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.

Photo courtesy of @sahraisha

#BlackOutEid​: Young Black Muslims Shine as They Celebrate Eid

Young Black Muslims have found creative ways to celebrate community and share their best Eid looks, even as they #StayAtHome.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim fam! Today marks Eid al-Fitr, the official end of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Despite things being a little different this year (on account of the current pandemic, of course) this hasn't stopped many from finding creative ways to fast, pray and connect with their community during these times. It certainly hasn't stopped young Black Muslims from participating in the virtual tradition known as #BlackOutEid while they continue to #StayAtHome.

#BlackOutEid is an annual celebration which highlights the diversity within the Muslim world. It began in 2015, when Aamina Mohamed created the hashtag to combat the erasure of Black people within the community. Since then, the hashtag has been used across social media with Black Muslims using it to share their sharpest Eid looks.

Keep reading... Show less

Rebuilding the Nigerian Fashion Industry After Coronavirus

While the style capital of Africa remains shuttered, Nigerian fashion insiders have an ambitious plan to forge an independent path in a post-COVID world.

Like most Zoom calls, the first digital edition of Woven Threads began with a headcount confirming whose mic was on, who was online at the moment and who was trying to join in.

The two-hour live session included the founder of Lagos Fashion Week Omoyemi Akerele, founder and CRO of Ruff n Tumble Nike Ogunlesi, special adviser to the Nigerian president on Ease of Doing Business Jumoke Oduwole and several other fashion professionals in a conversation on how African fashion can adapt to a fast-changing world of ruptured supply chains and cheap foreign textiles.

Like in previous years, Woven Threads was actually meant to take place in real life with a series of workshops and interactive sessions as well as a pop-up store. Normally the event is a big deal, signifying the opening of the first of Nigeria's two fashion seasons. This year it signified an industry determined to change in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less
Image courtesy of Melanin Unscripted.

Alton Mason's Lagos-Shot Coming-of-Age Short Film

The model's new project was released as a social impact campaign to help COVID-19 relief in Nigeria in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

Model and artist Alton Mason shares his new coming-of-age short film "Rise In Light," in collaboration with Melanin Unscripted.

The stunning visuals were shot in Lagos as an introduction to the model's musical debut "Gimmie Gimmie," and has doubled as a social impact campaign in the face of the current pandemic. Mason and Melanin Unscripted founder Amarachi Nwosu set out with a goal of raising $10,000 for the Nigerian-based Khan Foundation to help provide relief packages for families on the ground, and were able to reach their goal in just 24-hours.

"Rise in Light is a movement created by the youth to inspire and ignite the future leaders of our world," says Mason of the campaign. "It's a call for change, evidence of freedom and the expression of love and joy."

The model visited Lagos for the first time last year when filming. "The moment I landed and drove into the city of Lagos, all of those American perceptions, based on fear, were proven false," Mason tells Vogue of his time in Nigeria. I was immediately captivated by nature, the land, the buildings, the water, and the spirit of the country, which made me free to create the song and video in this sacred place. I felt home."

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.