Note from BW of Brazil: Over the weekend the Afro-Brazilian community was shocked by the tragic news that a long-time leader of Movimento Negro (black rights organizations) and Afro-Brazilian religion was brutally murdered in a vicious attack by a deranged man who killed three other people, including his own mother. The motive of the attack has yet to be clarified. Although it cannot be clarified at this time, it is a fact that, for centuries, Afro-Brazilian religions have long been stereotypes and persecuted by Brazilian authorities as well as by the population at large. Another incident from the previous week, while not tragic, was unfortunate as another leader of an Afro-Brazilian religion was verbally abused in a hospital. Condolences go out to the families of those who lost loved ones in this senseless attack. The loss of Yalaorixá Yá Makumby Vilma Santos de Oliveira leaves a tremendous void in the black civil rights movement as well as the religious community. Both stories are below.
Movimento Negro leader and three others stabbed to death in Londrina on Saturday evening
By Alexandre Sanches
In a slaughter recorded on Saturday night (August 3rd), on Olavo Bilaspur street in Jardim Vale Azul, in the west of Londrina (state of Paraná, southern Brazil), the Yalaorixá (1) Yá Makumby Vilma Santos de Oliveira, 63, was murdered in her home with two other people of the family. Moments before, the accused, Diego Ramos Quirino, 30, killed his mother with a knife and tried to kill her companion, identified as Patrícia.
The crime was reported at around 10pm, soon after Quirino had argued with his companion, and left for the aggression. His mother, Ariadne Benck dos Anjos, 48, tried to intervene, but received several stab wounds and died. Then he went after Patrícia, who sought shelter in a neighbor’s house. There, the aggressor, deranged, eventually killed Allial Oliveira dos Santos, 86, Yá Makumby Vila de Oliveira Santos and Olívia Oliveira dos Santos, 10.
After their deaths, he attempted to break into another residence, but was stopped and fled to a street parallel to the crime scene, where he was detained by the military police. At the time of the arrest he was shirtless holding the knife used in the crime.
Yá Makumby was a leader of the black community and the Canbomblé (2) in Londrina.
He was taken to the 10th Police Subdivision of Londrina, where the officer on duty, Willian Douglas Soares, listened to details of the incident. Diego Quirino, however, reserved himself to only answering questions of a personal nature for the qualification, without giving details of the reasons for the killings.
The Yalaorixá Yá Makumby Vilma Santos de Oliveira was a militant of the Movimento Negro (black movement) in Londrina for over 30 years. Well known in social movements, she was one of the militants that fought for the quota system in universities of Londrina. A mãe de santo (3), she was also a leader in the religion of Canbomblé.
The murder of Yá Makumby shook up social movements and social networks, in the early hours and Sunday morning, especially on Facebook. Commenters were disturbed with the brutal way she was killed and also highlighted her work in the struggle for the Movimento Negro in Londrina.
According to information from Acesf, the wake for Allial Santos, Yá Makumbe and Olívia Oliveira was to be held on Elis Regina street in Jardim Ana Eliza, in Cambé (also in the state of Paraná ). The burial was scheduled for yesterday, at 9am in the Jardim da Saudade Cemetery.
The wake of Ariadne dos Anjos is being held in the Igreja Batista do Jardim Bandeirantes (church), on Serra da Tabatinga street. The funeral was to take place on Sunday afternoon at 4pm, in Jardim da Saudade cemetery.
Religious leader victim of prejudice and religious intolerance in a hospital
An event last week shocked the Candomblé community in Salvador (Bahia). The ialorixá Therezinha da Silva, 65, was in the Hospital Roberto Santos, where she sought the doctor whose first name was Raimundo when she said she was insulted by the coordinator of the emergency unit, a woman named Carol. “I was totally mistreated by this woman,” said the religious leader, visibly shaken, to Bahia Notícias (news agency). According to Therezinha, after asking for Raimundo, Carol reported that the professional was not there and asked her to leave the room. From the outside, however, the ialorixá heard the phrase that supposedly caused the problem. “Manda essa negra macumbeira sair da sala, já conheço ela aqui do hospital (Tell this black macumbeira (4) to get out of the room, I already know her here at the hospital,)” she accused. Dismayed by the situation, the elder went to the ombudsman of the unit and was told that “the person [Carol] was nervous and when I needed to talk to the doctor, he was not at the hospital.” Officials of the Roberto Santos Hospital were approached by the team of Bahia Notícias, but declined to comment. “Publish it. Then we will respond,” said spokeswoman Bernadete Farias.
Source: Londrina O Diário, Bahia Notícias
1. Ialaorixá is a priestess and leader of a yard of Candomblé Ketu, popularly known as the mother of a saint. Source
2. Candomblé is an African-originated or Afro-Brazilian religion, practiced mainly in Brazil by the “povo do santo” (people of the saint). It originated in the cities of Salvador, the capital of Bahia, and Cachoeira, at the time one of the main commercial crossroads for the distribution of products and slave trade to other parts of Bahia state in Brazil. Although Candomblé is practiced primarily in Brazil, it is also practiced in other countries in the Americas, including Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama; and in Europe in Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The religion is based in the anima (soul) of the natural environment, and is therefore a kind of Animism. It was developed in Brazil with the knowledge of African Priests who were enslaved and brought to Brazil, together with their mythology, their culture and language, between 1549 and 1888. Source
3. A mãe-de-santo is a priestess of Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religions. In Portuguese those words transtate as “mother of [the] saint[s]”, which is an improper translation from the Yoruba language word iyalorishá, a title given to priest women in African religions. Iyá means mother, and the contraction l’Orishá means “of Orishá”. As a product of the syncretism, the word Orishá (elevated or ancestral spirit) was improperly translated into Portuguese as saint. Source
4. The term “Macumbeira” is a derogatory term used in reference to persons who are thought to practice “Macumba”, which was the name used for all Bantu religious practices mainly by Afro-Brazilians in the northeastern state of Bahia in the 19th Century. “Macumba”, and the term “Macumbeira”, became common in some parts of Brazil and this word is used by most people as a pejorative word meaning “black witchcraft”, although actual practitioners don’t view the term negatively. In some ways, it is equal to saying someone practices “Voodoo” or “Voudoon”, another misunderstood, negatively viewed religion practiced in Haiti. “Macumbeira” is a common used term to slight Afro-Brazilians whether they are actually practitioners of Afro-Brazilian religions or not. See here for other examples.