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  • Iêê Capoeira

    Fabíola Ortiz / Photographs by Flavio Forner

    An immersion in the universe of Capoeira as an instrument for the promotion of peace in conflict areas in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Ancestry. Reconnection. Afrocentricity.

    Capoeira evokes these concepts. It is one of the ancestral elements of the black diaspora that is reconnecting Brazil and Africa.

    “Iê Capoeira!”, greet the capoeiristas (practitioners of the art) at the beginning of each session.

    The older ones, who already know the ritual, teach the young ones how to behave in the circle and encourage them to try the first movements of Capoeira, the ginga (a particular swing from side to side, to try to deceive the opponent). This is a nonviolent fight.

    The first thing to do before warming up is tidying up the space. Sweeping the floor, leaving the shoes in the corner of the room, and then greeting the teachers, asking for permission to enter the circle.
    This rite creates discipline, respect, and a sense of collectivity, explains Master Saudade.

    “Follow the rhythm dictated by the berimbau. We should not accelerate. We are all brothers here”, he announces.

    In his point of view, Capoeira can help promote a lasting peace.

    “We want to convey a positive message to the world and say that Congo no longer wants to be in conflict.”

    The class starts. “Formation”, indicates the Master, mixing words in Portuguese and French.

    “Filles et garçons, girls and boys “, says the Master, showing that the formation of the circle should have interleaved children.

    “You must control the body’s movements in space, understood? Si si si or non non non?”, he asks out loud.

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