The time and turn for Brazil to return to Africa – 05/25/2023 – Guia Negro
On May 25, 2023, when the 60th anniversary of the African Union is celebrated, on the date baptized as Africa Day, I am sure: this is the time and turn for Brazil and its black diaspora to return to Africa. We have a favorable environment of growing racial awareness, the return of direct flights to African countries and a government policy that looks to the 54 countries of the mother continent as potential business partners.
On the other hand, the abyss in relation to Africa is gigantic. The amount of information that arrives in Brazil is one of those reflections of structural racism that is little talked about. After all, why don’t the big vehicles maintain correspondents on the continent and prioritize information about them? With so little data, it is natural to sell a stereotyped and summarized place as if it were just a country.
Brazil sends its telenovelas and missionaries from Pentecostal churches, but does not receive the same range of information back. At the same time, the number of African migrants is growing in cities like São Paulo, which saw the region of the Republic, in the center, become a little Africa.
Commemorative dates also serve to give visibility to urgent issues. And this May 25 marks a series of events. Among them, the 11th edition, Festival Back2Black (B2B) in Rio, between today (25) and Saturday (27), with artists from different rhythms of the continent; the Festival Musiques D’afrique, which from Tuesday (23) until tomorrow (26), occupies Largo Paissandu, in São Paulo, with music, performance, dance and poetry.
Africa Fashion Week, already taking place in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, will launch its Brazilian version, AFWB, between today (25) and Saturday (27) with fashion shows and a series of business roundtables at Expo Center Norte, in São Paulo.
In tourism, we had the “year of return” promoted by Ghana in 2019, which encouraged people from the African diaspora to return to the country. The success was such that the country tried to repeat the action in 2020, the year in which the pandemic paralyzed the flow of tourists worldwide. Before Covid-19, the number of weekly flights to South Africa, for example, reached 12 and were reduced to zero from April 2020.
Now, Latam has announced that it will return with 3 weekly flights starting in September and there are advanced negotiations on the return of the South African Airways flight. In the first three months of 2020, shortly before the start of the pandemic, more than 25,000 Brazilian tourists went to South Africa, making it the fifth largest market for sending tourists to the country, according to the agency that promotes the destination here, the Discover South Africa.
The conversion from the real to the rand, the South African currency, is one of the attractions of the country, which, in 2024, will also celebrate 30 years of democracy, with actions that recall the end of Apartheid.
The promotion agency sees the return of direct flights with optimism and points to the dynamism of South Africa, which offers nature, gastronomy, culture, history, exchange, as well as unforgettable safaris. “There are a multitude of connections that can be made with the return of the flight, from the most obvious to the increase in business done between the two countries, with the help of the BRICS. In addition, we believe that there will be a significant increase in cultural connections , including visual arts, music, fashion, gastronomy,” says Discover South Africa.
The trade balance between Brazil and the African continent was US$ 15.911 billion, around R$ 80 billion in 2021. In 2022, the Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex) reported that from January to October, the balance had been of US$ 17.254 billion, an increase of 36.9% compared to the same period of the previous year.
There is also the arrival of new flights connecting São Paulo to Cairo, without connections and the president of Embratur, Marcelo Freixo, said in a meeting with the afrotourism sector, in April, that new air routes with the African continent will be reopened. “The Brazilian government is negotiating the resumption of flights to South Africa and Angola, a country with which it should also build afrotourism routes,” he informed.
In addition, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is due to make his first trip to the continent in June, when he will visit Congo, at a meeting on tropical forests, and also intends to travel to South Africa, Mozambique and Angola.
Another point of connection with the continent is the DNA tests, which discover African ancestry, making Brazilians return to the places where their ancestors lived. Brafrika Viagens is one of the pioneers in the subject and promotes encounters, cultures and connections never before imagined by Brazilians from the African diaspora.
All this shows that we are thirsty for Africa and we want to know and connect more. The dream of stepping on African soil is becoming more and more possible and that this Africa Day can seal a return to our ancestry, aiming at a future with more culture and valued black stories.
Long live the mother continent!