G.R.E.S QUILOMBO DO SAMBA
Theme for Carnival 2006
“QUILOMBO, THE STORY THAT HISTORY DID NOT TELL”
Quilombo do Samba, School of Samba, was founded in September of 1991, the first samba School in England founded by an Afro-Brazilian, who finding his own culture already represented and colonized by the British, took the courage to found Quilombo
Do Samba and promote true traditional Afro-Brazilian culture in this country.
Without much money or publicity, but with great joy, a family was formed. This family has grown and with this greater strength and experience we will come to the streets of Notting Hill to tell “the story that History did not tell”
Our parade this year is the Story of Quilombo dos Palmares and the great King and National hero, Zumbi. (A statue in memory of Zumbi is to be found on Ave President Vargas at the point of the cross roads with Ave Sappucai the great Avenue of the Samba School parades in Rio de Janeiro).
When the Portuguese arrived in Brasil on the 22nd April 1500 during the pre-colonial phase, the Indians who already lived in the land preferred to suicide rather than live captive submitted to slavery. So began the largest scale traffic of Negroes from Africa to colonial Brasil, 4.500.000 were transported during the slave trade, to work on the plantations of sugar cane and coffee; they suffered torture, cruel punishments and death. With them came African Culture in every sense, in music, dance, food, philosophy, language and religion.
The Brazilian colonial dictionary, informs us that the word Quilombo originates from the African Bantu language word, Kilombo, meaning camp or fort and was used by the Portuguese to denote the places built and populated by the Africans resisting slavery after escaping from there oppressors. They were well hidden of difficult access and here the resistance flourished, constructed homes, planted crops, tendered animals and lived there lives free. There existed during the colonial period hundreds of Quilombo and it is impossible to speak of Quilombo without mentioning Quilombo dos Palmares.
King Zumbi of Quilombo dos Palmares.
Founded in 1604 by 40 Negroes, that together united various Quilombo, a confederation was formed in the area known as Palmares in Alagoas in the North East of Brasil.
They’re existed and exist till today Quilombo in many regions of Brasil, There was also Quilombo in other places of the American continent. In the Spanish Americas they were called palenques or cumes, in the English Americas, Marroons and in the French Americas, Grand Marronage.
During eighty years, Quilombo dos Palmares suffered constant attacks from the Portuguese trying to recapture the runaway Negroes and destroy their settlements.
With the passage of time Brasil suffered many invasions from Italians, Spanish and Dutch. The Dutch managed to take control over a part of the North East of Brasil,
From 1630 –1654 under the leadership of Mauricio de Nassau who wanted to make the city of Recife his kingdom. During this period Quilombo dos Palmares had relative peace and tranquility, Nassau had good intentions, he established good diplomatic and economic relations. He openly traded with Quilombo inhabitants, who sold their agricultural products to the Dutch colony and had free access to the cities controlled by them. Political problems with Holland made the Dutch aristocrat resign his post, after he left, Holland sold off their colony to the Portuguese for eight tons of Brazilian Gold.
With the reinstatement of Portuguese rule, the then King of Quilombo dos Palmares
Ganga Zumba thought it possible to make a peace treaty, known at the time as “Peace of the Whites”, proposed by Pedro de Almeida, in the treaty it was to be agreed,
Palmares would be an official city.
Palmares would submit itself to Portuguese Rule,
There would be no more liberation of slaves from local plantations.
Ganga Zumba would be assigned as (Mestre Campo) Master of the fields.
Zumbi disagreed with this treaty seeing the situation as a sell out and so his uncle Ganga Zumba was killed and Zumbi assumed power, heading a heroic resistance
Against the Portuguese, who, led by Domingo’s Jeorge Velho, even whilst talking of peace, was in reality planning the total destruction of Quilombo dos Palmares.
The Portuguese with an army of more than 5 thousand strongly armed soldiers
And after five years of siege, dominated the brave Negro warriors and Quilombo dos Palmares was destroyed.
King Zumbi was killed on the 20th of November 1695, this date now marks the Day of Black Consciousness in Brasil and is an official National holiday.
The dream of Zumbi did not end, Zumbi left us a message stronger than the Portuguese could have imagined. Zumbi made it understood that Liberty is not a favor and that dignity is a necessary condition for anyone to be called a people and for any territory
To be called a Nation. This message left by Zumbi, echo’s and will continue to echo strongly, his example encouraged other movements, which like Palmares were based on the fight for liberty, the Balaiada in Maranhao, the revolt of the Male’s in Bahia and
The Confederation of Equador in Pernambuco.
These movements were strengthened by the legacy left by our great Negro Hero, the seeds of his legacy germinated and its fruits continue to be harvested because of the fight for dignity and full citizenship has to go on.
Today the History of Afro-Brazilian culture is studied in University as part of the National Curriculum in Brasil.
The Brazilian Federal constitution, article 68, published the decree No. 4887 on the 21st November 2003, which reads, “To those descendents of Quilombo communities who are occupying their land, permanent ownership is recognized and the state should emit the respective titles of ownership”. There now exists some 170 Quilombo communities with possession of the title of true owners of there land registered with the Federal Government in Brasil.
What Zumbi planted was love and respect for the common man, the Brasil imagined by Zumbi has not yet become reality, he as a symbol of human dignity, taught us many lessons, Zumbi is leadership that needs to be rescued.
Quilombo do Samba comes with pride to rescue and revive part of the history of the Afro-Brazilian culture, transmitted through art in making carnival.
We have included two further Historic figures in our story of the fight for liberty,
Though from a later period in History, they became symbolic because of their continuation of the battle for freedom and human rights for themselves and others.
Chico Rei (King Fransico)
Was an African King who together with his village and whole family was captured, imprisoned and then shipped off to Brasil to be sold as a slave by the Portuguese involved in the slave trade. Many died on the journey across the Atlantic others that survived included the African King and his son, (The King was baptized and given the name Francisco then shortened to Chico) sold to slave in the gold mines, in the State of Minas Gerais.
Chico Rei was intelligent and hard working and pleased his captors who gave him small change as a gratification, this he saved along with the gold dust he washed from his hair, finally he had the amount to buy his son freedom. Together they continued saving in this manner until they had enough to pay for the freedom of Chico Rei, the father, gradually they worked and liberated many held in captivity, the day came when they bought there own gold mine and Chico Rei, liberated from slavery all his people.
Together they built a small prosperous town and held great celebrations with Chico as their king, just as they had in there old home in Africa.
Chica da Silva
A Black woman that became popular in the small town of Tejuco where today is found the city of Diamantina in the State of Minas Gerais. This beautiful and extrovert Negro woman was born in 1726 and held such great influence in her time that she bought her own freedom and that of more than 100 slaves, with enough money over and material recourses to help finance the glorious revolt of the Inconfidence Mineiro. Chica da Silva was the first Negro woman mentioned on the scene of political life in Brasil.
Daughter of the slave Maria da Costa and Coronal Rolim, Chica da Silva learnt to read and write, she was not a cheap prostitute as many would have us believe, this Negro woman, rebel, unsubmissive, of a strong character, remarkable personality, and her involvement in the history of the diamond cycle, made her the most notable woman of her time.
Quilombo do Samba will put together all the History above in words to our song and add to this SAMBA, this wonderful orchestra with its African origin, roots that have been passed from father to sons of African decent. Samba will take us in our Carnival
Samba drums echoing in Notting Hill. We have waited 14 years to be able to present this theme and with it we come with our spirits uplifted, Samba is Samba one of the great legacies of the African slaves, a music born out of suffering, rooted in the birth of a new nation, and now the most popular rhythm of Brasil. It is clear that we count on the creativity of everyone and with the presence of the spirit of carnival, the Orixas (African spiritual entities) will guide us, the richness and the full harvest of the Quilombo will keep us in form, strong like warriors, with lots of samba of the feet,
The Senzala is on the street, Viva Zumbi, Viva Zumbi, AXE.
First costume group - The ships that crossed the Atlantic on the journey to Brasil.
Second group - The proud Africans.
Porta Bandeira - Banner (Flag) bearer
Queen of the Bateria - Best samba dancer (elected)
Madrinha da Bateria Best samba dancer (chosen)
Bateria (Samba orchestra) - King Zumbi
Passistas - The Sun of Liberty
Third group - Mother Africa
Fourth group - Ganga Zumba
Fifth group - Chica da Silva & Chico Rei
Sixth group - AXE (Peace)
Seventh group - Liberty (children)
Eighth group - Baianas Yemanj