Archives for posts with tag: Nigeria

Nigeria is home to many prolific story tellers, always has been. It is evident in movies; music; writers and especially vivid in its theater. 60s and 70s Nigeria saw a boom in drama and stage performances with human proponents like Hubert Ogunde, Baba Sala, Eddie Ugbomah, Ken Saro Wiwa and many other lesser known but well loved thespians that impacted their immediate communities and cities.

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AFRIKAJUMP is happy to have here Temitope Omobolanle Haastrup-Atitebi, a gifted actor often sighted in quality theatrical productions in Nigeria. She was part of the popular SARO-The Musical; which had a cast of over one hundred artists, and has also played Funmilayo Kuti, activist and mother of legendary musician Fela Kuti. She continues to represent depth and detail in her field. The entrepreneur and charity organizer took time of her busy life to answer some questions about life and work.

Here goes.

AFRIKAJUMP- It is a real pleasure to have you on, sister. Thank you for giving us some of your time. How do you juggle being a theater artist and entrepreneur?

OMOBOLANLE-I have realized that I am blessed being a Theater artiste because theater is really encompassing. It prepares and trains you for the persistence and doggedness one needs in any area of life really. Fortunately, what I do as an entrepreneur is in the art; an extension of theater. I trained in acting, costume, make-up, stage management, theater management, directing and production management.

All these skills and knowledge come to play whenever I need them either as an Event manager or as a fashion and craft vendor. Truth be told I don’t even see it as work, because every event is a production that needs all these skills to become a success.
It was actually the theater that inspired my business and provided a platform for me to grow, needless to say most of my clients are in the industry and they give me a lot of referrals as well. That’s why I call myself a Theater-preneur.

AFRIKAJUMP- How did your journey into theater and performance start; and was your family supportive of your decision to study theater at the university?

OMOBOLANLE-I have always been in love with performing arts. I had been singing, writing, acting and dancing as part of school/extra curriculum activities. However I started becoming aware of the special gifts and passion I have for performing arts after secondary school while waiting to get into the University.
Sometime in 1995, I saw a notice board with an invitation to become an actress. I remember walking into the building, registering and being very excited; that was the beginning. Afterwards I went to the training venue somewhere off Yaba road and there I met Lancelot Odua Imasuen.
The training school was called Jovies. However the major challenge was convincing my family that I wanted to study Theater.

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They felt that I was confused and didn’t know what I wanted at the time. Studying theater was a waste of my intelligence as far as they were concerned. I must confess I was confused about a lot of things I wanted in life then but being a performer was not one of them. Theater has been the only constant thing in my life, something I never struggle to do.‎ I fought my way through the opposition from my family and even from within me; Theater won.

AFRIKAJUMP- Beautiful. Congrats. What was your first role you got a cheque for and what was the experience like?

OMOBOLANLE-I honestly can’t remember getting a pay cheque but am sure I did. The experience was much more than a cheque for me at the time. Just being able to perform, being acknowledged as an artiste trumps a million dollar cheque.

The play was OBASEKI produced and directed  by Don Pedro Obaseki  with a star-studded cast of Richard Mofe-Damijo, Norbert Young,Stella Damasus, Henry Ese, Toyin Oshinaike,Kabat Esosa-Egbon, Eliel Otote,Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and a host of dancers and singers. Everything I know in the arts, j first learnt from these people. I went from being a singer in the Orchestra to becoming an actor and later to be declared best dancer by Don P! (Story for another day).

Later went on to work with Lancelot’s production company as a secretary and was the production secretary as well as an actor in his first films YEAR 2000 and YESTERDAY. I also did my first TV series called laugh patterns in 2002/2003.

AFRIKAJUMP- Lovely, I remember Laugh Patterns. And your fashion ventures, what inspired it?

OMOBOLANLE- I literally just found myself in fashion it wasn’t planned at all. I wanted to make souvenirs and gift items that are unique. Again the arts inspired me; I started looking at using materials that speaks of my cultural background that can appeal to the world. It just took off from making flip-flops to bangles and earrings to tote bags to hair accessories to t-shirts and then dresses and then to everything I can. I am also a very fashionable person so it became a translation of my lifestyle into work. Now I do costumes for productions, my latest jobs were AFFRIF the Christmas play by Harvesters Christian Church in 2016.

AFRIKAJUMP- You have also worked in theater productions which heavily incorporate music, like Saro, and you also played Fela’s mother, how has your exposure with different aspects to art affected you as an actor?

OMOBOLANLE- When I started out, there was excuse for not being able to sing, dance and act- it’s a must. There’s absolutely no doubt that I got the best training  from the best hands in the industry and what that has afforded me is that I can be in any kind of theater production in any capacity, and I always give much more than I have been called for. I contribute positively to every aspect of the production that I possibly can. Playing Fela’s mother Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a great honor and being part of Nigerian’s first commercially acclaimed musical was a dream come through which I was well equipped for.

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AFRIKAJUMP- What would you say of the reception by people in Nigeria about this important branch of art-theater?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is life; it’s everything. Africans, Nigerians love telling stories, love spectacle; love music and dance and this is what theater is about unfortunately there was a lull, somewhere somehow we traded our essence for shadow. The craze of westernization and all its accompaniment almost killed theater but we are going back to embracing who we are and developing those things that makes us unique as a people. Nigerians are beginning to look for alternative forms of entertainment and theater is providing that especially because it’s not limited; there’s drama, music and dance and now even fashion. The theater is also very interactive and a great place to network.

AFRIKAJUMP- What has been your most challenging role so far?

OMOBOLANLE-My most challenging role was playing Iya Ibeji in Femi Osofisan’s Twingle Twangle a Twanny Tayle in 2003 as directed by Dr Sola Fosudo. It was my first lead role as an actor. I had to show a lot of emotions; one minute I am sad another I am angry or throwing tantrums….I had to manage my voice and be on point. I tried though because I won the best actress of the year at ATAS LASU 2003 for that role.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats girl. What would a dream role be, in your opinion?

OMOBOLANLE-Playing Sister Clarence in Sisters Act.

AFRIKAJUMP- What do you think upcoming theater enthusiasts need to know basically?

OMOBOLANLE-Theater is hard work with a lot of passion. Talent alone cannot take you far you must invest in developing yourself all the time. You must constantly reinvent.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

OMOBOLANLE-Inspiring.

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On this year’s World Read Aloud Day, it is a real pleasure to have Nigerian Author, Editor and children’s book writer Ayo Olofintuade as our guest. Ayo became more visible on Nigeria’s literary scene after her book ENO’S STORY published in 2010 earned her a Nigeria Prize for Literature nomination.

She is more interesting because she isn’t only about writing books, but wants people; particularly Nigerians; to read books. To actualize this challenge she founded LAIPO Mobile Library which has engaged hundreds of Nigerian children in reading and other literary activities.

We are also inspired by her human rights activism.

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We caught up with Ayo at her Ibadan base and had a good chat, after which she graciously read a passage from her heartwarming new work KING OF THE HEAP, in celebration of 2017’s World Read Aloud Day. Enjoy.

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AFRIKAJUMP- Thanks for sharing your time with us Ayo. You were our top choice on the blog today also because of your spirited efforts in the area of literacy with Nigerian children. Why are you so involved?

AYO- I grew up reading, so when I discovered that a lot of children do not have access to libraries or good books I decided to do something about it.

AFRIKAJUMP- Congrats. We are excited about your new book “King of the heap”. What inspired it?

AYO- One of the things I discovered while running the mobile library project in public and lower income private schools is that the children enjoy books with characters they are familiar with. King of the heap was written for the children I teach. They are the children you see on the streets after school hours, during holidays and on weekends, selling things by the roadside. These are my heroes because they’re determined to make a life for themselves in spite of all the odds stacked against them.

AFRIKAJUMP- We hear the book isn’t going to be widely distributed, but will feature in some select libraries- some consolation. Why is this so?

AYO- I applied for a business grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I had such grand plans but things didn’t work out the way I’d envisaged them, because of the economy and sheer incompetence of the people I worked with. Instead of completely losing out I made the decision to keep the circulation low while I work on other business models that can work in the situationship called Nigeria.

AFRIKAJUMP- Why have you chosen to write for children?

AYO- I am that eternal child that still watches cartoons and reads comics.

AFRIKAJUMP- What was your favorite book as a child?

AYO- My Father’s Daughter by Mabel Segun, basically because it features a black, female character who went on the same adventure as boys.

AFRIKAJUMP- Who’s your favourite Author now? You only get to choose one… hehehe evil, I know.

AYO- You are Evil. But I’m presently enamoured with Yaa Gyasi. Her book ‘Homegoing’ provided a much needed insight into the slavery period in Africa, particularly what happened in the Gold Coast.

AFRIKAJUMP- On this year’s World Read Aloud day, how do you think the reading culture of your country can be improved?

AYO- The only way is the provision of quality education that makes reading (and I’m not talking about textbooks here) its chief concern.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one word?

AYO- Sarcastic.

Nigerian and South American music collective in Brazil; Okwei Odili and Aweto Band had their first outing in this year on February 3 at Tropos, Salvador. The gig which was also in tribute to Yemoja week in Bahia, attracted friends and fans of the band who were thrilled with Afrobeat, Soul and Reggae vibes enhanced by the band’s ancestries.

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They perform Okwei’s composition- SUFFER in the link below

To be in the know about the band’s activities, click and LIKE their page here-

https://www.facebook.com/OkweiNigeria/

 

 

 

 

The night of February first was alive with hundreds of people in the streets of Salvador, mostly dressed in white and blue, some in gold and pink; in honor of maternal deity/energy of the Sea- Yemoja, Yemaya, Iemanja.

The very next day February second would be the climax of the yearly event, with more people; fanfare and Baianos ancestral customs of worship, culture, fashion and other expressions on full display.

Afrikajump joined many faithfuls and adventure seekers who kept vigil on the night of February first in Rio Vermelho- Salvador, and here are some shots of the event.

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Many thanks to TV LAPA DIGITAL FOR THE DAY TWO PHOTOS BELOW ❤

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For our updates via facebook, please click this link then click LIKE https://www.facebook.com/AfrikajumpWorldwide/

 

 

 

Gifted poet and writer Olajumoke Verissimo doesn’t need much introduction. Her first book I Am Memory successfully took on a big challenge very few attempt-History; the painful part of Nigeria’s history. Jumoke is an all round literary head; having studied English literature at the university and furthering her academics in African studies; the artist has worked extensively with some leading Newspaper and media houses in Nigeria as an Editor and Copywriter.

A recipient of more than a few awards in her career, Verissimo has been hailed as one of those who will change the face of Nigeria’s literature; and as fans of her work, we see it already happening.

AFRIKAJUMP asked her some questions about life; work and aspirations.

As we say in Brazil, Vamoonezza! It means; let’s go!

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AFRIKAJUMP- Olajumoke I consider you blessed and lucky; many artists have had to print books and works of art only to practically urge people to buy so they can survive, but your works get published, calmly and not in a do or die way, it seems. Your endeavors as an editor and writer in the print and web media also serves as a channel to perform your artistry. Which would you say is more enjoyable: Your career as a Poet or that of a literature/media person?

OLAJUMOKE-  Thank you. Your words are very kind. As artists, we are both blessed and lucky. Yet, the idea of success—which I believe your question tries to address—is rather subjective. You have to understand that the internet and the media can sometimes be overwhelmingly fictitious in defining the success of an artist. This is why the true realities of an artist are usually distorted in the media—like, good reviews of a book does not equal good sales.

In all, I’m eternally grateful for many things, even the mistakes I make. Nothing is a do or die for me. There’s so much to give and the length of life might not be enough for it, so why choose death when you can just do (imagine) life? Be immortal.

For most enjoyed career….let’s just say, I make efforts to enjoy what I do. Life is too short. As long as I can write, I’d be fine—I’d suffer my emotions, and be human. That’s fulfillment.

AFRIKAJUMP- What one major challenge did you have to tackle in your art to get to where you are now and how did you do it? Can you share?

OLAJUMOKE- Er…how do I answer this question?

I was lucky with my first book, I Am Memory. Yet, when I look back, there was just me struggling to stay afloat, fighting to stay sane. It’s been all small steps moving forward, and those small steps are still in motion. There’s no big story of being picked from somewhere and dropped somewhere—sorry. I’m not a movie star or a rock star, I’m a writer. Every day comes with a promise to challenge.

The truth is that we always try to put a structure to this thing, but a writer’s journey is not defined by plans in that sense. You can plan to finish a book in a year and it runs into years. You may hope to get a publisher in one-year and you don’t get one in ten. The structures in place only ask you to keep working – that is a challenge. You could become depressed wondering when and where you’d fit into a space in the mythical skies where all birds have enough space to fly. Until, your work is published and read, you are just trying everything. You’re sending out submissions, attending events, learning and forming opinions….this never ends. It’s cyclical.

You’re trying to keep your soul from wandering and it is the writing that captures it. You send it out, it finds a home. It gets a name. You hone the craft—you keep honing the craft. The challenge is cyclical.  In all of this, you keep sane by understanding yourself above the noise: you remember how we dream differently, and you try to keep be.

In another dimension, I think we push our struggles differently as writers, as artists, so let’s just say I’m pushing mine with as much passion and self-will as I can power. I don’t know how you arrived at your condition, but there’s goodwill in it and that is promise.

Remember also, that this narrative is simply a writer outside life’s happenings in Nigeria. A writer struggling to put food on the table, trying to subsist.

AFRIKAJUMP- Deep. You are a picture of calm and innocence until one starts to read your works that address the heavier stuff in our society, Corruption, Imperialism, our history. Your bravery and fierceness in I Am Memory which you published in 2008 addressed topics many would rather wish away. Why did you take on this challenge?

OLAJUMOKE- It’s interesting that it all turned out the way it did. Bravery is a kind word. You are an artist, and you know we do not choose depression or restlessness to overtake our calm, yet anytime one visits one’s core values, which spurred one to be an artist, one settles for sanity, for calm, one writes the trouble—what you described as ‘the heavy stuff.’

Considering that I wrote I am memory under the influence of ongoing debates on media reports at the time—largely from members of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) at the Ladipo Labinjo close, Surulere, Lagos, and there was the host of artists at Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).  After the monthly meetings, it was not unusual to see the older members debate the state of the nation at different hangouts in Lagos. Perhaps, I was lucky to start attending literary and art events where fierce debates were the norm. Perhaps; talking politics with my dad made me question the society even more. It could also be that I was an angry teenager and then young adult who was alarmed at how the protective hold of my parents did not prepare me for the horrors on the street. Perhaps all of this influenced the tangent of the themes. I gave the first manuscript to a poet, Akeem Lasisi when I was about 21, or there about. I started the book as a commentary on reparations because of my ancestry which finds root in the transatlantic slavery. I wanted to understand what MKO Abiola, who was passionate about the cause was talking about. I did some research and it turned out differently.  I showed it to the Master Poet, Odia Ofeimun and he made suggestions. You must as well understand, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was responding to the environment, innocently.

AFRIKAJUMP- Brilliant. What inspired your second book, Birth of Illusion?

I was writing this other book and then I got stuck. So, I started to put together a poem to capture the zeitgeist of private and public turbulence in the world in the last decade. Old poems got a slot and new poems found a place as well.

AFRIKAJUMP- I love when that happens. You know, like the saying one door closes another opens. Now say you are appointed by the government to help salvage Nigeria’s literary sector what three things would you primarily or immediately address? 

OAJUMOKE- There’s no point making a list – the government should focus on education. Beyond literacy, which is not even available, we need a country of educated minds. A country with a history; A country where the parts can question the whole. Presently, everything in the country reeks of failure – usually, people suffer ‘curse of knowledge’ ours is a ‘curse of ignorance’.  We are so ignorant of our illiterate state, we do not realise we have fallen down the continental ladder as a country. We’re going about as largest black nation. Please, if we have educated minds, the literary sector would thrive. We would create structures that won’t be subsumed under political thuggery and social despondency.

AFRIKAJUMP- Nothing like inept public office holders to bring the fire out of a patriot. Which author(s) are you currently reading, if any?

OLAJUMOKE- Ibrahim Al-Koni Scarecrow, Claudia Rakine Citizen, Sarah Manyinka Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, Odia Ofeimun, A Boiling Caracas, and Ryan Holiday Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.

AFRIKAJUMP- What book by another writer did you wish you wrote?

OLAJUMOKE- This one is hard o. I’ll pick any of Toni Morrison’s books; Okay, I’ll stick with Sula.

AFRIKAJUMP- Your top 3 authors. This is a tough one, I know.

OLAJUMOKE- I’ve decided I won’t do this again. It is torture. If you insist, the current authors on my reading list. Once I’m done, the next authors I’m reading. If, you however, think you should really, really know. Whenever death visits, the last three on my lips could be taken as the final word.

AFRIKAJUMP- HAHAHAHAHA Well played. Any projects in the works you want us to know about?

OLAJUMOKE- Yes, but I’m superstitious.

AFRIKAJUMP- HAHAHAHA you are amazing Jumoke, thank you. Lastly, can you describe your city in one word?

OLAJUMOKE- Fierce!

Keep up with the writer here- https://twitter.com/awapointe

You can get her new book on the link below

https://www.amazon.com/I-am-memory-Jumoke-Verissimo/dp/9780880658

Photo by Seye Kehinde.

AFRIKAJUMP had a candid chat with talented Musician Adedeji Adetayo  based in Athens-Greece about life and his amazing music. The guitarist and composer who studied music extensively shared his experiences and challenges; also tells us how he deals with issues like racial profiling and the ordeal he has to sometime deal with by virtue of his carrying a Nigerian passport.

Adedeji is in the final stages of his second CD; wait for this- a Twenty tracker double album which comes out this March, featuring some musical heavyweights from Nigeria, Europe and America. We can’t wait.

We are also fond of the short and sweet videos often shared online by the artist in which he excites fans with Highlife and indigenous tunes from Nigeria; of those where he and his band mates from Frog string quartet string our hearts with their string ensemble; we can’t omit his brilliant work with jazzy and funky Datfunk band.

Greece is lucky to have him, let’s hear from the man now.

AFRIKAJUMP- Thank you for your time, Adedeji. You seem like an adventurer; why did you choose Greece?

ADEDEJI- Yes I do like adventure, Greece was the first European country I visited and during the visit, I met lots of great people, made lots of friends ,which made me feel at home plus the hospitality and love for culture reminds me of the core of African culture in some ways , the sun, the food etc. So when I decided to relocate to Europe a year after, it was only natural to start from Greece.

AFRIKAJUMP- Being an African in Diaspora comes with its challenges, being an African artist in Diaspora I imagine may feel like double the trouble sometimes, how do you cope?

ADEDEJI- That’s absolutely true, it does come with lots of challenges apart from the obvious ones like racial profiling and all, the most important for me at least is the lack of musicians (Africans) Who truly love the arts and are willing to stick to it. At least in this part of the world where I am. But I try to keep pushing, find few people who are closer to what I hear in my head musically and work with them. Another challenge would be the awareness and understanding of African music, where most people who pretend to know African music of a certain region expect that every African music should to play that music; it’s like asking a country musician why he doesn’t play jazz (smiles). I get that sometime and it’s funny. However I’ve been blessed to visit places to share my own African story and try to educate people a bit more. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do more.

AFRIKAJUMP- In your recent single C.O.P abbreviation for Country of Pain you share some of your thoughts on the disadvantages that come with being a Nigerian, how have you dealt with this/these frustration(s)?

ADEDEJI -Hmm! I have found different ways to deal with some, and the main one would be confidence! If I don’t have anything to hide or done anything Illegal, I figured I don’t have to be afraid of the policeman, Immigration and all. They smell your confidence from far away. Once I stopped on the bus and I was the only one checked this was on my way to Germany from Netherlands, Even though I was a student at that time they did check all of my things and left the others, My question was simple; ‘Why are you checking just me alone?’; the officer said the rest were students, I said really? I am a student too but you didn’t bother to even ask. He blabbed and felt embarrassed, I was happy I made my thoughts known and made him look stupid.

The other Side of C.O.P is an African problem that I believe has to be dealt with By Africans if we truly want to be free, We have to purge out all the bad eggs, acknowledged our wrongs, move forward while looking back!; you know like the Bird ‘Sankofa’ I love that Ghanaian myth, We have to find a way to progress while we also keep our culture intact. I figured out by expressing my thoughts through music I’m already finding solution and getting people to think about it. Some guy once wrote me a private message about how he likes my music but didn’t like the fact that I did C.O.P in front of what seems to be mainly white audience, saying it’s not good to wash out dirt in public. He might be right but he is also wrong on many levels. C.O.P Is not just an African story, it’s a global thing, Many of the Everyday westerners don’t know what we are going through they have the story based on media and that other bad guy they’ve met; we have to put it out there, have a conversion about it and deal with it otherwise we are just joking and we’ll remain countries of pain, since Africans have been dealing with this for thousands of years! So I figured the problem is not only being Nigerian, it’s more than that; but you know Nigeria is a populous country so we suffer it more I think.

AFRIKAJUMP- Thank you, I like your response to the guy who was speaking all the grammar about dirty linen. Can you tell us something about your album tour you tagged Afreekanism?

ADEDEJI- Afreekanism is my Second Album. It’s a 20 track album which makes it a double album; and the goal was basic, I wanted to create a futuristic African music album which would stays within the tradition but also expand into something more, Jazz; Funk; Soul; you name it. It’s very conceptual as it talks about the same issues we discussed above Immigration, racial profiling etc. It is also feel good music so we have tracks in there where you just wanna enjoy music and forget the troubles in the world for a second! It features a lot of musics from Africa and around the world including Dr Orlando Julius; Yinka Davies; Adunni and Nefertiti; Lekan Babalola; and also musicians from Europe and America. I am definitely proud of this album. It would be out in March.

AFRIKAJUMP- You joined the church choir at 5 years old. What were your favorite tunes back then, and who inspires you now?

ADEDEJI- Church music for me was diverse. My father is Anglican which means at that time they sing mostly hymns; it opened my ears to classical oriented music, From Handels’ Messiah to The Nigerian Composer T.K.E Philips. My mother on the other was at that time going to Celestial church and there was a lot of drumming; and then at some point I joined the Pentecostal church where I would listen and play mostly American gospel; so to answer your question, church music is too diverse to mention, for other music, Fela Kuti, Haruna Ishola; Fuji musicians; George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker , Miles Davies, Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke those people influenced my thought and they still do, but this days I’m back to the Roots!

AFRIKAJUMP- Great. And if you had the power to change three things in the world what would they be?

ADEDEJI- Hmmm! That’s a tough one 1. I would make Africa great, have people travel freely within our continent. 2. I would make the world be in peace and Harmony. 3. Free access to Information, Education and encourage more live music and real musicians.

AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one or two words?

ADEDEJI- Funky!

To know more about this artist, check out his website www.adedejiadetayo.com

Afrikanism Album Art by Iliana Tsapatsari.

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Reggae’s most prominent exponent Bob Marley says in one of his songs “If you know your history, then you will know where you are coming from”. While it is favorable to some despicable elements for some histories to be erased or distorted to promote lies/lines that entrap many and enrich them and a select few, there are many people who refuse to be oblivious to their past, however unfortunate it may have been. Some of these people are Brazilians in South America who share African heritage, the Afro Brazilians.

In this second nation on earth with the largest concentration of Africans besides Nigeria, Afro Brazilians in states like Bahia, Recife, Rio De Janeiro, and Goiania insist on practicing their ancestral spiritual beliefs, especially through Candomble, which adores African gods. The religion is mostly patterned in Nigeria’s Yoruba traditional belief systems.

Every February in Salvador, Bahia devotees of Yemoja- goddess of the sea gather to sing, dance, offer sacrifices laced with perfume, talc, flowers and jewelry in hopes of

blessings from this maternal energy.

After the early morning rituals, there are musical concerts and street exhibitions and it is a beautiful sight that we are looking forward to in a few weeks, like we did in 2016.