Vila Brandao is a black, low income neighborhood in the heart of Salvador/ Bahia/Brazil. The small community might be considered a “quilombo urbano”, an autonomous place outside society, not included in the formal mapping since 69 years now.
Vila Brandao is a green “island” in the center of a metropolis, a free access sea-spot with transparent water and still a few corals. Fishing, bird-breading and the use of local medical plants are part of daily culture. The peacefulness and the silence emphasize the rural character of Vila Brandao.
Founded on a muddy hillside in the 1940’s by Candomble Priest Seu Antonio, grown up through family extension and slow migration, in the 1980ties the community was reduced, through a real estate deal, from a thousand inhabitants to actual three hundred, most of them still united through parenthood. During the last 15 years, Salvador’s Bohème discovered the place, bringing in intellectuals and artists from all over the world. A very special melting pot…
But Vila Brandão has the legal status of a favela. This means: no legal status. No land rights, no civil rights, no access to society. It is the effective exclusion from the world “up there” – the non access to urban infra-structure, to social services, to garbage collection, to security, to education!
The consequence is hard: no dignity for the residents! They feel abandoned. This is second class citizenship with all consequences!
Just to complete it: in 2009, the major of Salvador, tried to disapropriate the community to build a hotel complex instead, a project, where personal interests of his clan are involved!