With deep roots in Brazilian history, capoeira has its origins in times of slavery and, over the years, has evolved to become a valuable cultural heritage that has spread throughout the world.
In addition to its historical and cultural significance, capoeira also plays an important role in social initiatives. An example of how this dance continues to help black lives is the work of the Bantu Cultural Institute, in Vera Cruz, on the coast of Bahia.
At the institute, capoeira is a tool to transform the reality of children in the communities, as explained by Mestre Roxinho, founder of the institute. “The main objective of the institute is to enable. Enabling access to information based on African culture, enabling a community to be built in this space, a relationship of friendship, which in this space has a greater desire to understand that education is also a possibility of empowerment”.
:: “Capoeira goes beyond the body and music, it is part of black identity”, says contramestre ::
If today it is a sociability tool, for a long time capoeira was a form of struggle. Its history dates back to the 16th century, when enslaved Africans resisted, keeping their cultural traditions for Brazilian lands. With the practice of fighting banned, they found an ingenious way to keep their heritage alive through capoeira, mixing fight and dance, which, over time, began to gain legitimacy and recognition.
Capoeira was, for a long time, considered a crime in Brazil. The decriminalization of the fight took place in 1934 and capoeira is currently considered one of the main cultural manifestations in the country, in addition to having become Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2014.
:: Mestre Curió’s capoeira school in Salvador receives a bust in honor of Mestre Pastinha ::
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But capoeira is not the only tool of the Bantu Cultural Institute. Among the activities carried out in the space is the “Digital Literacy” project, which offers access to technology to young people aged 14 to 21, breaking the barrier of digital exclusion.
Roxinho points out that the project is an opportunity for young people from the periphery. “Digital literacy is a watershed because we are those who are on the margins of this society in terms of access to technology. Here in the community, there are 20-year-olds who have never sat at a computer, you know? So this is a very serious digital divide.”
The initiative opens the door to other opportunities. “We create digital literacy as a possibility that they need to access this information that many are accessing, they need to develop this knowledge in which it is a technology that will give them advancement, emancipation, they will be able, culturally, to look at a world different, they will be able to present who they are to the world”, points out Roxinho.
In addition, actions such as the Bantu Project, the Mulheres Candaces project, the Bantu against Hunger and the Young Multiplier are other institute initiatives that strengthen the community and contribute to reducing social vulnerability. But to continue the activities, the institute needs donations. To learn more about the work of the Bantu Institute and become a donor, visit the website Institutobantu.org.
Read also: ‘Afro and indigenous are the two matrices of Brazilian music’
Source: BdF Pernambuco
Editing: Vanessa Gonzaga