Cafundó - Brazilian Portuguese Word of the Week - plus55
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

CAFUNDÓ

A secluded place, somewhere difficult to access. Its original meaning was a “place between mountains.” Although the origins of this term are disputed, linguists believe that is connected to Brazilian slaves

The Cafundó Community

Freed or fugitive slaves used to hide and live in hinterland settlements known as quilombos. One of these communities, in the countryside of São Paulo, received the name Cafundó.

According to historic tales, a group of freed slaves founded the Cafundó quilombo. They received some land from their former owner, but under one condition: they should never leave the farm.

The farm, obviously, was really hard to reach.

Today, it’s a 7.8-acre farm housing roughly 80 people. A few of them still speak Bantu, the African language of their ancestors. They survive as subsistence farmers, living off of both what they plant and the animals bred in the community.

In fact, members of the community speak the Cafundó language, an argot (“secret language”) similar to Portuguese. It has a large number of Bantu words in its lexicon.

Movie

In 2005, directors Paulo Betti and Clóvis Bueno launched the historical drama Cafundó. It is a biopic of former slave and miracle worker João de Camargo of Sorocaba.

The movie won five Kikitos at the Gramado Movie Festival, Brazil’s most prestigious cinema event.

MORE WORDS OF THE WEEK

April 12LARÁPIO
April 05CHACINA
March 29DESPACHANTE
March 23CARNE FRACA
March 16PUXA-SACO
March 08SEXIST EXPRESSIONS