The Brazilian government has given Yoruba a place with the other foreign languages its indigenes speak.
The Brazilian minister of culture, Dr. Sergio Sa Leitao has also introduced the compulsory study of African history and Yoruba language into the primary and secondary schools’ curriculum. He spoke at an event at the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil on the importance of Yoruba language in the Brazilian culture and tradition. The Institute of African studies paraded important dignitaries during the lecture including Nigerian artists and historians, as well as professors of arts and African Studies.
According to the Minister, the inclusion of African History and Yoruba Language in the curriculum would help bring the closeness of the African Brazilian people to their roots and thus encourage the understandings of the language among other important languages in Brazil apart from Portuguese which is the official language.
The minister also mentioned the role Brazil played during the festival of arts and culture, ‘FESTAC 77’, held in Lagos Nigeria, in 1977; the constant intercultural programmes between Nigeria and Brazil; the annual carnival of arts, music and cultural displays featuring prominent African artists and Yoruba writers such as Yinka Shonibare, Adeyinka Olaiya, El Anatsui among many others, including the highly respected Yoruba writer, Professor Wande Abimbola.
Also speaking at the event was Peruvian Nobel laureate, Prof Mário Vargas, he said the Yoruba language should no longer be approached as an ethnic language but a universal language that is alive in culture and tradition of the Africans and her roots around the universe.
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, with the majority of its population from Nigeria, making up 21% of the country’s population according to the CIA World Factbook. Yoruba people originated from Ile-Ife, and became popular by their trading with the Portuguese.
According to 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.”
Who else is excited about this great news? Yoruba is global now.