Thursday, March 23, 2006

Children's festival in South Africa

Bisho Children's Festival

With typical South African 'last minuteness' six of the under thirteen year old capoeira students from Hamburg went on a 5 day trip to Bisho Children's Festival. Piaba took a berimbau and a pandeiro, which we didn't even know he was able to play, and off they set. I have never seen such excitement, and it was a privilege to see how a small trip could trigger such genuine enthusiasm and pleasure.

They had five days of VIP treatment, since the King and Queen of the Mnqhesha Tribe have set up an annual Children's Festival in their home! This is to encourage children to dance, perform and be artistic. Everyday they played capoeira to a large audience. Piaba had a microphone for the berimbau and his voice, and I think that Bamba and Macaco helped with the music also. The twins, Rio and Cobra were there, and Bamba displayed all his acrobatic talents with back-flips, and walking hand-stands.

At the end of their stay they were taken to the local Parliament, a museum, and an airport where they were invited onto a plain. All the children refused this invitation, perhaps because they were frightened that it was a trick, and they seem to be afraid of flying. In the evening they went to the beach, and there was a big barbeque and they ate lots and played even more.

They returned to the village as celebrities amongst their peers, and the six of them had forged such a tight bond. Also, the improvement in their capoeira was wonderful to see. They had earned a new confidence.

They have been invited to attend the next festival in November, when perhaps ten children can go from Abolicao Hamburg. As a result of their performances at the Festival we have been receiving many phone calls from youth organisations all over the Eastern Cape, asking us to facilitate workshops teaching this strange and remarkable sport to other children— and perhaps we will be able to.

By Bailarina

News from Abolicao South Africa

Cape Town Trip

Thanks to the Abolicao Trust four capoeira boys from Hamburg, here in the Eastern Cape, spent a week in Cape Town. They played lots of capoeira, and enjoyed life in a big historical city.

They were invited to a Batizado, or graduation ceremony, by Graduado Beleza of Abada Capoeira. Graduado Beleza has been able to do a lot of community initiative capoeira programs with youth from rural deprived areas, and from prisons and young offender centres. He has been to visit the Abolicao Hamburg Group, and is very enthusiastic about the capoeira that is played here.

The trip allowed the boys to see capoeira in a wider context, with mainly adult students, and a lot of Brazilian capoeiristas. It was impressive to see how the two youngest boys, Besouro and Lampiao were unintimidated by the large size of the capoeira rodas, and were keen to play many games of capoeira in front of crowds of onlookers.

Despite the high quality of the capoeira during the Batizado week, when asked what the highlight of the trip had been, the answer was "the Waterfront", which is a beach facing shopping centre with cafes, and a promenade.

By Bailarina and Xaruto

Monday, March 13, 2006


Friday Night, 10th March 2006; Abolicao meets Synergy...Synergy host a regular monthly club night at S.E. One, a large venue in London Bridge. Due to the classes held at Synergy's community centre in Camberwell, Abolicao were invited to put on a capoeira showat the aforementioned event, led by Negao and involving 17 of Abolicao's finest.. (and Dourado)

After arriving bang-on time in London at Pato and Formiga's flat, the crew got ready and set off for S.E.One at around 12 am. We were initially met with resistance by the venue's own bouncers, who didn't want us providing our own supplies of water. However once this error was negotiated, we were let into the club, and found ourselves in a mysterious place...Under the U.V. lights we had to negotiate crowds of assorted hippies, techno-clubbers, jugglers, performers of all varieties and an array of interesting stalls offering up-to-date information and insights into the world's current major 'green' issues. People talked about climate change, social topics, politics and art; there were singers and rappers, dancers, poets, face-painters and chai-sellers. And us!We were set to perform at 1:45, and after a slight delay we took the floor to follow an amazing stage show by a solo female rapper and a group of singers from south London.We started with a brief introduction to capoeira and the work of the Abolicao Trust by the eloquent Dende, then got straight down to 20 minutes of capoeira as Negao led the roda with his usual high-powered singing to get the crowd hyped!After the first show we proceeded to another 3 areas of the club (each with their own special differences, hosted by separate club promoters). Within a few seconds of our arrival in each place, we were surrounded by a tight throng of captivated watchers, all in various states of awareness but all intrigued and excited. Everyone played really well, and represented Abolicao with top-quality energy and our hallmark grace and power.Finally we were left to our own devices in a space at the entrance to the venue, where we carried on for about 30 minutes (even drawing a couple of extra capoeiristas from the clubbers mass, who joined us for a game or two), before packing down the roda and wandering off into separate regions of this large, colourful indoor festival for our individual adventures (ask Negao for further feedback on his experience of hardcore psychedelic trance..).

We left in two waves, some to head back to Oxford at 7am, others to bundle into Formiga and Pato's flat in Camberwell and sleep like sloths until midday. We woke up, ate hot cross buns, watched Formiga's DV footage of the rodas, looked at some of Gaviao's (as usual) stunning images from the night; then under Dende's expert guidance trekked on to Borough Market for a feast of organic farm food, then on to Camden to dodge more hippies and tire ourselves out again.And that's it. Everone went home, tired but well spent. All in all a colourful event.. Keep your eyes open for digital evidence of the shenanigans. Who's up for next month then?! (joke)

Well done to Pato for organising this event and for Abolicao Oxford members who made this possible. Your efforts are much appreciated !! (Onca Pintada)