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A Day in Pelourinho

By McPhilips Nwachukwu, who was in Salvador Brazil
The word Pelourinho in Portuguese according to  Wikipedia means whipping post. This taxonomy given to one of the most cultural nerves of Salvador Bahia in Brazil evokes both a sense of history, monument and culture.

The historic city, which was declared  world cultural heritage in 1985 by the United Nation, Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, also, is an important stop point for any Nigerian visitor to this South American country.

From this point of call, this reporter gathered, slaves , who were shipped to the new world to work in the sugar cane plantations were dropped off to be auctioned off to willing buyers.

It  therefore becomes no surprising that this important historic city became one of first residences of black Diaspora children, whose labours and skills were forcefully engaged in building the monuments that stand today as classic Brazilian architecture.

Evidences of these achievements are glaring in the cultural centre of Pelourinho: in their classic architectural constructions, socio cultural life, music and songs. In this ancient town, also Nigeria has its home popularly known as ,Nigerian Home.

Pelourinho is important in many senses: Besides, its architectural archetypes and layouts that  evoke the feeling  for home as they wear the same professional and aesthetic essence of old styled Brazilian architectural constructs  in Lagos, it still embodies the spirit of a critical age in Brazilian history.

In that town that is home to the first Governor General of Brazil, justice Ministry and first important Churches, the successive government of  this country have succeeded in preserving these great institutions to serve not as mere monuments, but as critical documentary on the evolution of contemporary Brazil.

It is not only that these institutions are preserved, but, that they are kept in good physical States. Beside, there round the clock security   on ground to checkmate the activities of urchins and social deviants whose presence may constitute a threat to the lives of teeming  tourists to the town.

It is perhaps on the strength of this strong achievements that  it was acquired by the world body as a heritage centre. To sustain  this tourist value, both the people and government have  turned the sleepy town into socio cultural hub.

Today, Pelourinho offers something delightful to any visitor ranging from cafes, restaurants, shops,  pastel hued buildings, churches and night clubs.

The place   readily becomes a place for unwinding as  its night clubs provide the country side music heavily laced with African musical tunes and rhythms.

Also besides the physical beauty, which Pelourinho offers, its cultural and historical essence  leaves  in the visitor a lingering memory.

On a recent trip to Brazil on the invitation of the Centre for Black African Art and Civilisation, CBAAC for a three day international conference on the theme; Multiculturalism and the Prospects for Africa and Diaspora Africa’s Development, this reporter was drawn into deep reflection concerning Nigeria’s own attitude to cultural and tourism monuments.

One begins to wonder what a visitor would take away from any of the 36 States of Nigeria at the shortest visit like I did. Is it the  uncontrolled and chaotic traffic, noise or dilapidated infrastructures?

Why can’t this country begin to look inward and see how the huge cultural and tourism potentials lying prostrate  from the hilly towns of Ososo in  Edo State to the natural monkey colony in Lagwa Okwuato , Aboh Mbaise in Imo State be developed and sustained as new  templates for revenue and historical mappings.

Perhaps, Pelourinho is another good model to study.


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