Engolo and capoeira. From ethnic to diasporic combat games in the southern atlantic

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Abstract

This article provides a re-examination of the main Afrocentric narrative of capoeira origins, the engolo or “zebra dance”, in light of historical primary sources and new ethnogra-phic evidence gathered during fieldwork in south-west Angola. By examining engolo’s bodily techniques, its socio-historical con-text and cultural meanings, this study emphasises its insertion into a pastoral lifestyle and highlights the relatively narrow ethnic character of the practice in Angola. This analysis and the comparison with capoeira helps us to develop certain hypothe-ses about the formation, migration, and the re-invention of dias-poric combat games between southern Angola and coastal Brazil, and more broadly, to increase our understanding of how African cultures spread across the South Atlantic.

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Assunção, M. R. (2020). Engolo and capoeira. From ethnic to diasporic combat games in the southern atlantic. Tempo (Brazil), 26(3), 522–556. https://doi.org/10.1590/tem-1980-542x2020v260302

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