The streets of Central in Rio de Janeiro is the setting for a new project I’ve been working on while in Rio de Janeiro. To the left of Central station lies a bustling Afro-Brazilian community, amongst them live and work African immigrants. Many of whom have lived in Brazil for over 10 years and consider Brazil home. They’ve built a sweet success for themselves by working hard. But what’s to show for it? The streets are paved with historic buildings crumbling from years, decades and perhaps a century of neglect. Many are abandoned and have become home to squatters. Drugs and prostitution is rife… What goes on inside is not the business of an outsider.
Central Street Success is a photographic documentation of 5 native Africans who who work on the streets of Central. Here’s a small taster of the lives of Africans living in Rio.
Sherika Mohamed, hairdresser (Ghana)
Why did you choose to come to Brazil?
“My husband brought me here. My husband is here 17years. He went back to Ghana and brought me.”
How did you start your business?
“My husband chose this business for me. He allowed me to do it. My work is God’s gift! I didn’t learn from anybody!”
Why is it important you are successful?
“I am a married woman. I have responsibilities. I have two children. Small kids. I want a good future for them.”
How is life here compared to Africa?
“Life here is far from Africa. It is better! Since I was a small girl I like the name Brazil. I didn’t know where is Brazil but I like it. The day I reached Brazil I was happy!”
Is Brazil ‘home’? And why?
“Brazil is a free country. If not for the violnce it is like my country. Free place… But just see don’t talk (gossip). Close your mouth”