Examining African Culture in Brazil and The United States


This study abroad program has been amazing, as have all the opportunities I have had to travel, learn, and facilitate learning in other countries and cultures. However, this trip to Salvador, the City in Brazil with the largest number of people of African-descent outside the continent of Africa has awakened a new perspective on what it means to embrace and understand the complexities of the African identity and culture that colonization and slavery sought to destroy in the Africans brought to the Americas. As a person of African descent living in America, I am very proud of the people I derive from. They were artisans, landowners, farmers and one point of specific pride is that both sets of great-great grandparents could read and write. To know what it took for slaves to be able to read and write, and that I come from people that could, gives me this heightened responsibility to take my intellectual ability and continue to use these gifts to improve education and opportunities for others. However, travel here to Salvador, where there are such strong ties to Africa through food, dress, dance, and religion makes me want to know and understand more about my African History.  For the first time I actually gave reflective thought regarding how organic and engrained African traditions and customs are in Salvador, where I believe in the US we are still struggling to get an understanding of African history and traditions. Having had the opportunity to watch the students learn about Afro-Brazilian dance and religion during the cultural activities at ACBEU have really been uplifting and informative. I will admit that my strongest curiosity on the trip has been to gain a better understanding of the Candomble religion. This is not an “African” religion per se, but a syncretic religion with a foundation in the Yoruba traditions. I am grateful to continue to learn alongside these amazing Georgia State Students.                                                                                                                       

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