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By C. Sterling

This article explores how Afro-Brazilians outline their Africanness via Candomblé and Quilombo types, and build paradigms of blackness with affects from US-based views, in the course of the vectors of public rituals, carnival, drama, poetry, and hip hop.

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Extra resources for African Roots, Brazilian Rites: Cultural and National Identity in Brazil

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Candomblê Beginnings and Terreiro Formations Although scholars cannot quite agree on its etymology and meaning, the origination of the term Candomblé points to a Bantu-Kongo matrix and is derived from the term Kandombele (Omari-Tunkara, Manipulating 2; Merrell 16). Harding relays that the term is suggestive of the devotional attitude of the adherents in the practice of the religion (Refugee 45); Omari-Tunkara extends the meaning to encompass the aspects of dance, festivity, and musicality in the rituals (Manipulating 2).

30 He was undoubtedly an important character in the network of relations with Marcelina da Silva, and Lisa Earl Castillo (2011a) speculates that he had a relation of indebtedness to her through the Yoruba iwofa system,31 because archival documents show that Marcelina was involved in the purchasing of his freedom. Castillo (2010a) details multiple journeys of Rodolfo Martins to the Yorubaland and other parts of Brazil. As a Babalowo, his services were in demand not only in the processes of divination but also in creating the opening rituals for Candomblé terreiros, namely, generating their siré.

As the guardian of the Ketu people, his ascendancy can easily be explained by the number of Ketus sold in the transatlantic trade. Yet Ochossi is also the orisa of justice, and his symbol is the bow and arrow. In dance, his devotees join the tips of their fingers to form a triangular arch, patterned after this bow and arrow. When accessed, it is said that he shoots straight to the heart of any matter to correct wrongs and to guarantee his supplicants victory over all malfeasance. Made manifest in the everyday reality of Afro-Brazilians today, the Yoruba nomenclature Araketu [the people of Ketu] is the name given to the popular carnival bloco afro dedicated to Ochossi.

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