A celebration of the African way of learning and teaching in the Brazilian periphery, bringing together dozens of people who work directly with art, education, religion of African origin, social reception and popular organization in Porto Alegre and region. This was Tuesday morning (14th) in Restinga, on the outskirts of the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, with the launch of the Pedagogy of Africanities Project, which promotes workshops and seminars based on the Afro way of teaching and learning. It was carried out by the Barro Vermelho Sports Complex/Ponto de Cultura Africanidade.
The chosen day was full of symbolism: on March 14, the birthdays of icons of the fight against racism, Adbias do Nascimento and Carolina de Jesus, are celebrated. It is also the date of the fight against the murder of black people, since on March 14, five years ago, Marielle Franco was murdered.
The special guest of the activity came straight from Rio de Janeiro. The president of the Institute of Research and Afro-Brazilian Studies (Ipeafro/RJ), Elisa Larkin, widow of Adbias, shared reflections on aspects of Africanness in the community context. “A historic landmark” in the social organization of the black and peripheral people of Porto Alegre, say the guests who crowded the activity at the headquarters of Sociedade Africana Reino de Oxum, by Mãe Cleide de Oxum Demum.
Before listening to Elisa, arranged in a circle and served by an Africanist café, those present introduced themselves, accompanied by a xirê of alabês drums from Reino de Oxum, a poetic intervention by Mariana Marmontel, from Poetas Vivos, and greetings from guests. Federal deputy Maria do Rosário (PT-RS), who made the project’s agreement with the Ministry of Tourism possible with a parliamentary amendment, sent a video demonstrating the importance of the initiative.
Quilombismo to end inequality
In her speech, the president of Ipeafro expressed gratitude and emotion at being in Restinga “with the people that Abdias always had in his heart, in his mind and in his action”. In addition to remembering the intellectual grandson of enslaved Africans who was a poet, writer, playwright, visual artist, deputy and senator, who died in 2011, Elisa also brought to mind Carolina de Jesus and Marielle Franco, in reference to the date.
“I know that both Adbias and Carolina and Marielle would have no other destiny than the collective of the black population organized in their fight, not only against racism, but to build a life in freedom, which is Quilombismo”, he said. The proposal, according to her, is to organize not only the black population, but so that the Brazilian State “is able to build equality in the social sense of overcoming inequalities in all its aspects”.
When greeting the guests present, he said that they represent “the set of victories and constructions that the population of African origin, descendents of enslaved Africans in Brazil, has been building over the centuries”. A construction of “freedom and sovereignty within contexts of enslavement and racism, which oppress these communities, which impose a series of problems, but which these people are always overcoming”.
Elisa highlighted that the event is also part of the campaigns March for Marielle and Anderson and Agenda 21 Days of Activism against Racism. The latter explained that it is a campaign by civil society, by the group of black societies in Rio de Janeiro, which for several years have promoted actions starting on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which marks the massacre of people organizing against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa, in the 1960s.
Resistance of the African matrix religion
Mother Cleide Guedes de Oxum, the ialorixá who runs the house where the activity took place, said she felt “fortified and welcoming” in being able to join with her siblings. For her, the meeting demonstrates her pride and strength. “That this can be seen and felt by many people, who sometimes talk about the African, but the African has ancestry, has respect, he has union, he is welcoming.”
For her, in such a racist Brazil, African-based religious houses end up being a point of resistance. “We don’t give up, because we unite more and more, because we have strength, roots and axé. stated.
Eunice Mariano, who is the Municipal Councilor for Culture, understands that the event was “a milestone in African identity”, by reinforcing the power of orality. “Writing we have little, our children need to know that, African ancestry is welcoming, it welcomes whites, blacks, everyone”, she commented. For her, it is essential to demystify the religion of African origin.
“When you talk about religion of African origin, when you see a person on the corner lighting a candle, many think it is for evil. People do not understand the axé that is there. This has to be demystified and only through these opportunities that will become clarify what the African matrix is”, he defended.
