Posted July 9, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Current Events

II CIAD “The Second Conference of Intellectuals from African” in Salvador – Bahia

The first Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora – I CIAD was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 6 to 9 October, 2004.

The Conference decided that the follow-up should be held in the Diáspora. The African Union chose Brazil to be the host for the summit.

The Convention Center in Salvador, the capital of the State of Bahia, has been penciled down from July12 -14, 2006 as the venue for this year’s Conference. The event will be co-chaired and presided by the Brazilian Minister for Culture, Gilberto Gil representing the Diaspora, and an intellectual woman from Africa will represent the African Continent.

Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the incubent president of Brazil in the company of other Heads of States will register their honorable presence in the opening of the ceremony, on July 12.

This year’s II CIAD summit will attract about 700 to1000 intellectuals participants and political leaders from Africa and other Countries of the Diaspora.

Apart from the Salvador Conference center other venues to complement activities in this year’s Conference will be the State and Federal Universities of Bahia respectively.

Objectives

The objective of the Conference is to encourage and give prominence to the African intellectuals’ contribution as vectors of new ideas for the development and social transformation of the continent and the Diaspora.

The Conference equally seeks to increase the mutual understanding, as well as stimulate the cooperation for development between the African countries and those of the Diaspora.

The Conference also promotes the intellectuals’ permanent, durable and constructive commitment and those that have political will power to take decisions on problems confronting Africans the world over, as well as assure that they will be engaged in the establishments of development programs.

Team of the Conference

The general theme of the II CIAD is “The Diaspora and African Renaissance: past contributions and the present project” This theme will be discussed in plenary session and thematic groups.Participants for this years program include Dr Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathai, Stevie Wonder to mention but a few.
For registration or more information visit www.ciad.mre.gov.br                                                                                                                                                                                

Son killed his father in cold blood
  

A family crime was committed yesterday in the neigborhood of San Martin in Salvador where Lenildo de Jesus Farias age 19, shot his 46 years old father and fled afterwards. The reason behind the crime which is presently unknown is been investigated by the police. Lenildo who is at large is presently sought after by the cops.

SÃO JOÃO

BY MARK STEVENSON FUO

The Sao Joao festival is one celebrated in honor of the biblical Saint John who prepared the way for the coming of the Savior of the world Jesus Christ. The festival which most people including my humble self prefer to that of the Carnival is a peaceful, well coordinated and organize one that mostly take place in the entire northeastern states of Brazil.
During this period, which is normally in June of every year, all roads lead to the country side of town where everybody gets down on the forro beat, a Brazilian version of country music which is the music played all through to lighten up the festival. People dance around fire places which has a traditional under tone attached to the festival. Spirit with all kinds of flavor is served accompanied by the typical dish of boiled corn and peanuts which are eaten by all and sundry.

In Salvador, this year’s Saint John festivity also took place in Pelourinho. The entire historical center was decorated with banderoles, colorful ribbons and ballons. Shows with Forro artistes were staged at the main square , restaurants and bars all around Pelourinho. The entire atmosphere was packed with mostly couples, dancing and walking in pairs.

Posted July 9, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Religion, Uncategorized

The Afro Brazilian Religions

by Mark Stevenson Fuo

The African slaves especially those from the west, carried along their Yoruba religion with them when they were brought to Brazil, Candomblé as Afro- Brazilians term this religion is one which seeks harmony with nature. The worship of this religion is carried out in religious centres called terreiros. At the hem of affairs are priestesses, known as mães de santo (mother of saints) or priests, pais de santo (father of saints). Gigantic statues of all kinds could be noticed around these Candomblé temples. They are called the orixás ( African gods) that accompanied the slaves from Africa to Brazil.

Most Afro- Brazilians cherish these gods that they have preserved and worshipped for over 500 years. They fought to realize the fusion of Catholicism with their worship, doctrines and beliefs. In the religious ceremonies, practitioners dress in the colors of the orixás and place food at the altar before singing special songs and dancing precisely choreographed steps to the sacred drums. Everybody is said to have their own special orixás. During the ceremonies, worshippers fall into all kinds of trances, which they believe is caused by the contact and interaction they have experienced with the deity.,

Apart from the Candomblé, other religious group also emanated from Africa to Brazil. The Macumba, and Umbanda are religions from the same origin in this category. The Macumba is a general term that describes African derived spirit worship while Umbanda is more distinctive. The former is to Rio de Janeiro what Candomblé is to Bahia. They both involve closely related rituals and mode of worship.

The variations of worship simply reflect different beliefs brought by different groups of slaves from Africa. as well as the effects of regional separation as these religions developed in Brazil. For more information on the religion, a visit to one of the terreiros in Bahia will clear all your doubts and equip you with additional information about these religions.

Road Transport Workers Strike Paralyzes Commercial activities in Salvador – Bahia, Brazil

Posted June 2, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Current Events, Uncategorized

by Mark Stevenson Fuo

Normalcy has returned to the commercial city of Sao Paulo after the ugly and avoidable incident that was sparked up on Friday, May 12th 2006, by the PCC members.(Primeiro Comando da Capital, (First Command of the Capital ) which is a notorious and well organized crime gang. This time around, like the Paulistas, Baianos have been trapped in their homes.

More than one million Baianos that live in Salvador woke up without public transportation four days ago. After two months of negotiations, the public bus transport workers comprising of the drivers and cash collectors went on an indefinite strike Monday night. The workers are demanding a readjustment of 10% of their take home, while the entrepreneurs are offering an incredible increase of 4%.

The approval of the strike was decided in a voting realized during a gathering at the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Eletricitários da Bahia (Sinergia), four days ago. A protest march from Aquidabã to Iguatemi (major highway) was used to announce the commencement of the strike to the public.

We were “open to discussion and negotiations until minutes before the strike”, Affirmed the president of the Union of the transport workers, Mr. J. Carlos. He alerted that the strike would paralyze activities in the entire Salvador metropolis. We have the total support of the workers to have embarked on this strike,” J. Carlos said.

During the whole walk and protest, the road transport workers accused the intransigence entrepreneurs, affirming that the intention of the patronage has always been exploiting and depriving the workers of their rights. J. Carlos emphasized that 15 negotiation rounds have been setup without arriving at a reasonable conclusion. We “did everything possible. We had 15 negotiation rounds and the entrepreneurs only presented proposals that took our rights away, like the reduction in payment of workers overtime and robbing us of our relaxation on Sundays”, he said.

He went further to declare that the road transport workers would not make stoppages at any bus station until their demands are met. Moreover, since the strike began, out of the 3.600 buses in the State, and the 2.400, that existed in the capital, none of them had stopped in the bus stations as the president promised. The state of Bahia has 18 thousand transport workers that had been clamoring for this readjustment for over 2 years.

The Regional Tribunal for Work in Bahia granted a preliminary warning yesterday to the entrepreneurs, that they should affirm that 70% of the buses in the city would be schedule to work on peak periods during the strike. Failure to comply with this treat, the road transport workers association would be liable to pay a fine of R$ 50 thousand. Irrespective of this treat which they regarded as empty, the order of the authorities was blatantly and vehemently ignored by the road transport worker. Manoel Machado the vice president of the Road Workers Union denied that they are yet to receive the treat letter that states that they should resume duty.

If two elephants fight, the grass suffers. The strike that is approaching the fifth day has completely brought most commercial activities to a stand still. One could only see cars and taxis moving around the streets and avenues of the city. With a minimum salary of $300 equivalent to $135 dollars or thereabout, how many people will be able to afford the exorbitant taxi fares? Most bus stops including the largest bus station in Salvador are completely vacuous. In the main street of the commercial center of the city called Avenida Sete, many stores are closed. The historical center that is always packed with tourists and locals is also a ghost town. Those traveling into the city from neighboring and far away towns have decided to postpone their journeys until they have made assurance double sure that the strike has been called off.

