Young people in front of the old train station of Helvécia, one of the only places where there is an open Wifi network in the village. In Helvécia there is no more cellular network. A cell tower was installed a few years ago but the company estimated it did not make enough money and deactivated it after only three months. Helvécia, Bahia, Brazil. January 2016.
Former church that now serves as a dwelling. Helvécia, Bahia, Brazil. December 2015.
MAR 4, 2017 – 11:00
Helvécia, a small village in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, is what remains of two vast farms founded by a Swiss immigrant. Helvetia I and Helvetia II were both created by Johannes Martin Flach, born in Schaffhausen in 1787.
Flach became a confidant and close friend of Maria Léopoldine, who became Empress of Brazil when she married Dom Pedro, a Portuguese crown prince, in 1817. Flach received the land from the Léopoldine Colony and managed it from Rio de Janeiro.
At the time of the abolition of slavery in 1850, the plantation was an important part of the country’s coffee production. Coffee made up 40% of exports in Brazil, the largest coffee producer in the world. The Brazilian coffee industry was dependent on slaves; in the first half of the 19th century, 1.5 million slaves were brought in from Africa to work on the plantations.
Today, Helvécia is home to three families descended from German immigrants and one family descended from Swiss immigrants. More than 80% of the current population are of African descent. European and African cultures exist here in an ideological clash, with Christian evangelicals still pointing at black people for practising “evil” rituals. Slavery still casts its long shadow.
Sérgio Carvalho se iniciou na Umbanda, pelo Babalorixá Arnaldo de Omulu (in memorian), na T.E.Nanã Buruquê, realizando sua camarinha em dezembro de 1995. Em 2001, se iniciou no Candomblé pelas mãos do Babalorixá Jô d´Osogiyan, no Asé Omin Oiyn Ilè, sendo neto de Iyá Nitinha d´Osun (in memorian), do Asé Engenho Velho - Miguel Couto - RJ. Militante em prol da defesa da religião afro-brasileira, ingressou nas fileiras do extinto IPELCY (Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudo da Língua e Cultura Yorubá), dirigido por Jairo d´Osogiyan. Exerce o cargo de Diretor de Cultura e Comunicação da ANMA - Associação Nacional de Mídia Afro. É proprietário da agência Marfim Assessoria & Eventos. Faz parte da equipe de duas das maiores premiações do jornalismo brasileiro, o Embratel e o Petrobras. É editor responsável pelo jornal web Awùre – http://www.awure.jor.br – veículo que aglutina os momentos mais importantes da cultura e religiosidade afro-brasileira.