The Yoruba's in Brazil: Consciously Retaining the Yoruba Cultural Heritage for Over two Centuries

Hi friends, are you aware that Yoruba is one of the major ethnic group in Nigeria, and it's spoken in most of the countries in South America and the Caribbeans. This was possible because of Yoruba slaves who were resilient in preserving their culture even in harsh slavery conditions in the New World. They were beaten by the slave Masters but they continued to chant songs in Yoruba dialect until their children that were unborn could understand and retain the language and culture in their memories for generations to come.

image.png Source

How it Started

One of the Effects of the 16th and 18th centuries slave trade is the movement of Africans as well as their cultures to Europe and the America's. Most of the African who were forcefully taken from their homeland to the New Found Land or New World, what's known as the America's (comprising the North and South America) were epitomizes of the African culture and the Yoruba culture was one of them. Yoruba is fluently spoken in some parts of South America most especially Brazil and Haiti and the festivals still practiced in those places. This is very amazing because the slave trade lasted for about 500 years (looking at when the Portuguese first came into the area and carried the first set of slaves to Europe and later the America's). Also, was the movement of archaeological artifacts to those areas. Source

Some Freed Slaves Came Back from Brazil

image.png Source

After the abolition of slave trade in the New World, some slaves decided to return home from Brazil. The first recorded repatriation of African people from Brazil to what is now Nigeria was a government-led deportation in 1835 in the aftermath of a Yoruba and Hausa rebellion in the city of Salvador known as the Malê Revolt. After the rebellion, the Brazilian government - fearful of further insurrection - allowed freed or manumitted Africans the option to return home or keep paying an exorbitant tax to the government. A few Africans who were free and had saved some money were able to return to Africa as a result of the tough conditions, taxation, racism and homesickness. In 1851, 60 Mina Africans put together $4,000 to charter a ship for Badagry. Source After slavery was abolished in Cuba and Brazil in 1886 and 1888 respectively, further migration to Lagos continued. Many of the returnees chose to return to Nigeria for cultural, missionary and economic reasons. Many of them descended from the Yoruba. In Lagos, they were given the watery terrains of Popo Aguda as their settlement. By the 1880s, they comprised about 9% of the population of Lagos. Towards the end of 1920, the migration stopped. Source

Evidence of Yoruba Religious Worship in Brazil One of the Yoruba religion that is practiced in Brazil is known as Òrìsà. This religion is referred to as Candomblé by Afro-Brazilians — a religion that seeks harmony with nature. This culture and religion is still very much relevant and gave birth to the Òrìsà-worshipping and Yoruba-speaking people of Brazil. Source The worship of this religion is carried out in religious centres called terreiros. At the hem of affairs are priestesses, known as or priests, pais de santo(father of saints). The gigantic statues all around the temples are called the orixás (African gods) that accompanied the slaves from Africa to Brazil. In the religious ceremonies, worshippers dress in the colours of the orixás (white) and place food at the altar before singing special songs and dancing precisely choreographed steps to the sacred drums. 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. Source

image.png Source

image.png Òrìsà Worshippers in Brazil Source

Yoruba as an Official Language in Brazil

In August 2021, the Brazil minister of culture declares that Yoruba will become an official language in Brazil and will be introduced in schools and taught as part of African history in tertiary Institutions in Brazil. Source From my point of view, the efforts of slaves in the 16th to early 19th century to preserve the Yoruba culture and cultural values from that time, is having a positive effect on the 21st century cross cultural harmonization. Who would've believed that one day the Yoruba language would be spoken and adopted as an official language far away from home in South America today, if not for the consciousness of their ancestors who ignored the strokes of the slave Masters to uphold the Yoruba cultural values and preserved it for the generations unborn.

Enjoy Trans-Cultural History from @salvadornkpara From the historian's desk bring you the past, the present and the future and harmonizing tying them in a tapestry and juxtaposing them to make meaning. I'm Salvation Nkpara an African Historian but a wider view. Hope you enjoyed my post, see you next time on my upcoming post.


3.48% Since last month


3.48% Since last month


3.48% Since last month

0.0 HBD

3.48% Since last month

@adetorrent wrote:

From your name, do you have Brazilian heritage yourself? I'm not sure if you mentioned it in the article and I didn't pick it up. There's is a similar story in Cuba too.