Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Project Bantu: refugee youth finding their way through Capoeira Angola

By Kali Goldstone and Raphael Brasil - posted Tuesday, 21 June 2011

We enter the room where the Capoeira Angola session is about to begin at The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS).  The class is comprised of mainly young Sudanese Refugees, victims of brutal conflicts, many of them born into protracted refugee camp situations in East Africa. So their perception of the world is shaped by the tragedy of their circumstances.

Edielson Miranda, aka Master Roxinho, begins the class talking about time management as most of the kids came late to the lesson. Discipline plays a very important role in each class. Unruliness is not tolerated.  Anybody who comes late to class must repeat Negativa, a Capoeira Angola movement, 50 times. In this way, Master Roxinho demands his students to be accountable for their actions. He is a leader, someone to look up to; he demands respect in a peaceful and loving way.

He presses play on his Ipod and Ladainha, traditional songs of Capoeira Angola, begin to emanate from the speakers. The sound of the Berimbau (a single-string percussion instrument, a musical bow, from Brazil), African drums and old Afro-Brazilian singers, envelops the room. Master Roxinho explains that the game of Capoeira Angola has to be played with strength and confidence, as it is the only way to communicate during a ‘game.’


Integration of Refugee Children into Australian Society:

“Refugee children have problems not just with education, but also with socialization,” says, Elizabeth Pickering, School Councillor of the Intensive English Centre at Cabramatta High School (CHS).

These young people have often experienced high levels of trauma. Many have witnessed violence directly or indirectly through the experience of dispossession, conflict, living in refugee camps or coming from dismantled families and fragmented communities.

Mrs Pickering notes that the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has “a focus on quality teaching and learning, and so good funding is put into the teaching of English as a second language.” However, Mrs Pickering, who has worked with new arrivals for over forty years, doesn’t “think there is near enough given to a holistic approach,” to resettling refugee youths.

“We neglect the holistic approach at our peril,” she says. “Because if someone has been highly traumatised they are going to be affected in ways that will impact upon their ability to sit in the classroom, and learn, and benefit from the quality teaching and learning, if their other dimensions are not being addressed.”

Mrs Pickering believes that there needs to be “many more programs that are creative, and we need to really look outside the box,” when it comes to helping refugee youths fully integrate in Australian society.


Project Bantu:

Capoeira Angola Cultural Centre Australia is a not-for-profit association founded in 2007 by Master Roxinho. The association aims to introduce, preserve and develop Capoeira Angola and Afro-Brazilian culture in its entire traditional, ritualistic and contextual form in Australia. Master Roxinho says, “Project Bantu is a movement through the mind to understand who you are.”

Project Bantu is a socio-cultural program delivered to young people aged 6-20 either from Aboriginal, refugee or Australian backgrounds. The program originated in Brazil for homeless youth and young people in Juvenile Justice Centres and has been adapted to fit the needs of the young people at risk living in Australia.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

41 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Authors

Kali Goldstone is an international human rights lawyer and journalist with a depth of expertise in managing diverse programs working with minority and vulnerable groups, refugees, IDPs and immigrants for the last 12 years in Australia, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya and the U.S.

Raphael Brasil has worked at East Side Radio since 2007, where he developed a passion for radio. He also works at SBS Radio Language, for the Portuguese radio program. He has a Masters in International Communications at Macquarie University, Sydney, and is currently completing a Masters of Journalism at UTS.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Kali Goldstone
All articles by Raphael Brasil

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 41 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy