Brazil celebrates 125 years without slavery, or does it?

The 13th of May this year it was exactly 125 years since the "Lei Áurea" (The golden law) was signed by Princess Isabel in 1888. Slavery was thereby declared abolished in Brazil.

Since I am currently living here I thought it would be a great experience to see how Brazil celebrates this day, but I ran into some obstacles along the way. 

First of all, it was very difficult to even find an event. In my mind I had pictured a big parade but the only event I could find was at UERJ, the state university of Rio de Janeiro. Secondly it was even more difficult to find the precise location of the event when I arrived at the university. Neither the students nor the teachers had even heard about it. Finally, with a lot of help, I found it and to my disappointment there were only between 20-40 people attending.  
The event consisted of a demonstration of an afro-Brazilian folk dance and a panel discussion about education, racism and affirmative action.

Furthermore the media had almost no focus on this historical day, and the people did not seem to care at all. 

Even though my expectations was let down, the day was fun, and informative. One could have hoped for more excitement from the Brazilian people. Within a country so full of afro-Brazilian culture, it is a shame that they did not exploit the day in a city such as Rio de Janeiro.

Written by Isabella Skou


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