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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.

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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.

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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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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Music
(Youtube)

The 5 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Fireboy DML, Juls, Adekunle Gold and more.

Every week, we highlight the top releases 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.

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