Earlier this year, a Customary Court sitting in Pyakasa, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory handed down a judgment in a public interest law suit filed by the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association Nigeria (IPLAN) of www.iplan.org.ng
The IPLAN team, led by foremost Tech and IP Lawyer, Folarinwa M. Aluko, of Trumann Rockwood Solicitors, had asked the Court to hold that Bata, a dance style and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs) of the Yoruba people of Nigeria, is the historical origin of the Latin-American dance style, popularly known as Salsa.
The groundbreaking lead judgment of Honorable Ehusani Simpa Abel traced the historic, cultural and stylistic origins of Salsa to the yoruba Bata which was transported to Latin America by slaves taken from Yoruba land.
Following the development from Nigeria, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared Rumba to be the intangible cultural heritage or living heritage of the Congolese of Central Africa.
According to Tim Curtis, UNESCO Secretary, “To be defined as intangible cultural heritage, a cultural practice must be dynamic… It must have meaning in people’s lives,”.
The African origins of Cuban rumba can be felt in the rhythmic drumming of slaves from central Africa, which was then combined with melodies from Cuba’s Spanish colonisers.
The rhythm however kept its distinctive character to the extent that when vinyl recordings were exported to central Africa in the 20th Century it was immediately recognised.
Rumba “has been part of our identity, descendants of Africa and all of us, throughout the ages,” said DR Congo’s Culture minister Catherine Kathungu Furaha earlier this year. “We want rumba to be recognised as ours. It is our identity.
“When our ancestors who were taken abroad wanted to remember their history, their origin, their memory, they danced the navel dance.”