Archive for Brazilian

Capoeira of Brazil

Posted in CULTURE, HISTORY, South America with tags , , on June 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Capoeira was created more than 400 years ago by enslaved Africans from Angola who were brought to Brazil. Capoeira was a means of defense from the violent enslavers. It was formed to disguise their training as mere singing and dancing. They incorporated music, dance and flexible movements into combat theories. It used techniques brought from African such as call and response in songs that inspired freedom and gave tribute to their homeland. They also used instruments brought from Africa such as the tambourine (pandeiro), bells (agogo), and the berimbau.

Training took place in the middle of a circle (roda). Two capoeiristas would practice at a time so to further the disguise of dancing. The mask used indirect contact and non-threatening moves because slaves were not allowed to show any aggression. Thus, slaves learned the art of maladro, or trickery.

Capoeira was used for revolts against slavery. It was taught to men, women, and children alike. In 1892, Capoeira was outlawed in Brazil. Teaching, practicing, or using capoeira was severely punished. In the spirit that kept capoeira alive for 400 years, it became a underground movement. Capoeiristas took on nicknames that were descriptive of their style or body type. Rodas  were practiced in concealed places.

In 1937, Capoeira was legalized for promotion as a Brazilian sport. Today, Capoeira is a popular form of martial arts for the young and old, men and women. It is practiced all over the world. It has been incorporated into popular dance, it seen in television and movies.

Did You Know . . .

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, South America with tags , , , on March 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

I write a HubPages, hub, I call Did you know . . . On there I highlight parts of African American history that has been left out of classroom American history books. This is something else that has been “conspicuously absent from view.”

Did you know that . . . Brazil has the largest population of African descendants in the Western Hemisphere? Brazil’s population of 60 million African descendants, are only second to the real thing of Nigeria’s population of 115 million Africans.

Brazil was one of the destinations of ships carrying African captives. Here it was Portuguese colonizers invading the native Brazilian population. Brazil’s history includes its own “melting pot” party line. Race and racism is not defined the same as in the United States. Many people define themselves with descriptions based on color such as Light Tan, Yellow-Brown, Black, and White. Among those who refer to themselves as white, are those who have enough African ancestry to be called Black in the United States (roughly 80 million). Census in Brazil has over 100 categories of color.

African descendants in Brazil, although are huge in numbers, take a low profile in the nation. Stars like Pele, World Cup soccer champion, Gilberto Gil, musician, and samba dancers of the Carnival celebration are front and center in the national profile. Political and commercial profiles (including television and print ads) of the country are missing of the African descent population. This is something that makes you say umm.

Austin Capoeira Foundation

Posted in CULTURE, North America, South America, Spotlight with tags , , , , on January 20, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

“joga bonito que nós queremos ver”

Austin Capoeira Foundation, ACF, is a nonprofit organization founded by Seitu Beck, also known as Instructor Feijᾶo. ACF is focused on developing an awareness of Brazilian culture by providing affordable instruction of various arts. Capoeira is an African Brazilian art that combines martial arts and music with dance. ACF teaches Capoeira Luanda, a form of Capoeira that was created in 2007 by Mestre Jelon Vieira.  Mestre Jelon is a world renowned master and teacher from Bahia, Brazil. Instructor Feijᾶo began his training under the instruction of Mestre Jelon’s nephew, Professor Lalo. Instructor Feijao also teaches Samba and African Brazilian percussion.  ACF holds Capoeira classes for both students and adults on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, from 7pm to 9pm. Saturday, music classes are held from 1pm to 2pm and 2pm to 4pm for Capoeira. All classes are located at the Pan Am Recreation Center, 2100 East 3rd St., Austin, Texas. Joga bonito que nόs queremos is Portuguese and roughly translate to we want to see it played beautifully. Austin Capoeira Foundation is in the Spotlight.

Find out more about the Austin Capoeira Foundation at

Photo by Ming Gong