In August 2011, I went for some concerts in duo with my friend Chico César, to Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais (Brazil). After that, I went with some friends, to Ouro Preto, located about 1:30 drive from the capital. I particularly wanted to go there because I knew the area, very rich in its time because of the mines contained in its soil, was also a big hub of the slave trade in Brazil, coming mainly from the region of former Kingdom of Kongo. Few people know this, because we are talking more generally about the Yorubas who also inhabited Brazil, the Congo Basin, has also contributed heavily and sadly to form the people of Brazil.
I was deeply moved while walking in the city, I entered the Mine of Chico Rei (I just visited one…) where have suffered and died so many human beings in totally inhumane conditions. The houses of the city are very beautiful and the churches, resplendent and covered with gold, also demonstrate the ability of humans to invent and create beautiful things. But I can not look at these beautiful houses and ignore the fact that in the basements of these so beautiful buildings were stocked and chained in unsanitary and overcrowded cellars , those who carried out the construction of these masterpieces of art baroque, now classified as “World Heritage of Humanity”
What strikes me particularly, beyond the shame that is slavery, and whatever the people who are the victims, it is the general amnesia which then hit the two Congos, regarding those Brazilian who are truly relatives and are constantly in search of their roots.
I was shocked to see that until today, there is absolutely no honor, no mention of the hundreds and hundreds thousands of people who suffered and died, submissed by others.