Teaching of African History in Brazil's Schools Highlights Resistance and Afro Culture

Implementation of law that made the subject compulsory in the school curriculum is still irregular

São Paulo

These dolls come alive at night, send letters to the children, and at the end of the year, go on vacation to return with new objects.

The Abayomi family dolls are at the center of the pedagogical work of the Nelson Mandela municipal school in Limão (northern SP), which serves children from 4 to 6 years old. The father, Azizi, is an African prince. The mother, Sofia, is his wife and white.

Mandela students. (Foto: Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress, COTIDIANO)***EXCLUSIVO****

The couple has two mixed children, one lighter in color and one darker in color.

From their story, built together with the children, the school addresses various themes related to ethnic-racial issues, such as racism, the biological explanation for the difference in skin color, and others.

The school has transformed its curriculum since the sanction of the law that made the teaching of Afro-Brazilian history and culture compulsory.

Sixteen years after the legislation came into force, the implementation of the measure is still irregular by the country.

In analyzing the education plans of all states and a sample of municipalities in the country for a publication by the National Education Council (CNE) of 2018, social scientist Edilene Machado Pereira, PhD by UNESP (Universidade Estadual Paulista), found that State plans include the provisions of the law, with actions that enable effective implementation, such as training of teachers and production of teaching material.

In municipal plans, there is often mention of the law, but without recommendations to make it effective.

Schools that effectively talk about Afro-Brazilian history go beyond slavery and emphasize not only oppression but also the resistance of blacks. 

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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