Obatala: Afro-Mexican dancers reconnect with their African roots

A dance group in the North-American country of Mexico is reconnecting with its African ancestry through dance.

According to the Mexican population census of 2015, there are 1.38 million Mexicans with African roots. They are descendants of slaves brought into the country centuries ago.

Prior to the census, Afro-Mexicans were not legally recognised in the country. Now, they make up 1.2% of the North-American country’s population.

This was a huge step for black Mexicans but some ladies have taken it further. Obatala, a dance group made up of young female Afro-Mexican dancers have reconnected with their ancestry by learning African dance moves.

“All the dancers are from Africa’s northeast region. We chose this area because after researching on the Internet, we realized that’s where the slaves that came to our town came from. Our dance troupe did the research and we learned those dances” said Anai Herrera who is the lead dancer of Obatala.

Herrera also revealed that they learnt the cultural dance moves via YouTube videos.

“We keep dancing because we want people to know our culture,” Herrera further said. “Our dancing is an open invitation for young people to join us. We this we want to consolidate our own culture, our own identity as black people.

As Afro-Mexicans continue to retrace their African heritage, a national census will be held in 2020 which will officially identify ‘Blacks’ in the country.

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