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CULTURE AND TOURISM: Brazil adopts Yoruba as official language

Brazilian minister of culture, Dr Sérgio Sá leitão

Yoruba culture is facing a rebirth in Brazil with a series of activities to reawaken the dying tradition of one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.

Day and night, from Friday through Sunday, the Yoruba culture and tradition was celebrated in various ways at the fourth edition of the National meetings of the African Brazilian Story Tellers held in the region of Quilombola, State of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, where many of the early Yoruba victims of the slave trade era and their descendants were located since the 13th century

NewsmakersNG exclusively reports that the Afro-Tourism Centre, which is now a treasure trove and patrimony of the Federal Government of Brazil, witnessed performances that lasted through the evening time after which the participants were all instructed to sit around sheds and trees for stories to be told as it was done in the ancient Yoruba traditional homes.

Brazilian minister of culture, Dr Sérgio Sá leitão

There were folklores, dances and dramas, as palm wine served in calabashes flowed freely, thus bringing the memories of African-Brazilians back to their roots.

During this year’s program tagged “AYO” in Yoruba language, meaning “Felicity” in English and “Felicidades” in Portuguese, prominent names in African literature including Prof Wole Soyinka and the first female doctorate degree holder in Yoruba Philosophy, Dr Sophie Oluwole aka Mamalawo of the University of Ibadan were mentioned and homages were paid recognizing their efforts in promoting the importance of Yoruba language and Yoruba philosophy around the universe.

The Minister of Culture in Brazil, Dr Sérgio Sá Leitão made it clear at the event that the government would continue to promote the importance of the African culture in Brazil bringing back to Afro-descendants the culture and tradition of the African people, thereby linking all African-Brazilians to their roots.

The importance of Yoruba folklore in the Brazilian Community Schools Curriculum marked this year’s edition of the National meetings of the African Brazilian Story Tellers.

NewsmakersNG learnt that the recent inclusion of Yoruba language in the Brazilian Schools’ curriculum is paving ways for a rapid recognition of many of the traditional Yoruba folklores in the Brazilian community schools.

Also present at the occasion was the highly respected Brazilian Professor of African and Yoruba literature, Prof. Maria da Conceição Evaristo de Brito.

During her lecture, she classified the telling of stories as very important in Oral literature. She also said that her influence in literature started from the Yoruba stories told to her and the younger ones at tender ages that led to her interest in African literature.

 She encouraged the African-Brazilian families to always tell stories of the Yoruba roots to their children at home as such would keep the Yoruba and the African culture alive in the culture of the African-Brazilian families.

Exhibiting through his paintings and illustrations at the show, in both Yoruba and Portuguese language, a Nigerian carnival artist, painter and illustrator, Adeyinka Olaiya also related the stories of the famous fictitious “Igbo Irunmole” the “Forest of All Spirits” as told and written by the Yoruba historian and novelist, Daniel Oroleye Fagunwa in “Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irumole”.

According to Olaiya, “Asiko Alo” story times are always important in every Yoruba family in Africa.

The Obafemi Awolowo University Arts graduate also exhibited a painting titled “Ojo Idajo“ (The Judgement Day) which was equally used in narrating the stories behind “Orun Apadi” in one of the stories told by him to the audience at the exhibition section of the event.

Source: newsmakersng

About the author

Adewale Adenrele Muhideen

Travel Journalist , Culture and Tourism promoter, Business Development Consultant.

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