BRAZIL ADDS YORUBA LANGUAGE AND AFRICAN HISTORY TO OFFICIAL SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Brazil’s minister of culture, Dr Sérgio Sá leitão announced last week, that Yoruba, one of the widely spoken languages in Brazil, has officially become one of their official languages. The announcement stated that the language (spoken among the Candomblé religion practitioners and Afro-Brazilians) and African History, have been introduced as a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools curriculum.
Speaking at an event at the fourth edition of AYO, the national meetings of the African-Brazilian storytellers held in Quilombola —where many of the early Yoruba victims of the slave trade and their descendants have been located since the 13th century— said that the inclusion of African History and Yoruba Language in the curriculum would help bring Afro-Brazilians closer to their roots, and help understand the origins of languages asides Portuguese, the official language.
The program featured prominent names in African literature, including Prof Wole Soyinka and the first female doctorate degree holder in Yoruba Philosophy, Dr. Sophie Oluwole. Also present was painter and illustrator, Adeyinka Olaiya, who spoke while drawing similarities between the Western Yoruba culture and traditional Brazilian practices. He affirmed that most of the cultural and traditional practices in Brazil are adopted from ancient West African culture as a result of the slave trade. The Yoruba heritage, he said, is reflected in the majority of the African cultural practices in Brazil today, citing examples: Akara, Dendê, Iyalode, Babalawo, Iyalawo, as some of the cultural and religious practices derived from the Afro-Brazillian West Africa heritage.