Writing in cyberspace, it’s easy to forget that your words are available to the world. We recently reached out to one of our regular followers and learned that we were receiving much love from Brazil. We decided to show our gratitude to “fejapimienta” and learn what his name meant, how he found our blog and why he kept coming back. Here Fernando shares his thoughts on Brazil’s African heritage, diversity and social justice.
Your blog is just amazing. When I landed on it by accident I just thought: Wow! I didn’t even know African people got together to reveal a rich portion of their culture multilaterally, to show us online readers many many beauties of such a vast and diverse land!!
So, fejapimenta is the fusion of my surnames. My entire name stands for Fernando Januário Pimenta, and in Portuguese, my native language (as I am Brazilian, of almost completely Portuguese descent, but with a few black grand-grand-grand relatives in the blood line), “fejapimenta” can be read by a curious mind as “feijão (com) pimenta” which could be precisely translated as “bean[s] (with) pepper”.
You must know that here in Brazil we have very deep-rooted African cultural manifestations, especially in the estate of Bahia, but widespread in almost all other estates as well. Capoeira (fighting), umbanda, candomblé (religions), feijoada, acarajé, vatapá (the most delicious Brazilian food is African in its roots!), cachaça/pinga/aguardente (the word with the greatest possible number of synonymns in the Portugues language… they exist by the dozens!!) (–>a very alcoholic [40 GL] beverage derived from the sugarcane, originally produced by enslaved African people brought in cargo ships during the years of 1532 until 1888), samba/carnaval (music, festivity), and a dense and superb folklore, full of myths, proverbs, and jokes, are just a few of the most known examples and I, by the way, am very interested in knowing about them. We have many many words whose origin is iorubá, and several others directly linked to African languages and linguistic branches.
Here in Brazil it is a very common phenomenon for middle and lower class white people who study in public schools (unfortunately, but truthfully, recognized here as an educational failure) to have black friends, and vice-versa. As it happens, I myself am middle-class, and as I am sort of broad-minded for acquiring every kind of knowledge about the world and all its beauties, I happen to know and be friends with many black folks.
There are racist people in Brazil, as they exist practically anywhere. As there are xenophobic and close-minded people and fanatics and hooligans throughout the entire globe – let’s exclude the Eskimos and indigenous peoples (laugh 🙂 ) whose “social contracts” don’t tolerate by any means such examples of transgression of essential social values, of inclusion, of a person’s intrinsic worthiness as a human being.
So, I liked very much your blog. It supports diversity, and diversity is what makes the world so beautiful. It is a shame there are so many people who can’t comprehend it.
If we live in loneliness it is mainly because we never learned to communicate with our neighbour’s! All the time they could have shown a new world and brand new perspectives of life to us!
Thank you for asking! It’s jolly good to have a voice! I appreciate your work, it is fundamental for a pluralistic world to breathe free of moral restraints and hateful biases!
Visit Fernando’s blog at http://fejapimenta.blogspot.com/.