During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, many West Africans that were being sold off into slavery ended up in Brazil. The unintended consequence of that is Yoruba, the language predominantly spoken in West Africa, was transplanted along with its people.
Centuries later, and that influence is still undeniable. That explains why the federal government of Brazil has decided to recognise Yoruba as an official (foreign) language spoken in the country.
Last weekend, during the fourth edition of the National meetings of the African-Brazilian storytellers, Yoruba culture was celebrated at the region of Quilombola, where many of the early Yoruba victims of the slave trade and their descendants have been located since the 13th century.
The Brazilian minister of culture, Dr Sérgio Sá Leitão at the celebratory weekend said that the government has introduced the compulsory study of African History and Yoruba language into the primary and secondary schools curriculum.
The program tagged “AYO” featured prominent names in African literature, including Prof Wole Soyinka and the first female doctorate degree holder in Yoruba Philosophy, Dr Sophie Oluwole (aka Mamalawo of the University of Ibadan).
Dr. Sá Leitão made it clear at the event that the government will continue to promote the importance of African culture in Brazil, bringing back to Afro-descendants the culture and tradition of the African people.
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