Although the Democratic Republic of Congo is undergoing extreme poverty and strife, there is a glimmer of hope present for some in the African nation. The BBC profiled dancer Yannick N’salambo Walters who is skilled in the art of Capoeira, an acrobatic martial art and dance form that originally developed in the Congo as Libanda but then was modified by captives trying to hide the art by making it look like a dance in Brazil during the 16th century. Walters has been teaching Congolese students how to perform the art as a means of providing a reprieve from despair.
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In the capital city of Kinshasa, poor children by the thousands panhandle daily. Walters explained that he teaches the art to the children for free in order to inspire them.
“I can say capoeira gives these kids everything but that’s really too vague,” said Walters via an interpreter. “I think what it really brings them is hope, for themselves, self-esteem. The joy of meeting others, of being part of a family, because in capoeira, each group is a family.”
Walters says he believes capoeira gives the students confidence in achieving goals despite the challenging odds they face in the war-torn country.
Watch Walters and the youth practicing Capoeira here:
Watch professional Capoeiristas (those who practice Capoeira) here: