Note from BW of Brazil: In November, between 300-400 cities throughout Brazil celebrate the Month of Black Consciousness and recently one of the most well-known facets of Afro-Brazilian Culture celebrated an historic moment in a northeastern city. Capoeira is a martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music developed in Brazil mainly by African descendants with native Brazilian influences, sometime in the 16th century (Source). Today, all over Brazil, as well as several countries around the world, in rodas de capoeira (capoeira circles) led by mestres (capoeira masters) to the sounds of the berimbau (single-stringed percussion instrument), the art form is one of the most recognizable symbols of Brazilian culture. After around five centuries, including periods in which the style was outlawed, the practice of the sport continues its popularity among practitioners of various age groups and both genders. Recently, the popularity of the sport made it into the record books as it continues to prove its relevance in Brazilian culture.
City of Campina Grande sets record for biggest student capoeira circle in Brazil
Courtesy of Agora Esportes
In the month that celebrates the National Day of Black Consciousness, Campina Grande (city in the northeastern state of Paraíba) (1) entered history in one of the expressions of Afro-Brazilian culture, with the formation of the biggest student roda de capoeira (capoeira circle) student in Brazil.
The record was confirmed by the company Ranking Brasil – Recordes Brasileiros, on the morning of Thursday the 06 during collective aulão (large class) in Parque do Povo (People’s Park), conducted with municipal students of “Capoeira nas Escolas” (Capoeira in the Schools) project. The record was recorded with the mark of 2,807 kids practicing capoeira kids in the school universe.
For Secretary of Education of Campina Grande, teacher Iolanda Barbosa, reaching that mark is of strategic importance in favor of plural political-pedagogical project committed to compliance with law 10.639 that determines the basic education curriculum to include Afro-Brazilian culture and history.
“The presence of capoeira in the school becomes a priority because it is within a perspective of a multicultural political-pedagogical project that includes education as a product of human culture and various cultures. Recalling that literacy is another one, but it needs to have within it all the cultural matrices that represent the people that are the builder of this culture,” she argued.
Developing this relationship of belonging among children through the “Capoeira in Schools” project has generated results, such as reducing truancy.
“When we started we had the idea of reducing racism and, over time, we perceive a decrease in violence and evasion,” said the project coordinator, Professor Rosenberg Pequeno, also called Mestre Pequeno (Little Master).
The evaluation of the project coordinator is shared by other teachers and also by children. “The boys love it and the girls also always participate. Still we had a reduction of violence,” said Physical Education teacher Catarina Maria de Almeida.
The idea of respect for the other and the different is a grassroots project, which has been internalized by the children. “I learned not to enter the world of crime and that racism does not make sense because if you cut a black it will have the same blood as the white,” said the 4th grade student Jonatan Sousa, 10, of the Escola Municipal Drª Helena Henriques (Dr. Helena Henriques Municipal School) of Palmeira.
Currently, the “Capoeira in Schools” project is in 120 school units in the network in urban and rural areas and also in 7 kindergartens, involving 32 professionals from nine different groups of capoeira. “Children become and have the opportunity to know Afro-Brazilian culture. That’s gratifying,” says the professor of capoeira Luciene da Silva, who teaches classes in four schools.
Supported by the Instituto Alpargatas with the logistics of uniforms and transportation, the project serves, according to the coordinator, 3,600 children from preschool to fifth grade of elementary school.
Besides the benefits, Mestre Pequeno says he still encounters resistance and prejudice against capoeira, particularly from some parents who associate the modality to religions of African origin. However, much of the country supports the project. “It is a sport that helps in education,” says Adelma dos Santos, mother of a student.
Project could be national model
The goal of the Municipality to achieve the record in the capoeira class is related to visibility, national recognition and strengthening of the project.
The Secretary of Education of Campina Grande, Iolanda Barbosa, was this week in Brasília gathered with representatives of the Secretaria de Promoção da Igualdade e da Secretaria de Inclusão e Diversidade (Secretariat for the Promotion of Equality and the Department of Inclusion and Diversity), agreeing that the “Capoeira in Schools” program will gain national dimension and its own financing.
Iolanda revealed that she brought from Brasília educational courseware to work in the training of teachers so that they become multipliers of direct confrontation of racism at school.
“Capoeira is already present, but it’s still not enough. Racial education is extremely important for an education based on human rights and national heritage,” she said.
Iolanda highlighted the gains that the municipal network has gained with the project. “We perceive greater tolerance towards differences, the understanding of as something of a constituency of humans, the reduction of prejudice and bullying in school. That’s because the kids are understanding this diversity of which they are part,” she said.
Source: Agora Esportes
1. Campina Grande (Portuguese for “Great Plain”) is the second most populous Brazilian city in the State of Paraíba after João Pessoa, the capital. It is considered to be the most important city of the Northeastern Brazilian subregion called agreste. It is considered one of the main industrial, technological and educational centers in the northeastern region of Brazil. The city was officially founded in 1864. Campina Grande also has a large cultural agenda, including the world’s largest Saint John’s Festival (called O Maior São João do Mundo), which takes place during the entire month of June. Source