Rio 2016

The Anti-Olympics Guide To Rio By IOIA

Rio de Janeiro-based production duo IOIA present their anti-Olympics guide to underground spots across Rio.

There's another side to the Rio Olympics that doesn't get covered on TV.

We've previously talked about the issues that should have you questioning the Rio Olympics, from an increased police presence in the favelas to the lack of payment for competing athletes.

In this new list, Rio-based production duo IOIA present their anti-Olympics guide to often-overlooked spots across Rio de Janeiro—including some must-visit art galleries, underground venues and restaurants off the beaten path.

Read through IOIA's selections and their explanations ahead.

Ocupa MinC

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Ocupa Minc.

"The Ocupa MinC is a movement born this past May after the interim government cut the Ministry of Culture, which was created in 1985. This was one of the first moves of the interim president after the removal of President Dilma Rousseff in her controversial impeachment process.

Since then, groups of artists and social movements have begun occupying buildings of the Ministry of Culture in Brazil demanding the departure of interim president Michel Temer. In Rio de Janeiro, the occupation took place in the Capanema Palace where lectures and historical presentations of various collectives and artists like Caetano Veloso and Seu Jorge, as well as parties, have been held.

Days before the start of the Olympics, the building was vacated by the Federal Police, and since then, the protesters have occupied the Canecão, an abandoned concert hall in Botafogo. This new phase of Ocupa MinC started with Chico Buarque leading the movement in the chorus of "Apesar de você," a samba protest that the singer composed during the former period of military dictatorship. The Ocupa MinC will continue performing shows, exhibitions and lectures throughout the month of August."

Schedule / Price: Free (donations are welcome) / Directions

Solar dos Abacaxis

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Bernardo Mosquera.

"The Solar dos Abacaxis is a cultural institution located in one of the most important Neoclassical buildings in Rio de Janeiro. It aims to bring alternatives that relate through the miscegenation of various cultures.

The house has organized itself with a program of activities that occupy various public buildings and bring issues like refugees and migration to a collective reflection. In addition to debates and workshops, every Thursday "Manjar" takes place, an experimental exhibition platform with works by Brazilian artists. It's followed by music, drinks and bar food made by immigrants and refugees."

Schedule / Price: Free (donations are welcome) / Directions

A Gentil Carioca

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Nick Lisi.

"The Gentil Carioca is a contemporary art gallery located at the intersection of the Rio de Janeiro Historical Center in the Sahara Market region, the largest open air market in Latin America.

Conceived and managed by artists, it's a unique area in Brazil that goes beyond just being an art market, with the purpose of thoughtful reflection, experience, education and celebration. The "Abre Alas" is a group exhibition of young artists that takes place every year during Carnival and has become a tradition that several artists have participated in over the years.

One of its most entertaining presentations is its anniversary celebration, a part of the gallery's annual calendar of events, when the street is closed to set up a stage for concerts, performances, and cake sculptures, with an opening exhibition in the big house."

Monday–Friday, 12pm–7pm, Saturday by appointment /Price: Free / Directions

Mercadão de Madureira

Mercadão de Marureira Creative Commons photo courtesy of Karina Brandão

"Opened in 1914, this huge popular market, considered part of the cultural heritage of the city, is home to the largest concentration of religious articles in the city—especially those related to spiritualism of African origin like Candomblé and Umbanda. You can also find herbs for ritual baths, cheap party decorations and even live animals."

Monday–Saturday, 7am–7pm, Sundays & Holidays, 7am – noon / Price: free / Directions

Viaduto de Madureira

Viaduto de Madureira Creative Commons photo courtesy of Lucas Sá IHateFlash

"One of the most important venues of Rio de Janeiro, Viaduto de Madureira is located underneath of the Negão Viaduct in Lima Madureira in Rio's north zone. It has a rich history in the construction of black identity through music, dance and style.

The venue started as a Carnival block party more than 25 years ago and still hosts the “Baile Charme” party every Saturday. Charme is how Brazilians refer to R&B."

