Short Biographies / Self-Descriptions

Rosangela Araujo “Janja”, is a historian, and she started to practice capoeira in the early 80s in Salvador with João Grande, Moraes and Cobrinha as her masters. Since 1994, she lives in São Paulo, where she founded Nzinga Institute of Studies of Capoeira Angola and educational traditions of the Bantu, an NGO aiming not only for preservation of the foundations and traditions of capoeira angola, but also fighting against racism and sexism. Janja organizes lectures and seminars about these topics in Brasil and abroad. At the University of São Paulo she presented a dissertation and a habilitation about capoeira angola. Besides that she coordinates several projects that support self-affirmative acts of young black people who want to enter and go through an academic education.

Paula Cristina da Silva Barreto “Paulinha”, started to practice capoeira in the early 80s in the Group Capoeira Angola do Pelourinho G-CAP in Salvador / Bahia. She received the title of contramestra in the early 90s. In 1998, she moved to São Paulo for 4 years and took part in the process of structuring the capoeira angola group  Nzinga. During this period she supported the organisation of many activities and events of the group. Living in Salvador again since 2002, she has continued to support these activities and helped to organize a Nzinga group there. During all the years she`s been practicing capoeira, she remained in a constant dialogue with other capoeira angola groups and took part in many events in- and outside Brasil. Being a Sociologist, she is doing research about racism, youth culture, academic doctrine, identity, and black culture, and she teaches for the Federal University of Bahia. She has published several articles and essays about these topics and about capoeira itself.

Cristina Nascimento“Cris”, started to practice capoeira in 1993 at the age of 28. After 7 month in G-CAP Rio de Janeiro with Mestre Neco, she started to train with mestre Emanuel, whose oldest student she is today. She took part in the foundation of his group Ypiranga de Pastinha. In december 2003 she recieved the title of contramestra and is presently teaching capoeira in the space of the group Ypiranga de Pastinha in the city centre of Rio de Janeiro.

Maria Eugenia Poggi “Gegê”, started capoeira angola under the guidance of mestre Cobra Mansa in 1995 when she moved to Washington DC, USA. She was present when the International Capoeira Angola Foudation FICA was founded in 1996 and since then she has participated in all the internationl conferences organized by FICA. Gegê also helped with the organization of the first women's encounter in the US (WDC) in 1997 titled “Women in Movement” as well with on five other women's events organized by FICA (Philadelphia ´99, Oakland ´01, Seattle ´02, Seattle ´03 and Seattle ´05). At the last three conferences she also led movement workshops. In March 2003 Gegê was invited to participate and teach at the "Angoleiras Encounter" in Rio and in July of the same year she received the title of treinel of Capoeira Angola during FICA's international encounter in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. At the end of 2003 Gegê moved to Lima, Peru where she also led workshops and at the beginning of 2005 she went back to Washington DC where she is one of the leaders responsible for the FICA group in this city.

Susanne Oesterreicher “Susy”, started to practice Capoeira with mestre Rosalvo 15 years ago. She assisted his workshops in Europe, the USA and Brasil, and together they organized the 1st Capoeira Angola Meeting in Europe/Berlin in 1993. Several other international meetings followed, which summoned, among others, mestre João Grande, mestre João Pequeno, mestre Moraes, mestre Cobra Mansa and mestre Ciro. In 1997, Susy and mestre Rosalvo founded Academia Jangada, at that time the first Capoeira school in Europe. She has been teaching the Jangada children`s capoeira group since 1999. Mestre Cobra Mansa invited her to the 4th International Women`s Conferencewhich took place in Seattle/USA in March 2002. Susy received the title of contramestra in the same year.

Beatriz Moreira Costa - Ilê Omi Ojuarô “Mãe Beata de Yemonjá“, was initiated in the religion at the age of twenty five, by Ialorixá Olga, the matriarch of Alaketu, a Candomblé community which was founded in the XVII century in the northeast of Brazil. It was as a young child, that she started participating in the social world of Candomblé and learning its traditions. Born on January 20th, 1931, at a sugar cane plantation in Bahia, she grew up in the surroundings of the city of Cachoeira do Paraguassu. A region marked by the presence of old men and women and of their descendants who survived the years of slavery. Her childhood years were filled by the stories told by these people. She was born onto a crossroad in the plantation, where an old African mid-wife, Tia Afalá told that the newly born child was the daughter of Iemonjá, the goddess linked to motherhood and nurturing, and Exu, the powerful trickster god who rules the crossroads and mediates all the relations between humans and the sacred. Mãe Beata's experience as a priestess of Candomblé has always had a deeply political dimension. So she takes an active part in the women's movement, in the Black movement and in interfaith debates, as well as to develop an ongoing socio-cultural program geared to the needs of the community of Miguel Couto one of the many working class neighborhoods just outside Rio de Janeiro, where she has been living for more than twenty years now.One of her many initiatives was to open up the Candomblé space to the community surrounding it, and to turn it into a cultural center where people from the neighborhood could attend classes and participate in cultural and political forums. Since 1992 Mãe Beata has traveled widely to attend conferences and has given speeches in several cities in Brazil. She has also visited Germany and the United States, being invited to both places to talk about her life experiences and to share her vast knowledge about Candomblé.
**These text ( in a longer version) was written by Vânia Cardoso, an anthropologist who is doing research about women and afro-brazilian religion.


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