News & Conflicts

Brazil Adopts Yoruba As One of Its Foreign Languages

The Yoruba people are an ethnic group of southwestern and north-central Nigeria, as well as southern and central Benin at almost 40 million people in total. During transatlantic slave trade which involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas, a small portion of the Yoruba community was transported to countries like Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Brazil. They ended up staying in most of these countries and expanding the culture down to generations who now inhabit the country as full citizens.

Brazilian people over time has been influenced by Yoruba culture centuries later. There is a linguistic influence in Brazilian Portuguese, with such everyday words as ‘ase’ (‘axe’), ‘odun’ (‘festival’) and ‘akaraje’, a bean cake like the akara of Yoruba origin. This latter word also shows how the Yoruba culinary heritage has become part of the nation’s cuisine.

The Brazilian Federal Government established a programme to foster this interest in the culture by introducing the compulsory study of African History and Yoruba language into the primary and secondary schools curriculum. Over the weekend, they also recently adopted it as one of their Foreign languages

The minister spoke at an event where the Institute of African Studies, University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil paraded important dignitaries including Nigerian artists and historians, as well as professors of arts and African studies at a lecture on the importance of Yoruba language in the Brazilian culture and tradition.

Nigerian carnival artist, painter, and illustrator, Adeyinka Olaiya, living in Salvador, Brazil, is like living in any of the western states of Nigeria where the Yoruba are predominantly located.

He said, “Most of the cultures and traditions in evidence in Brazil are all of the heritages brought along to the Latin American country by the majority Yoruba families, victims of the BARCO NEGREIROS, the NEGRO BOAT that forcefully brought the enslaved West Africans to Brazil in the 13th century.

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