Wednesday, July 9, 2014 3:36 pm
Taiwo Adelu/Sao Paulo
For the winners of ‘Let’s Go To Brazil’, a promo of DStv, for its subscribers to witness the sights and sounds of Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a visit to The Museu Afro Brazil in Sao Paulo was an experience they would savour for a very long time.MultiChoice, Nigeria’s leading provider of premium pay-TV on the DStv, GOtv, mobile and online platforms, recently flew the lucky 60 winners of the promo to Brazil for an all-expense-paid experience. Prior to the visit to The Museu Afro Brazil, the delegation, led by Mr. Martin Mabutho, the General Manager, Marketing and Retention, MultiChoice Nigeria, arrived Sao Paulo, the world’s ninth largest city by population, aboard an Air Asia aircraft on Saturday, 21 June and were well received by the officials of Wakanow.com, a Nigerian travel and tours agency, which was saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the delegation in Brazil.
With accommodation provided at Ibis Congonhas and Ibis Interlagos, three-star hotels, the delegation, which comprised men and women, began their stay in Sao Paulo with a dinner, courtesy of their host, Wakanow.com.
The five days in Brazil would however remain an unforgettable experience for the Nigerians. They visited The Museu Afro Brazil at Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, an edifice where historical monuments of Africa are preserved for modern Afro Brazilians to see and for them to appreciate their origin.
Excitement could be seen in the eyes of the Let’s Go To Brazil delegation when they were taken round the museum that contains over 6,000 works highlighting the importance of African people in the formation of Brazilian culture, heritage and identity as known today, and offers a celebration of the art and accomplishments of the Africans and Afro-Brazilians.The collection encompasses several facets of African and African-Brazilian culture, covering topics such as religion, the work, the art, the African diaspora and slavery, and recording the historical trajectory and African influences in the construction of Brazilian society.
An official of the museum, Eduardo Thiago, told TheNEWS that the museum reminds black Brazilians of their past and gives them the motivation and vision to fight for their rights in a society where one form of inequality or the other still exists.
“Let me tell you something that is known of the blacks here; they are hardworking and brave. This is one of the reasons you see Brazil national team containing more black players than the whites. This is because of the poor background and environment which the blacks live and the environment gives room for the children to take to football early in life. In this poor environment, we have different kinds of playground at the neighbourhood and on streets,” Thiago said.
The Museu Afro Brazil explores the contribution of the black man in Brazil through three strands: memory, history and art. There are works of ritual, magical and religious – representations of gods and other divine entities, maternal figures linked to fertility rituals, statues invested with healing power.
Another staff, a lady, Curtia Domingos, conducted the delegation through a section of the museum where sculptures and photographs of clothing and altars dating from the colonial period to the present day are preserved.
There are various statuettes of Yemanja, Ibeji and ritual objects of deities such as Shango which were brought to Brazil by the Yoruba slaves.
Miss Domingo told the delegation to their amazement that she worships Osun, as she and her family believe the goddess of Osun is protecting them.
“I’m not practising any religion apart from Osun. I believe in Osun and I worship the goddess,” she said. When asked how she came to know of Osun who originated from Nigeria, Domingo replied: “This was a goddess whom my forefathers worshiped and she was the only god I knew since I was born.”
She told the magazine that she would be on top of the world if she could have the opportunity of coming to Nigeria to see where Osun deity originated. “It will be a dream come true for me because I only read of the origin of Osun in literature.” Domingo also took the Nigerian delegation to a dark room in the museum where a canoe made of wood, which was used to transport African slaves to Brazil, is being kept. “Brazil received a lot of slaves from Africa many years ago and I understood through research that many of these slaves came from Nigeria. That is why you could see that these Nigerian slaves took with them their culture and religions which invariably have become part of our lives today.”
According to research, about five millions African slaves were transported to Brazil during the slave trade period. Over the years, there have been important black people in Brazilian history, cutting across the fields of engineering, law, acting, soccer and others. “Most Brazilians today have African blood in them. Half of the 200 million population of Brazil today is black. Unfortunately for the blacks however, the problem of slavery has not been totally solved in Brazil, as we still have one form of discrimination or the other. It is so sad that majority of the blacks are poor,” Domingos said.
With rapt attention, the DStv delegation listened to the lecture of Miss Domingos and were so happy learning few things about African Brazil through her.
“This is quite interesting,” said Alhaji Sani, who hails from Taraba State. To Martins Mabuto, Manager, Marketing and Retention, MultiChoice Nigeria, “We deemed it fit to bring 60 out of our numerous subscribers to come to Brazil during the FIFA World Cup. This trip is basically a tour of Brazil and more importantly, for our subscribers to have sightseeing and sounds of the Samba country during the world’s biggest football showpiece, the 20th edition of FIFA World Cup.”