Mobility has been perplexing for the majority of the inhabitants of Salvador who depend mainly on buses, since the city do not have a working subway system; the city only possesses a small train that conveys the residents of the suburb to the downtown districts. The primary, high school and university students have all gone on a compulsory break. The streets in most of the neighborhoods have been taken over by football playing youths. The beaches around town have accommodated a great deal of people these past four days. Angry youths have stormed the streets throwing stones and destroying public buses as a sign of protest against depriving them of movement around the city.

Whichever, way one views this strike; it is the masses that bear the brunt. We hope that the entrepreneurs will consider and soon meet the demands of the striking workers for a prompt resumption of commercial activities in the temporarily dead city of Salvador.

Lavagem do Bonfim

Posted May 31, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Festivals

by Mark Stevenson Fuo

The Lavagem do Bonfim (Washing of the Stairs and Premises of the Bonfim Church) is a major festival after the carnival that attracts thousands of people on the streets of Salvador. It is a religious procession that implies washing the steps that leads into the BONFIM CHURCH by the Maes dos Santos (Mothers of all Saints) and Baianas (Women from Bahia) and this exercise symbolizes purification and blessings into the New Year. Historically, this tradition of washing emanated from Portugal and it used to involve the washing of the entire church by a devotee or faithful who sought the face of God for a favor, grace, healing or miracle and in turn washed the church as a compensation or repayment for answered prayers. This practice started in Salvador since the inauguration of the church in 1754.

The historical significance of the washing of the church could be traced from the colonial era, when the fraternity of the church ordered the African slaves at the time to clean and prepare the temple for the solemn feasts. The slaves seized this unique and priceless opportunity to honor OXALA their god created by African mythodology. Before then, they were forbidden to practice their religion, so they secretly did this by changing the names of the deities which they worshipped to that of catholic saints. This smart move applied by the slaves was one out of several that gave birth to the fusion of the Afro-brazilian religion Comdonble and Catholicism. This year’s Bonfim festival was dedicated to Oxala the maestro and regent.

The image of the lord of Bonfim was brought from Portugal by a Portuguese commanding officer of the Ship of India named Theodosio Rodrigues de Farias. The image was taken to the Igreja da Penha (Church of the rock) in the Itapajipe peninsula and later on transferred to its own church in Colina Sagrada in July 1754 where it gave birth to the Bonfim procession that made the church a center for pilgrimage and religious syncretism in Bahia. In 1927, the Pope promulgated a decree to elevate the church to the status of basilica because of the faith exhibited by the people of Bahia. There was a commemoration to welcome his gesture and two cultures prevailed in the celebration. One which was of Portuguese influence was that of the Lord of Bonfim while the other which was of the African influence was directed more to cleaning of the churchyard which was carried out by the slaves especially women.

In 1890, the Archbishop of Bahia prohibited the lavagem do bomfim which he vehemently kicked against due to the mixture of Catholicism and the Afro-Brazilian religion which he considered as profane and a pagan party. The wash that previously was done inside the church of Bomfim was limited to the churchyard and staircases. The people protested on the decision of the Archbishop and since then, the church stays closed during the festival’s celebration. However, what matters today is the fact that this mixture exist and the belief in faith which is regarded as one makes the festival a spectacle of peace, love and unity.

The Bomfim Festival is a long course that involves an eight kilometer none stop walk from the Nossa Senhora de Conceicao da Praia church to the Bonfim Church in the beautiful lower city of Salvador da Bahia.

Yoruba/Bahia

Posted May 31, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Culture, Uncategorized

by Mark Stevenson Fuo

It is quite disheartening that when the country Nigeria is mentioned what come to the minds of foreigners are Advance Fee Fraud popularly known as 419, drug trafficking, corruption accompanied by its debilitating ancillaries like fraud, graft, bribery and nepotism. Nevertheless, one cannot run away from the fact that, this country with over 120 million people is aptly described as the “Giant of Africa”.

