anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. It also includes some historical, ethnographical, and geographical matter and statistics. Although she insists that the days of colonialism have passed, Maria Archer expresses attitudes that she must have developed sixty years ago as a child in Mozambique. Among the examples of these attitudes are the anecdotes with which she illustrates her remarks on the mentality of different African types and her remarks about the “repellent physique” and the ugly off-white color of the unhappy Bushmen.