On 15 July 2008 Capoeira was declared Brazilian cultural heritage. Since then the Brazilian government and local capoeira communities have organised and come together to promote capoeira beyond the national borders of Brazil, as an activity of high importance to humanity at large. This week the success came. On Wednesday 26 November 2014 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared capoeira Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity thereby recognising its historical and social importance not only for the people of Brazil, but also for all current practitioners and the millions who could benefit from discovering our powerful art form.
This classification by the UN organ responsible for protecting and preserving humanity's treasures in essence recognises that Capoeira:
- "....provides a sense of companionship and identity to an ever-expanding community in Brazil and elsewhere;"
- ...is "significan[t]...as a means to resist oppression and discrimination, while promoting dialogue between individuals of different ethnicities, social classes, ages, genders and nationalities and testifying to human creativity;"
- and that it is important to promote and safeguard "...the cultural and symbolic aspects of the capoeira circle...and ensur[e] the adequate use of the element in school curricula."
This achievement is the result of the relentless efforts of countless capoeira Mestres who have patiently and with devotion imparted knowledge they themselves received from their Mestres, and learned from their socio-economic reality. The work in large measure has been carried out conscientiously and with zealous regard for the roots and history of our art form. All of us who in one way or another are researching, promoting and teaching capoeira should feel enormous pride to be part of this rich community, and no less responsibility to preserve and promote the integrity of capoeira!
Here is a video that was submitted with the application and that in just 10 minutes very eloquently and powerfully explains why capoeira is and has been since its birth an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Below the petition document that made history and attest to the participation of by many Mestres and practitioners.