Read Your Way Through Salvador

“Read Your Way Around the World” is a series that explores the earth through books.

I was born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, and lived there until I was 15 years old. But it wasn’t until I left that I really understood my city. How could you find out more about where you came from while traveling so far from home? It may sound pretty cliche, but I swear literature has made this possible. It took me back on a long and deep journey, enveloping me in words and imagination.

As a frequent visitor to public libraries, I discovered a book by Jorge Amado. I already knew Amado to some extent, not because I had read his books, but because he was a ubiquitous figure in Salvadoran cultural life. A wonderful love affair began when I stepped into the world of his novels. He has two reasons. I experienced the power of writing in the hands of a competent narrator, one who captivates us and takes us to the heart of the story. And then, because I have people in my community living in his books.

Salvador was Brazil’s first capital, established in 1549 as part of the Portuguese colonial plan in the Americas. Salvador was once home to Europeans, mainly Portuguese and Dutch, and indigenous peoples, especially Tupinamba. Various ethnic groups from Africa also participated, including the Yoruba of Nigerian roots, Benin (former Dahomey), Togo, the Republic of the Congo and the Bantu of Angola. With about 80 percent of Salvador’s current population identifying themselves as Afro-Brazilian, the successors of the African Diaspora have used their spirit and creativity to build the city’s rich and beautiful cultural life, and to make Salvador a better place. made a living monument. To the African culture of the Americas.

To understand the formation of our peculiar society, and consequently the cityscape of Salvador, one must read, first and foremost, the following books: “Rufino’s Story: Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic” By João José Reis, Flávio dos Santos Gomes and Marcus JM de Carvalho. Rufino is alpha, or spiritual leader of Islam, who was born in what is now the Oyo Empire in Nigeria and was enslaved as an adolescent. “Rufino’s Tale” is an epic tale condensing the life of one man’s quest for freedom and the development of Salvador itself, a place closely linked to the diaspora across the Black Atlantic.

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