By C. Sterling
This article explores how Afro-Brazilians outline their Africanness via Candomblé and Quilombo versions, and build paradigms of blackness with impacts from US-based views, throughout the vectors of public rituals, carnival, drama, poetry, and hip hop.
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Extra info for African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity in Brazil
All evidence details that Francisca was the titular Iyá Nassô and the leader of a Candomblé temple that operated out of a house she owned, in Pelourinho, the center of the city. Living in the area of Santa Ana, she was just a short walk from the Barroquina church, which according to oral history is the locational genesis of Casa Branca. Marcelina was Francisca’s filha de santo [daughter of the saint] or initiate, and is the famous Obá Tossi, who is the officially recorded first Mãe de Santo of the terreiro, in its transition to the area of Engenho Velho da Federação, where it still stands today.
Conflating the terms Candomblé and terreiro, Omari-Tunkara defines them as “quasi-autonomous associations and corporations that possess their own esoteric belief systems, practices, and linguistic forms spoken internally by initiates” (Manipulating 3). Integral to Candomblé’s growth, the terreiro, according to Clyde Taylor, is a “point where the mundane and the secular intersect” (Masks 281). “Politically, the terreiro is a Black territory in a space controlled by White men,” indicates scholar/practitioner Juana Elbien (qtd.
Within the hermeneutical discourse, Shango’s transformation from an individual filled with hubris to a penitent supplicant is interpreted as a metaphorical invocation of the principles of retributive justice. As a deified force, he is called on to bring about justice to any situation (Edwards and Mason 1985; Sangode 1996). Changes in the standing of the divinities then resulted from their use value within a society defined by its oppressive order; for instance, Ochossi, who is a minor orisa among the Yoruba, gains preeminence in his Brazilian incarnation.