Exchanging ideas, doing politics
A doctoral student in Sociology, artist and anti-racist social activist, Nina Fola stressed that the space opened by the Pedagogy of Africanities Project is a place “for thinking and talking, for exchanging ideas, for doing politics, for valuing the women who masterfully organize and manage a diverse community, with the potential of this place that does not close the door to trans people, never did, and that within this place these people have the possibility of an equal existence to other people”.
She revealed that, upon learning of the murder of Marielle Franco – who, just as she was a black woman, a sociologist and wore black hair – also felt murdered. “Today we have a substantial presence of women in political positions, and we want more. So let us make this day a fundamental memory, to continue fighting, to continue honoring the lives of those who provided life for us”, she pointed out.
Peripheral culture strength
Musician and researcher Richard Serraria highlighted the historical and political relevance of the event, taking into account the historical construction of the country. “Fundamentally from the presence of the original peoples and then from the colonization process, the European invasion here, consequently based on black slavery, we will understand that the cultural conformation of this country is indispensably Amefrican, to use the concept of Lelia Gonzalez “, he said.
For him, being in Restinga refers to the process of sanitizing the country’s city centers, when, throughout the 20th century, poor and black populations were pushed to the outskirts. “We can stand up against this through the power of a terreiro of African origin, I think this is of fundamental importance, because it is a way of confronting racism and the search for the reduction of social inequalities”, he evaluated.
For him, “the strength, the strength of this presence, in the 21st century, through a living culture, through African-based terreiros” is fundamental to the fight against prejudice. “This structural racism so well conceptualized by Silvio Almeida that we see in everyday life in different ways: religious racism, in an attempt to erase religions of African origin, epistemological racism, often when one does not recognize this knowledge coming from these masters and masters of popular culture, the issue of slave labor as we are seeing it now in Serra Gaúcha, are all dimensions of this racism.”
An expanding project
The actor, art activist and cultural manager of Pedagogia das Africanidades, André de Jesus, says that the project is in the phase of producing popular knowledge, with cultural action. Among the activities that will be offered to the community is the Brazilian dance workshop, which targets the elderly, an audience that is often left out of more practical projects.
There will also be cooking activities with Mother Cleide, who will share her religious knowledge. “There will be a circle of conversation, food, exchange of ideas with people of religion, she has a huge network of saint fathers and mothers”, she explains.
For the youngest, André says that there will be activities with capoeira masters, studies on the drum of religion and soup, with masters of reference in the region. In addition, the project will work on cultural artistic language. “We are going to bring these slammers, young black literature, in addition to written literature”, he says.
Along with this, seminars will be held with the community and with teaching entities that are partners in the project, such as the Federal Institute, through the Nucleus of Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Studies (Neabi) and basic education schools in the region. “We even train teachers in the language of African pedagogy, which is also one of our areas of expertise, and Elisa is one of our tutors”, he reveals.
Still according to him, the project will have a second moment with deepening in theater and audiovisual. “We are going to put on the show about the memory of João Candido Felisberto, with Grupo Grito, which is a group from the point of culture. We are also wanting to get into black cinema, wanting to make cinema, to tell the story of Mestre Ventura , who came from Ilhota to Restinga at the age of 16 and never left.”
José Luis Vieira Ventura celebrates the opportunity that the project brings for the community to rediscover black protagonism. “I, as a master of popular culture, and also one of the first residents to come to Restinga, we built points of African culture in workplaces, which pedagogy created”, he says, citing the Trampando na Cultura course, to young people and teenagers.
“This causes a transformation within the community of these young people, who sometimes do not see life expectancy, because they cannot leave the community”, he adds. For him, bringing these activities and debates about African culture, renowned people, masters and people with knowledge, is the best opportunity to change the perspective of life in the community.
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Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul
Editing: Katia Marko
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