Note from BW of Brazil: We’ve been seeing some very exciting developments in recent years focused on black identity, African ancestry and concepts of community. We’ve seen the rise of Afro-entrepreneurialism, discussion of the concept of “Black Money” and a rising demand for black representation. All of these ideas are coming together and leading to some very interesting endeavors that are bringing a whole new innovative spirit and attitude to the Afro-Brazilian community as a whole. Today’s post brings yet another example of this spirit. The A Tarde newspaper’s Meire Oliveira explained it this way.
“The demand of the public that seeks to portray its cultural identity has stimulated the emergence of specialists in the area. The need to expand the representation of the black community and its African heritage in the events and ceremonies in Salvador, Bahia, made sisters Cecília Kadile, 25 years old (fashion design student), and Gisele Matamba, 29 years old (Afro dance teacher), found the Matamba Institute. The company holds events such as weddings, graduations, anniversaries, congresses, seminars, conferences, themed dinners and cocktails and turban workshops.”
Read on for more…
An African-styled wedding? Check out the Matamba Institute that offers services with this theme
Cecilia Cadile and Gisele Matamba are sisters and black entrepreneurs. With a smile on their faces and a powerful political discourse, both formed the Instituto Matamba (Matamba Institute), an enterprise specializing in Afro Services.
Inspired by the fighting woman who was Queen Nzinga of Matamba, the sisters, like Nzinga, seek to overcome machismo and racism by occupying their rightful place. “Nzinga managed to win, she was a strategic and political leader and we understand that it is our place, it is the place of the black woman,” justifies Gisele.
With this power of momentum and strength, the Institute gets more and more enchanted looks with its wraps and more black men and women desiring to make a high-level ancestral ceremony.
YES, THERE IS A MARKET!
Making a dream event without stress and worry is what we all want. Gisele and Cecilia align to this desire the possibility of being another moment of exaltation of identidade afro-brasileira (Afro Brazilian identity).
For this, they perform all the work of decoration, tasting and reception in African modality in seminars, ceremonies, lectures, weddings etc. Adding also personalized Afro fashion services which are the turbans and the wrappings.
In cases such as weddings, the Institute, in addition to taking care of all the details of the event, from the food served to the decoration, also ensures that the bride and groom are even more beautiful, with well- done head wraps adapting to the meanings that the African people attribute to the wraps, according to each of the occasions.
The work carried out by the sisters Matamba stamped the cover of the catalog “Conceito AV” (Concept AV), number 19. With the theme “África: um lugar dentro de nós” (Africa: a place inside us), the colors and prints of the fabrics that form high turbans and afro wraps represent the ancestral, engaged, conscientious and professional work of the Matamba Institute.
-“The black consumer wants something with which to identify him/herself. We elaborate a proposal and we are adapting it to the profile. Some also like to suggest,” said Cecilia.
“The idea of the institute began there in Brasilia, we went to do a job, arriving there we started to wear our turbans and wraps, as we have the custom, and then ended up stirring up the curiosity of the people, and people asking if we did workshops and there the Matamba Institute was born,” said Cecília Cadile.
And it was thus, using their wraps in Brasilia that people interested in learning and sisters interested in teaching emerged. The sisters then took a professionalizing course of black aesthetics in the NGO Omi-Dùdú. From this and the perception of the need of having a business focused on black people, this enterprise specializing in Afro services was born.
“The Matamba Institute has the cradle of an NGO, because, there was a project when I was 16 years old, and Gisele 14, just when Law 10.639 began to be inserted and we benefited from this course,” explains Cecilia. “In this NGO we learned the aesthetics of the wrappings, the turbans, there were also had courses of receptive, decoration, cooking and that was what started to give us tools to work,” Gisele argued.
Aware of the importance of disseminating knowledge and valuing Afro culture and aesthetics, the Matamba sisters have already developed workshops in several public schools in Salvador and in the interior of Bahia. And Cecília adds: “We visited and could do this work thanks to a project called Odara Dudu.”
Gisele and Cecília are part of the UJAMAA, which, in the Swahili African language, means cooperative economy. The collaborative office aims to propagate the concept of shared economy.
The Matamba Institute is one of the afro enterprises that occupy Ujamaa, the first co-working (collaborative office) for Afro-entrepreneurs in Brazil. The space is part of the Casa do Mídia Étnica, located in the neighborhood of Dois de Julho, downtown Salvador. More information can be obtained by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joyce Melo is a reporter for the Correio Nagô website.