Saturdays 10pm-5am / Price: R$ 10 (approx. U$ 3.15) /Directions

Angu do Gomes

"During his visit to Brazil, the French painter Debret described it as a "juicy and tasty delicacy." The dish, Angu, is made from corn flour cream and less noble meat and was brought to Rio de Janeiro by African slaves.

Angu do Gomes preserves this traditional recipe. It's found in Zona Portuária, one of Rio's ports where the slave market was located during the colonization of the country, It's also the location of the oldest “roda de samba” in Brazil."

Sunday-Thursday, 11am-10pm, Friday, 11am-11pm, Saturday, 11am-6pm / Price: R$ 25 ( about U$ 8) / Directions

Bar do David

"David is a former fisherman with entrepreneurial spirit who created one of the city's best restaurants in the garage of his house on the hill. David has created several recognized and awarded dishes and snacks, such as the seafood salad and seafood bean stew. Despite the local popularity, the prices remain very reasonable."

Everyday, 11am-8pm / Price: R$ 25 ( about U$ 8) / Directions

Northeastern Traditions Center

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Rodrigo Soldon

"This is a space dedicated to the celebration of the cultures from the north and northeastern regions of Brazil. It's super popular and has 4 stages where simultaneous northeastern music concerts can be held. It also has many restaurants with typical food and shops with tapestry and crafts."

Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-4pm, Friday 10am - Sunday 10pm / Ticket: R$ 3 (about U$ 1,00) / Directions

Tacacá do Norte

"The Tacacá is a kind of indigenous soup from the Amazon region of Brazil, prepared with the sap of cassava "Tucupi" Jambu, an herb that causes a tingling sensation on the lips and tongue because of its anesthetic qualities. In northern Tacacá it is also possible to sample other dishes, drinks and beers typical of the Amazon region."

Everyday, 11am-8pm / Price: R$ 20 ( about U$ 6.5) / Directions

Gloria street market

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Melissa Santos de Resende.

"Takes place every Sunday on Avenida Augusto Severo, which used to be the sea before the site was grounded. It's a great place to experience the colors, smells and flavors of Brazil, and has one of best tapiocas in Rio, a kind of arepa made from cassava flour."

Sundays, 6am-noon / Directions

Cover of Isha Sesay's 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree'

'Beneath the Tamarind Tree'—an Excerpt From Isha Sesay's Book About Remembering the Chibok Girls

Read an exclusive excerpt from the Sierra Leonean reporter's new book, which offers firsthand accounts of what happened to the girls while in Boko Haram captivity in an attempt to make the world remember.

Below is an excerpt from the seventh chapter in Sierra-Leonean journalist and author Isha Sesay's new book, "Beneath the Tamarind Tree," the "first definitive account" of what took place on the ground following the abduction of 276 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in 2014.

Continue on to read more, and revisit our interview with the reporter about why it's important for the world to remember the girls' stories, here.


"We should burn these girls!"

"No, let's take them with us!"

"Why not leave them here?"

The men were still arguing, dozens of them trading verbal blows while Saa and the other horrified girls looked on. None of the men seemed particularly troubled by the fact that the lives of almost three hundred schoolgirls hung in the balance. Amid all the yelling, the girls had been divided into groups. Each batch would burn in a different room in the school buildings that were aflame just a few feet away. Tensions were escalating when a slim man with outsize eyes suddenly appeared. Saa had never seen him before. Like many of the insurgents, he too looked young and was just as scruffy. But when he spoke, tempers seemed to cool for a moment.

"Ah! What are you trying to do?"

"We wanted to burn them!"

"Why not take them with us, since we have an empty vehicle?"

His suggestion triggered a fresh round of quarreling. The same positions were expressed, and the newcomer continued to calmly repeat his idea of taking the girls with them, till he finally got his way. The girls later discovered his name was Mallam Abba. He was a commander.

"Follow us!" the men shouted.

