Quilombo de Sobara

Intangible Cultural Heritage - Araruama


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In the middle of the way, there is a colorful school. From there, a drumming sound can be heard. And a singing in African dialect that reverberates throughout the valley.

Located in the African descent community of Sobara, 18 kilometers distant from downtown Araruama, the municipal school Pastor Alcebíades Ferreira de Mendonça included a class on History of the Black Continent in its curriculum and created, in 2009, a percussion group and a quilombola (resident of a quilombo, a descendant of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from slavery) choir. In all, 65 children are part of the band Batuque Reciclado, performing in festive occasions in the city. They wear robes and turbans and turn paint tins into shakers and tarols (a percussion instrument) or detergent bottles into drums.

Teachers Marcos Antônio Barreto Fraga (percussion) and Ezequias Silva Daniels (choir) built the instruments together with students and organized a contest to compose Sobara's anthem. "It's a melody of pity. It talks about slavery and freedom", Ezequias explains.

"Siabamba", the classic South African anthem, is also mandatory in the band's presentations. It is believed that the first inhabitants of Sobara have come from the Congo. The name of the school unit is a tribute to Pastor Alcebíades, from the Assembly of God (church), who began the missions in the community. Nowadays, most students come from Christian families. "They saw it with displeasure when children waved their hips and associated the turban to another religion. Some parents tried to keep their children from participating in the Batuque. But lack of information is what there was", says Marcos Antônio. 

It is only when they drag their feet to the rhythm of the drums and their singing reverberates their roots that the children let themselves loose. Before visitors, they are silenced. It has been worse. "When I arrived here, they would run away. And look: I'm black! I could barely understand what they said", Ezequias remembers. The work has been worthwhile. "They were embarrassed for their skin, their hair. Today they feel valued for who they are. They represent Brazil", Marcos says.

On the Black Awareness Day, in November, the school is usually open to the public for a ceremony with shows.

General Information

Address: Sobara Road, São Vicente
Phone: (+55 22) 99948-8012 (Andrea Martins)

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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