The daughter of a white father and black mother, Dandara Albuquerque is 23 and lives in the famed Copacabana region of Rio de Janeiro. This extroverted Sagittarius, and owner of a Law degree, carries the name of the black warrior who was the wife of the legendary Afro-Brazilian warrior Zumbi of Palmares* and the mother of his three sons (Motumbo, Harmódio and Aristogíton). Does anyone doubt the pride she feels in this? “And also a big responsibility, especially in a country where prejudice still exists, albeit in a veiled way. I am honored to represent this fantastic woman and I am eternally grateful to my parents for having chosen this name for me”, said the girl who was born in November 1988, one hundred years after the “alleged” abolition of slavery in Brazil**. And about her parents, in fact, she has nothing but praise, especially for having received from them a great incentive to study. In fact, a life lesson. “They always emphasized that education is the only thing we take for the rest of our lives. It is capable of beginning a transformation that begins from the inside out, and is instrumental in building a better human being. Too bad education in Brazil is not as valued as it should be”, she proclaims.
On her career choice, Dandara says that she always wanted to study law because she found the legal profession to be fascinating, however, discovering the theater and the magic of the stage, she fell madly in love with art. “It is a powerful tool of liberation! Despite all of its charm, it’s able to open our eyes to reality and make us see the world in a much more conscious and human way. The feeling I have is that before I was asleep and only now that I have begun to study theater arts, I’ve awaken to life”, says Dandara, a student at Instituto Nossa Senhora do Teatro (Our Lady of the Theatre Institute). Her intention is now to follow a professional career, have her work recognized and earn a decent living doing what brings her happiness. “I believe this is the true meaning of personal accomplishment.”
In terms of beauty, for many years, Dandara thought of straightening her hair as the solution to ‘her problems’, but now she realizes it was a total waste of time. “I discovered that I love the volume of my hair and my curls and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Black beauty should be recognized and appreciated, but this will only happen when blacks themselves are proud of it”, she explains.
Name: Dandara Aparecida Rodrigues de Albuquerque
Weight: 132 lbs
College: Law at the University of Cândido Mendes in Rio de Janeiro
Languages: Portuguese and English
See a photo layout of Dandara here
See a photo layout of Dandara here
* Zumbi dos Palmares, or Zumbi of Palmares (1645-1695) was the last, greatest and most celebrated leaders of all of Brazil’s quilombos (in the northeastern state of Alagoas), runaway slaves societies where inhabitants erected their own communities. Today, is honor of Zumbi, there are countless black organizations named in his memory and he is unquestionably the most important symbol of black consciousness in the country. Read more about Zumbi here.
** – In fact, slavery in Brazil actually ended on May 13 of 1888, with Brazil being the last country in the Americas to end this institution. Since the early 1970s, Afro-Brazilian activists began rejecting the celebration of the abolition of slavery on May 13th as they felt that because of the situation of black Brazilians in society, abolition was a farce. From the early 1970s they began advocating for the celebration of November 20th as the Day of Black Consciousness in Brazil in memory of the day in 1695 when the great Zumbi of Palmares was said to have captured and killed. Today, November 20th and the month of November are celebrated in more that 300 Brazilian cities as the Day and Month of Black Consciousness.