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Oct 26 2011

2008 – Plan for Safeguarding Capoeira

Source: Revista de Historia
Translation into English by Shayna McHugh

IPHAN’s Plan for Safeguarding Capoeira proposes measures to improve the situation of mestres and guarantee the continuation of their knowledge.

1) Recognition of the famous knowledge of capoeira mestres by the Ministry of Education

We hope that the official recognition of capoeira knowledge as a cultural inheritance of Brazil will help unlink it from the Federal Council of Physical Education, to which capoeira is currently subject. It is understood that the knowledge of mestres has no formal or professional equivalent in Physical Education, but rather is established as an archive of Brazilian popular culture. The proposal aims to help capoeira mestres who possess knowledge but no formal education to be able to teach capoeira in schools and universities.

2) Plan of special provision for old capoeira mestres

Considering the history of important mestres, such as Bimba and Pastinha, who died with serious financial difficulties, we suggest the creation of a special plan (together with Social Security) for mestres over 60 years old who have had difficulties in contributing to the fund through the years. Since this addresses an emergency situation – aiming to help the mestres who currently live in a state of extreme poverty – we recommend that this proposal be implemented immediately and continue until future mestres no longer need this provision plan.

3) Establishment of a World Capoeira Incentive Program

Another important point concerns the difficulty faced by mestres who travel to other countries where they are invited to teach capoeira. We hope that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can add capoeira to its list of supported programs for spreading Brazilian culture – thus facilitating the travel of mestres and groups that offer capoeira classes and perform rodas outside of Brazil.

4) Creation of a National Center of Reference for Capoeira

The creation of a National Center of Reference for Capoeira is proposed. This Center would be virtual, multidisciplinary, and multi-media, with the goal of gathering together scientific, academic, and audiovisual productions, among others. We hope that this initiative would facilitate research among the existing materials about capoeira.

5) Plan for managing biriba and other resources

Nowadays, there is a large and growing market for capoeira products. Many of these are made by hand, using the native vegetation of Brazil. Biriba – the wood traditionally used to make berimbaus – is the most frequently utilized, but there are other types of wood in the Atlantic Rainforest that are threatened with extinction, such as pau d’arco, pitomba, and tauarí, among many others. We suggest the creation of a plan for managing the consumption of these native species, in order to help manage the increasing demand of natural resources for the making of berimbaus and other instruments.

6) Capoeira Forum

The objective of this forum is to stimulate regular gatherings of mestres and capoeira scholars, in partnership with universities. It is well-known that some mestres possess academic training, but this is not the case for the majority. This plan aims to integrate oral tradition with the environment of academic research.

7) Archive of Life Stories of Capoeira Mestres

With the creation of this archive, the oral histories of mestres would be recorded for capoeiristas who are interested in preserving the life stories of the old mestres. The objective of this archive is to support and integrate with the National Center of Reference for Capoeira.

8 ) Inventory of Capoeira in Pernambuco

There is the intention of encouraging, helping, and deepening research about capoeira in Recife, with a base in the research done during the process of capoeira’s official registration.

(Information provided by IPHAN)