None of it made any sense to Saa. Why? To where? As the insurgents shuffled her out of the compound, she felt as if her whole life were on fire. All Saa could see was the ominous orange glow of flames consuming every one of her school buildings. With every step, the fears within her grew. She struggled to make sense of the competing thoughts throbbing in her head. This isn't supposed to be happening. The insurgents had asked about the boys and the brick-making machine; they'd systematically emptied the school store, carrying bag after bag of foodstuffs and loading all of it into the huge waiting truck. With everything now packed away, Saa had thought the insurgents would simply let the girls go home. After all, that's what had happened during their previous attacks on schools—they'd always let the schoolgirls go, after handing out a warning to abandon their education and strict instructions to get married. Saa had simply expected the same thing to happen once more, not this.

She scanned the crowd of faces surrounding her; the creased brows and startled expressions of the others made it clear that everyone was equally confused. Whatever the turmoil they were feeling, they kept it to themselves. No one said a word. Saa fell into a sort of orderly scrum with the men corralling and motioning her forward with their guns, each weapon held high and pointed straight at the girls.

Saa and Blessing moved in unison, along with the hundreds of others, snaking along in the dark through the open compound gate, past the small guard post usually occupied by Mr. Jida, which now sat empty. Yelling came from nearby Chibok town. Saa could smell burning, then heard the sound of gunshots and people running. It was bedlam.

Just beyond the compound walls sat a crowd of bushes. As she and the men moved out into the open, Saa felt their thorns spring forward, eager to pull at her clothing and scratch and pierce her body. Careful not to yell out in pain, she tried to keep her clothes beyond the reach of the grasping thicket with no time to pause and examine what might be broken skin.

Saa retreated into herself and turned to the faith that had anchored her entire life. Lord, am I going to die tonight, or will I survive? Desperate to live, unspoken prayers filled her mind and she pleaded, repeatedly, God save me.

She was still praying as they walked down the dirt path away from the flaming school. The shabby-looking men with their wild eyes gave no explanation or directions. They simply motioned with their heads and the sweep of their rifles, making it clear to keep moving. As the reality began to sink in, Saa felt her chest tightening. Her heart was going to beat its way out of her body. But she couldn't allow herself to cry or make any sound. Any kind of display would make her a target, and who knew what these men might do?

The insurgents walked alongside, behind, and in front of her; they were everywhere. Every time Saa looked around, their menacing forms filled her view. Initially, all the girls were steered away from the main road and onto a rambling path overgrown with bushes; the detour was likely made in an attempt to avoid detection.

Parents lining up for reunion with daughters (c) Adam Dobby


This excerpt was published with permission from the author. 'Beneath the Tamarind Tree' is available now.

Wizkid in "Ghetto Love"

The 12 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wizkid, Stonebwoy x Teni, Thabsie, Sampa the Great and a classic Funána compilation.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our Best Music of the Week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's new playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Keep reading... Show less
Sowetan/Getty Images

South Africa has Ruled that Spanking Children is Now Unconstitutional

The judgement was unanimous.

Back in 2017, the South African High Court ruled that it was illegal for parents or guardians to spank their children i.e. use corporal punishment in the home setting. The ruling arose after a father allegedly beat his 13-year-old son "in a manner that exceeded the bounds of reasonable chastisement". Today, the Constitutional Court has upheld the High Court's 2017 ruling and declared that the spanking of children is a violation of the constitution.

Keep reading... Show less

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Nigerian Women Have Taken to the Streets to March Against the Serial Killing of Women

"The women in Port Harcourt no longer feel safe," the protesters say.

Hundreds of Nigerian women have taken to the streets in protest of the the spate of murders that have taken the lives of eight women in various Port Harcourt hotels thus far. Dressed in in black clothing and holding placards denouncing the femicide in a scene quite similar to the protests led by South African women last week, Nigerian women are demanding that the police as well as the government do more to protect the women living in Part Harcourt especially. The BBC reports that the police have arrested two individuals who are thought to be suspects in the killings.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox