As Brazil’s Month of Black Consciousness continues, the 1st Afro Sabará Award honors preservers of Afro-Brazilian culture


Note from BW of BrazilCelebrations of the Month of Black Consciousness will continue throughout the month of November throughout Brazil with all sorts of commemorations and observations of important historical and current events important to the Afro-Brazilian population. Sabará is a city of probably about 140,000 people in the state of Minas Gerais and is considered a part of the metropolitan area of the capital city of Belo Horizonte. Although it is considered small it terms of population, last week Sabará took a giant step in the preservation of culture and history as it held its first annual award ceremony to recognize those in the community who fight to preserve Afro-Brazilian culture in the city. The Prêmio Afro Sabará is another of a continuously growing number of events dedicated to Afro-Brazilian cultural manifestations that have been so long ignored in Brazil. 

Photos from the Afro Sabará Award ceremony in Sabará, Minas Gerais
Photos from the Afro Sabará Award ceremony in Sabará, Minas Gerais

Afro Sabará Award honors highlights of black culture

The culture and traditions African descendents in the city of Sabará (state of Minas Gerais) were highlighted on the night of November 8th. The 1st Premio Afro Sabará (award) honored, at the Municipal Theater, several black personalities of the town of Sabará. The event is a proposal to honor people who have sought and seek to keep alive black culture and traditions in the city. The award was be made by the artist Lúcio Ventania, a resident of Ravena, and will honor 14 people in categories including pioneering, heritage, dance, music, visual arts, capoeira tradition, trançadeira (braid stylist), cuisine, literature, social service, memory, religion and education.

Photo courtesy of Etienne Martins
Photo courtesy of Etiene Martins

Representing the mayor of Sabará, Vice Mayor Ricardinho praised the event. “It’s an important moment for blacks of Sabará that helped to construct our history. Some people spend their whole lives as anonymous and are honored only after death. Tonight there is a strong objective that is to reward in life, black people who contribute to our community in a relevant way,” said the Vice Mayor.

Journalist Etienne Martins
Journalist Etiene Martins

The Prêmio Afro Sabará is an initiative of journalist and Movimento Negro (black movement) activist, Etiene Martins and has the support of the Municipality of Sabará. The evening was attended by political authorities and artistic and cultural attractions evidencing black Brazilian culture making mention of the Month of Black Consciousness.

November is the Month of the Black Consciousness: less prejudice please

By Minas Sem Censura

For more consciousness 365 days a year

1st Prêmio Afro Sabará (Photo courtesy of Etienne Martins)
1st Prêmio Afro Sabará (Photo courtesy of Etiene Martins)

November 20 is the Day of Black Consciousness, a special day for everyone to remember the suffering of black people throughout history since the time of the colonization of Brazil. The date was chosen because of the death of Zumbi, the leader of the Quilombo of Palmares, and until then there will be various festivities promoted across the country.

Sabará, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Sabará, Minas Gerais, Brazil

In Minas Gerais, in the town of Sabará, on November 8, the 1st Prêmio Afro Sabará (award) was held. The objective was to honor people who sought and seek to keep alive black culture and traditions in the city. The mastermind behind the event, journalist and militant of the Movimento Negro (black movement), Etiene Martins said the black Brazilian is far from being respected to the fullest even having acquired advances in society. “We are still far from living in a racial democracy. We must enforce the right to practice our culture and religion. Many young black men still die as a result of the genocide,” Etienne said.

Honorees of the 1st Afro Sabará Award ceremony
Honorees of the 1st Afro Sabará Award ceremony (Photo courtesy of Etiene Martins)

Every moment instances of racism involving blacks is recorded. One of the most recent occurred during the game between Cruzeiro in Peru against Real Garcilaso. The midfielder Tinga was harassed by a portion of the stadium, which reproduced shrieks of monkeys whenever he touched the ball. The case would gain repercussions. President Dilma Rousseff gave her full support to the player.

Over the past 12 years, significant achievements have been registered in Brazil as the creation of the Política Nacional de Atenção a Saúde Negra (National Policy of Attention to Black Health) and Juventude Viva. Presidents Lula and Dilma, in a joint effort, have been trying to build a new scenario in which everyone, without distinction, has equal rights.

Photo courtesy of Etienne Martins
Photo courtesy of Etiene Martins

The proof that the current government has been trying to change the scenario of discrimination is the creation of the Special Secretariat of the Promotion of Policies to of Racial Equality and the National Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality. This combat against discrimination is also done through the quota system. Currently 20% of the positions offered in public competitions are for people who claim to be preto (black) or pardo (brown), which increases the presence of blacks in the spheres of power. There are also quotas in public universities, as it is believed that, because blacks were marginalized after the period of slavery, they failed to gain the same workspace as the white man.

Equality, correcting injustices and the construction of a more just society is what the magna carta reads. Whoever doesn’t know this it yet, it’s enough to just search and you will find in the Federal Constitution the fundamentals that you need. By all indications, the idea of the 1988 Constitution was to make this a better and more decent country; enough with the laws that address only the dominant classes.

About the Prêmio Afro Sabará statuette!

Journalist and idealizer of the Prêmio Afro Sabará, Etienne Martin, and artist Lúcio Ventania, responsible for designing the sculptures of the prizes
Journalist and idealizer of the Prêmio Afro Sabará, Etiene Martin, and artist Lúcio Ventania, responsible for designing the sculptures of the prizes


In Yoruba, Aboyúm is a pregnant woman and Òmà paths. Bambu is Apàko.

According to Lúcio the statuettes were inspired by the work of Baiano artist Master Didi. “I gave them the name of ABOYUM ÒMÀ which means pregnant woman of paths. In Yorubá Aboyúm means pregnant woman and Òmà paths. I chose a type of bamboo in the Far East known as Buddha’s belly, much used in religious ceremonies in China and Japan. The elemental attribute of this species is the luck and prosperity. I selected pieces with many bellies to represent pregnancy of the many paths of prosperity and luck.”

Source: Minas Sem Censura, Prêmio Afro Sabará

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

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