The city of Fortaleza, in Brazil, took part at the circuit of the celebrations for the International Day of Nelson Mandela this July 18th, a date that honors the South African leader. Mandela Day in Fortaleza brought together lots of activities including movie session, lectures, workshop, folklorical presentations and an Afro-Brazilian food market, all carried out in different facilities at Iracema Beach, one of the most famous touristic areas of Fortaleza. All activities were free and open to the public.
The program was organized in a partnership between Brazil Africa Institute and Fortaleza City Hall. Brazil Africa Institute has already brought to Fortaleza the exhibition “Mandela: From Prisoner to President” from the Apartheid Museum. The exhibition was launched with the presence of the Ambassador of South Africa to Brazil, Joseph Mashymbie, and the director of the Apartheid Museum, Christopher Till, and runs through to July 30 at Dragão do Mar Cultural Center.
Fortaleza was the only Brazilian city to host activities as part of the official Mandela Day celebration, an initiative of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Movie session – Invictus
Mandela Day Fortaleza started with a movie session at Belchior Cultural Center. Around 45 young people had the chance to watch the movie Invictus. After the film Professor José Hilário Ferreira Sobrinho – Master’s degree in History – led a talk with the group about Mandela’s life and legacy.
Workshop – Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil
Professor Abena Busia, Ambassador of Ghana to Brazil, gave the workshop “Black History through Poetry: Mandela and Diasporic Memory” to a full auditorium at Dragão do Mar Cultural Center. Ambassador Busia is a recognized author of many publications and poems related with Black History and diaspora.
Open talk – Mandela’s Legacy
The President of the Brazil Africa Institute, Professor João Bosco Monte, and Professor Vera Regina Rodrigues da Silva, PhD in Anthropology, held an open talk about Mandela’s Legacy and challenges faced nowadays worldwide. The talk was attended by researches, college students and members of many human rights associations.
One of the most symbolic cultural icons in Fortaleza is the Maracatu, an ancient kind of artistic performance that has its origins in the period of slavery in Brazil’s Northeast region. Maracatu groups mix dance and music to make alive the history of the black people. The parade ran all along the sidewalk of the Iracema Beach and marked the strong connection between Brazilians and African people.
Afro-Brazilian food market, human vaccination and pet adoption
People had the chance to taste some of the traditional flavors from different Brazilian regions that have their roots in African culinary, like acarajé, a very popular savory deep fried dough made with beans.
An animal welfare group carried out a pet adoption fair helping to find new homes for many dogs and cats.
Fortaleza City Hall also provided free human vaccination service and awareness of the prevention of contagious diseases.
Solidarity beauty initiative
Beauty professionals worked together to provide 67 minutes of free haircuts and makeups for women.