Olga de Aleketu, 80, Afro-Brazilian Priestess, dies

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Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 11:53 am

Olga de Aleketu, 80, Afro-Brazilian Priestess, dies

Post by Jonas » Tue Oct 04, 2005 2:10 pm

Olga de Aleketu, 80, Afro-Brazilian Priestess, dies
By the Associated Press
Published October 4, 2005

[quote]RIO DE JANEIRO, OCT 3 (AP)-Olga de Alaketu, the high priestess of one of the oldest temples of the afro-Brazilian religion CANDOMBLE, died here on Thursday. She was 80.
The cause was complications of diabetes, officials of the Sagrada Familia hospital said.

Ms Alaketu presided over the ILE MAROIA LAJI terreiro, as Candomble temples are known. It was established in 1636 making it one of the oldest in the coastal city of Salvador da Bahia, where the religion is based.

Her temple was frequented by prominent figures, including the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado and the French anthropologist Pierre Verger. Earlier this year, the temple w
as declared a national heritage site by the Culture Ministry.

Candomble is an animist religion brought over with the African slaves, mostly from Nigeria and Benin. Followers incorporate spirits in ceremonies filled with music and dancing that often last throughout the night. The ceremonies can also involve animal sacrifices.

"In the last 40 years, we can consider Mother Olga as the greatest proponent of the religion of the Orixas in all Brazil" said Gilberto Gil, the popular singer who serves as culture minister, at the ceremony declaring the temple a national heritage site.

Historians said Ms Alaketu, whose name was sometimes spelled Alaketo, was a fifth generation descendant of the royal family of ARO, from present day Benin. Her family members were brought to Brazil as slaves and were instrumental in establishing Candomble in Brazil.

For many years Candomble was banned in Brazil and its followers practiced their religion by worshiping the Orixas-the Gods of their African ancesto
rs-disguised as Catholic saints. The sea goddess Iemanja, for instance, became the Virgin Mary.

In the 1980's, spurred by a growing black pride movement, Candomble moved to distance itself from Catholicism, eliminating the saints and worshiping the Orixas directly.

Information was not immediately available regarding survivors, although Brazilian news organizations reported that her eldest daughter would assume leadership of the Temple [/quote]

Posts: 238
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2003 11:53 am

Post by Jonas » Wed Oct 19, 2005 3:45 pm

"I can't just help wonder when Haiti's vodou will have such an international appeal"

The Haitians themselves would have to start to accord a certain amount of respect to their ancestral religion.

You know, certain quarters in Haiti continue to equate the religion with devil worshipping.
With what proof, nobody knows.
In Brazil, there is a de facto cease fire between the African religions and Catholicism, just to slow down the rise of Christian fundamentalism considered Unbrazilian by many.

Contrarily to what is written in the article, there was always a certain tolerance towards the African religions in Brazil.
One of the reasons is, the Portuguese were accostumed to the presence of Africans in their country.
The African occupiers of the Iberian Peninsula were Muslims.
Some of these muslims, from South of the Sahara, while they were worshipping ALLAH, were not averse to some pra

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