National Geographic : 2002 Aug
I n the embrace of theirgods, followers of Candomble arepossessed by African deities called orixas at a ceremony in Salvador.The multifacetedgod Omol moves in grass-shrouded mystery, his legendarypower to induce or cure illness greatly respected. Punctuatedby chanting and the poundingof drums, the ritual resembled those I've seen in West Africa. I also detected echoes of those black churches in America where worshipers are seized by the Holy Spirit. Candomble is rooted in central and West African beliefs that were influenced by Catholicism and South American Indianpractices.Hopingfor more worldly rewards,young men spar at a community center (right) in a Salvadorfavela, or shantytown. Their inspirationis hometown heroAcelino "Pop6" Freitas,who in Januarywon the super-featherweightworld championship bout in Las Vegas. Youths also perform like street corner break-dancersas they practice capoeira, a martialart and dance thatwarriorslaves brought with them from centralAfrica.