Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
A capoeira instructor teaches orphans the proper techniques of the martial art inside the Fundation Voix du Coeur orphanage in Bangui, April 20, 2017. (Z. Baddorf/VOA)

After fighting between armed Christian and Muslim groups displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014, five Christian and Muslim youths returned to their homeland late last year and brought back with them something new to the country – capoeira, a Brazilian martial art combining dance, music and acrobatics.

“We, the youth, studied capoeira a lot in the camp since we didn’t have school or anything like that,” explained Vicky Nelson Wackoro, who sought refuge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for three years. “And the capoeira for the people, it was the only means of entertainment.”


NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Wackoro had only previously seen capoeira in movies.

“I didn’t really know what capoeira was,” he said. “It was my first time of practicing it in my life.”

Young orphans practice capoeira on the grounds of their orphanage. The martial art was developed centuries ago by African slaves in Brazil, April 20, 2017. (Z. Baddorf/VOA)


Capoeira was developed centuries ago by African slaves in Brazil.

Wackoro and a group of other Central African refugees received scholarships to study capoeira at an association in Kinshasa for three months. While there, Wackoro achieved Level 5 Orange Cord.

When Wackoro and four of his fellow capoeira students returned to their homeland in November, they formed an association to share the martial art and its message of tolerance with their fellow citizens.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

“It’s become a passion for us,” said Oussein Christian, who is the group’s president. “We really like that.”

They volunteer at the local Fondation Voix du Coeur orphanage, teaching the martial art to about 100 children every weekend. They practice in the courtyard in groups, with adults watching from the sidelines.

“Our country has just gone through a crisis. And the children are a little traumatized. And we are there to help and give them a little advice, and I think that helps to calm them down,” Christian said.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Fourteen-year-old Frankie Mongbanzi, whose parents died several years ago, arrived at the orphanage in September 2016.

“When I came here to the orphanage, I found a big family,” he said. “I’m happy to play capoeira with my brothers. At the beginning it was difficult. But when the professors come to correct us (they) help us to improve.”

A young Central African Republic woman performs capoeira at an orphanage in Bangui. A group of refugees brought the martial back with them from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 20, 2017. (Z. Baddorf/VOA)


A young Central African Republic woman performs capoeira at an orphanage in Bangui. A group of refugees brought the martial back with them from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, April 20, 2017. (Z. Baddorf/VOA)

Christian said their group of capoeira enthusiasts tries to impart to the orphans the values of capoeira – tolerance, fair play, discipline and respect. They hope it can help the children foster a more peaceful future for the country.

“In the other arts like taekwondo and judo, they hit each other,” Christian explained at the orphanage, “but in the capoeira, we don’t hit each other. And in each ‘round,’ even if someone makes a hit, you have to say, ‘Oh, he touched by mistake.’ You hug each other and say, ‘Excuse me, excuse me.’”

There’s been a difference in the children since they started playing capoeira in November of last year.

“The children are fighting all the time. They spar all the time. And they don’t forgive each other easily,” said Ange Ngasseneno, the director of Fondation Voix du Coeur orphanage. “But, I saw that with the capoeira, the children are learning to forgive each other. Today, they have learned to resolve their problem and ask for forgiveness.”

The capoeira association also meets weekly at the capital’s stadium and throughout the week in the surrounding neighborhoods. They want the organization to be an alternative for youth at risk of being recruited into armed groups.

Several young orphans practice the capoeira moves needed to participate in a “roda” — a “round” where the participants dance and perform martial arts moves to music, April 20, 2017. (Z. Baddorf/VOA)


The capoeira classes include participants of Christian and Muslim faiths.

“We in the ‘rounds’ just play. It’s not a question of religion. It’s not a question of nationality. It’s not a question of ethnicity,” Christian said. “We are all just ‘capoerists.’”

Reconciliation is an ongoing challenge for this country still struggling with divisions over religion and the impact of a bloody civil conflict.


Popular

voa

The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.

The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less

The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).

Keep Reading Show less
ians

Pakistan has failed miserably to protect Hindus, their interests.

A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.

According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.

Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.

Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.

The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".

But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.

A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.

Also Read: Hindu Woman Axed To Death In Pakistan

Keep reading... Show less