It is a country richly endowed with natural, cultural and ecological resources.
Its vibrant cultures of over 140 diverse ethnic groups encompass, exhilarating festivals, dynamic music, dances and opulent history. Naija as its citizens call it is a country endowed with abundant natural resources ranging from significant agricultural, mineral, marine and forest resources. Including moderate climatic extremes, exotic landscapes, equatorial forests, fascinating beaches and savannah grassland abounding with alluring vistas of cascading waterfalls, towering rocks, rolling hills, ancient caves and inhabited by the most receptive and intelligent people on planet earth.

One of Nigerian’s main indigenous language, YORUBA, is been taught in most reputable universities in the Americas and the United Kingdom. The yoruba ethnic group that is known for its prominence in all artistic fields consists of the most highly educated people that the country has today. The group has spread and planted its well-cherished and scintillating culture and tradition all over southwest Nigeria to far away Brazil.

However, in renowned and touristy cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia in Brazil, the beliefs, religion, tradition and culture of the Yoruba people of West Africa, particularly that of Nigeria has been well preserved for over 500 years. Its element and ethnic composition is visibly exhibited, alongside the strong influence that it mainly portrays on the culture of Bahia. Without mincing words, Salvador da Bahia is, undoubtedly, the Afro-Brazilian state capital. Its music, outstanding cuisine, religious activities, and social ways of life are largely influenced by that of the Yoruba ethnic group.

WHO ARE THE YORUBA PEOPLE AND WHY FOCUS ON NIGERIA AND BAHIA- BRAZIL?

It has been widely speculated by some historians that the religious and traditional history of the people of Bahia is mainly derived from Angola because it was a former Portuguese colony. Apart from the Capoeira (African style of martial arts developed into a dance and game) whose origin has been controversially and inexplicably argued and part of the Afro-Brazilian religion that was supposedly derived from Angola, the majority of the taste in art, music, mode of worship, names, customs, and beliefs which Bahia is known for is of Yoruba origin.

 

“The Yoruba (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) is a large ethno-linguistic group or ethnic nation in West Africa. The Yoruba constitute approximately 30% percent of Nigeria’s total population, and number upwards of 40 million individuals throughout the region of West Africa. They share borders with the Nupe and Borgu peoples in the northwest, the Ẹsan and Ẹdo to the southeast, the Igala and other related groups to the northeast, and the Egun, Fon, and other Gbe-speaking peoples in the southwest. While the majority of the Yoruba live in the south-west of Nigeria, there are also substantial indigenous Yoruba communities in the Republics of Benin and Togo, as well as Diaspora Yoruba communities in Sierra Leone, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and the United States”

The Yoruba People are the main ethnic group in 6 major states in Nigeria namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo, which are political subdivisions of Nigeria; they also constitute a sizable proportion of Kwara and Kogi states.

Why Bahia- Brazil?

12 Million was the number most historians estimated of the Slaves that were captured and shipped to Brazil. Before getting to Brazil about a million of them died, but after the abolition of slavery which was initiated by the Brazilian Anti-Slavery Society founded in 1880 (with the backing of the king D. Pedro II), slaves could buy their freedom, which was not a very surprising fact even in the earlier colonial times. Black religious brotherhoods, supported by the Catholic Church and Jesuit missionaries, backed the process and raised the money. This happened all over Brazil, especially in Salvador da Bahia. This freedom gave the Africans firm grip in resisting the dominance of the white culture and religion. The Yoruba religion, which had been prohibited during the slave era, became widely practiced alongside Catholicism in every nook and cranny in Bahia.

The similarity in the people and their day-to-day life has made me put this blog together, because having been in Salvador for over 2 years, I have discovered more than enough characteristics between the lifestyle, culture and tradition of a Baiano and a typical Yoruba man from the south-west of Nigeria.

Every week on this site you will be met with THE TRUTH of these comparative and similar qualities of these people alongside current events in Brazil and Nigeria, music, sports, gastronomy, travel, tourism, religion, politics, festivals, social life and education to mention but a few.

Welcome to dtruth.

 

Posted May 31, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Culture, Uncategorized

Posted May 29, 2006 by dtruth
Categories: Culture, Current Events, Economy, Festivals, Gastronomy, Literacy and Education, Music, Politics, Religion, Social life and Problems, Sports, Travel


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