Paraguay: Afro-descendants honor their roots

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Every January, the small Paraguayan town of Fernando de la Mora vibrates to the rhythm of drums during the festival in honor of the Magus King Saint Balthazar.

“My ancestors fought, my ancestors built this great nation and are not part of history,” says Lourdes Diaz who takes care of a traditional dance group.

Through these dances from ancestral customs and traditions, it is an opportunity for some inhabitants to highlight their African heritage.

“It is sometimes difficult to explain (something), but with dance you can express yourself in different ways”, explains Cristina Cañete, dancer.

A small landlocked country between Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, Paraguay has thousands of Afro-descendants. Some of these descendants have been present in the country since 1820, and are keen to preserve their cultural heritage.

In 2007 an Afro-Paraguayan association obtained for the first time in the history of the country, a census of the black population, a minority often excluded and marginalized.

Soukaina Sghir

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