popular

Correction: Brazil Has Not Made Yoruba an Official Language

Brazil's Ministry of Culture tells OkayAfrica that the Minister of Culture was not in attendance during the event where the announcement was said to have been made.

Yesterday, reports circulated in Nigerian media that Brazil had adopted Yoruba as an official foreign language. We reported on it suggesting it was accurate (see below), but with more digging we've found that the story doesn't quite add up.

As we probed further and searched the news for supplemental content, we received confirmation from Rafael Baldo Guimaraes, from the Brazilian Ministry of Culture that the story is "fake news." According to Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão's, schedule, he was not in attendance at the seminar mentioned in Nigerian news sites such as The Nigerian Voice and The Poise Nigeria, which appeared to show photographs from the event.

We will continue to keep you updated on the story as we learn more. You can read on for the original story.

***

Yoruba history and culture has an undeniably strong presence in Brazilian society, due of course, to the Transatlantic slave trade which brought millions of enslaved West Africans to the Americas. Despite the inhumanity they faced, many managed to keep their ancestral culture and traditions alive.

Centuries have passed, and Yoruba influences still continue to thrive in various regions of the country, as many Brazilians maintain a strong relationship with the language and religion. Its influence can be seen through the music, food and spiritual practices of various communities. Last month the Ooni of Ife—the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people—visited the country, where he was met by crowds of Black Brazilians who turned up to pay their respects.

This connection will likely remain strong for future generations, as the language has now become an official foreign language in the country.

WATCH: How Ilê Aiyê Brought Blackness Back to Carnival

Brazil's Minister of Culture, Dr. Sérgio Sá Leitão, has said that the language will now be incorporated into primary and secondary school curriculum, reports the Nigerian Voice.


The announcement occurred during the fourth edition of the National meetings of the African-Brazilian storytellers, called "AYO" which featured a host of prominent Yoruba scholars and thinkers including legendary Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, São Paulo-based Nigerian artist, Adeyinka Olaiya and Dr. Sophie Oluwole, the first women to receive a doctorate in Yoruba Studies, reports Konbini.

READ: In Photos: the Ooni of Ife Visits Brazil

A number of Latino scholars and public figures where also in attendance to speak on the influence of Yoruba traditions on Brazilian cultural beliefs. Speakers such as Peruvian Nobel laureate and professor, Mário Vargas Llosa emphasized the importance of promoting Yoruba culture as a means of fostering meaningful connections between Brazilians and their African heritage.

One word of caution, while this news has been reported in the Nigerian press and other international outlets we've yet to see a report from Brazil confirming this information. We will update the article once that's confirmed.

Many Afro-Brazilians are happy to see the government taking steps to preserve the country's rich African roots, while also recognizing that the country still has a long way to go in terms of race relations and the treatment of it black population.

For more on the subject revisit our pieces on "Why Brazilians are Embracing Afrofuturism," as well as our "Mini-Guide to Salvador," considered Brazil's "blackest"city.

Listen to A-Reece’s Surprise EP ‘And I’m Only 21’

A-Reece just dropped an EP on the same date he dropped his albums Paradise and FMTYAY.

Those who have TVs say A-Reece stole the show on the B.E.T Hip-Hop Awards' South African cypher, in which he sparred fellow lyricists Shane Eagle and Nasty C.

As if it was all part of a plan, while the hype for his verse is at its peak, the MC releases a surprise five-track EP. Its title, I'm Only 21, is a reminder that one of the country's most potent lyricists is only 21 years of age.

Keep reading... Show less
Tay Iwar. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Tay Iwar Is Nigeria's Hidden Gem

In a rare interview, the reclusive Nigerian singer and producer talks in-depth about writing and producing his new EP 1997, his forthcoming album Gemini and Nigeria's 'Alté' movement.

Tay Iwar wants some space. The word is the title of one of three songs on his new EP and also one that comes up during our interview, conducted via voice notes and texts on Whatsapp from his base in Abuja—a long way from Lagos which remains Nigeria's music hub.

The choice of the nation's quieter capital over the bustle of its music metropolis is a deliberate one for Iwar and one which fevers his reputation as a recluse and cult figure in Nigerian music circles. This especially happens among the subculture referred to as "alté"—an abbreviation of the word alternative which is used to denote the independent movement that is free from the flash and perceived vacuity of afropop. Precise definitions of the word vary but common denominators include introspection and melancholia, as well as trap and R&B.;

Keep reading... Show less
Photo: Dancers of the Asociación Cultural Afro Chincha Perú via Wikimedia Commons

After Decades of Erasure, Afro-Peruvians Will Finally be Counted in the National Census

Despite an Afro-Peruvian cultural resurgence not a lot has been done to increase the population's visibility on a political level.

In 2009, Peru became the first Latin American country to issue an official public apology to its afrodescendiente population for centuries of "abuse, exclusion, and discrimination." Since then, many have criticized it as more of a symbolic gesture, especially for its failure to mention slavery. It was also seen as a way for the government to highlight Afro-Peruvian culture over making any substantive improvements to the material conditions of Afro-Peruvian communities.

Enter the census, which can play an important role in compelling the Peruvian government to address systemic inequality related to education, poverty, and health. Unfortunately, the last time Peru made a formal attempt to keep track of its African descended population via the census was in 1940.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.