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Angolan Monarch Visits Brazilian Community of Slave Descendants

On Wednesday, the King of the Bailundo Kingdom in Angola paid a visit to a village descended from self-escaped slaves on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro as part of a three-week journey to Brazil.

Residents chanted and danced as they greeted King Tchongolola Tchongonga Ekuikui VI of Angola, where many of the residents trace their origin.

Camorim, the area’s oldest “quilombo,” or colony of fugitive slaves, dates back to 1614 when it was forested territory. Today, about a hundred people reside there, preserving their traditional religion, medicinal herbs, and an ancient site.

They celebrated the visit of the King who kicked off a Brazil trip during whih he’s met with the Angolan diaspora.

“Receiving the visit of the King reminds us of this glorious and pretty past, we are not slaves, we were enslaved, descendent of kings and queens, and we have this in our veins,” biologist and nurse Marilene Lopes de Jesus said.

“For me, he brings hope for the unity of our people because for a long time we were disjointed and disunited. And with the presence of the King saying that we are all part of the same family, that we are kings and queens, descendants of kings and queens, this strengthens us for our everyday fight,” student Erik da Silva Santos doubled down.

King Ekuikui VI is the most significant king in his country, representing the largest Angolan ethnic group, the Ovimbundu peoples. While Bailundo is not a sovereign kingdom, he has political clout and is frequently consulted by Angolan officials.

On Tuesday (Nov. 7), the monarch paid a visit to Rio’s Valongo Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where up to 900,000 slaves made landfall after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and is regarded as “the most important physical trace of the arrival of African slaves on the American continent.”

According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, more than a third of the 10.5 million abducted Africans disembarked in Brazil. Some scholars estimate that as many as five million Africans arrived in the country.

And, in 1888, Brazil was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery. Communities of formerly enslaved people survived, but it took a century for a new constitution to acknowledge their title to the lands they occupied.

The most recent census revealed quilombos in about 1,700 towns, home to 1.3 million people in a country of about 203 million.

Written by PH

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