AFRIKAJUMP took a trip on February 17 to a spiritual place, Terreiro do Capivari. We found it magical too.
This large expanse of land in Bahia Brazil is a testament to history, Africa and the inspiring resilience of Afro-Brazilians. Nature lives and thrives here as evidenced by its luscious vegetation. Its natural ambiance is a huge part of Terreiro do Capivari’s history. In Brazil a terreiro is where the Afro-Brazilian religion called Candomblé is practiced. This religion with roots from Nigeria and Benin Republic was spread in countries like Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, America and some other nations by Africans who were stolen through slavery.
The most striking visual here in Terreiro do Capivari has to be a proud Iroko tree dedicated to Obaluaiye-lord of the earth, and Osumare– the Rainbow god. The magnificent tree with delicious fruits dates over 200 years.
Another remarkable thing is this tree lives right in the house with the inhabitants who made an altar of it. It has being a home of refuge and prayer for so many decades.
In the story narrated by the gracious Babalorisa and Iyalorisa who received us warmly, the location was lived in by a Brazilian slave owner who as expected bought a stolen African; an ancestor of this present Babalorisa. As time went on, freedom came for the enslaved in Brazil, but Baba’s ancestor continued to live there while he weighed his options.
Then there came a major outbreak of cholera which killed many. Baba’s ancestral family was affected but they did not die because their father knew what herbs to get from the bush to tackle the disease. Eventually the disease spread to the slave owner’s family, the lady of the house panicked and asked Baba for help. Baba’s kindness and his plants saved them, and in gratitude she asked him to choose a large portion of the land for himself. He erected his altar and the rest is history.
There is a house of Baba Egun, altars of Ogun, Sango, and a sweet running stream, a sign of Osun.
There are many relics from many decades past like this box used to transport materials, drums fashioned directly from a tree, this grinding stone, which was stolen but recovered by Brazilian authorities in far away Sao Paulo! Sigh. Some people are just…No words.
Reverence to our good ancestors is a huge part of Africa’s belief systems, and in this terreiro, ancestors who set the path are fondly remembered.
Today the land is home to many medicinal plants- some rare, trees and unending music from birds.
AFRIKAJUMP is grateful to Babalorisa and Iyalorisa who welcomed us with open arms and minds.
There are plans for an exposition here in the near future. To know more, here’s their facebook