The streets of Central in Rio de Janeiro is the setting for a new project I’ve been working on while in Rio. 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 work on the streets of Central. Here’s a small taster of the lives of Africans living in Rio.
Erick Kingdom, Commercial business (Ghana)
Why did you choose to come to Brazil?
“Well, it’s my second country. No one wants to leave their own. If my country was to give me opportunities, I don’t think I would have to leave.”
How did you start you business?
“It’s a long story! It wasn’t easy. I started from the grass-roots (gestures upwards). Doing construction work when I first arrived, then a bus conductor for 3 years, then I found (saved) some small money to start this business.”
What does success mean to you?
“Perseverance. Nothing good comes easy. You must work hard (to become successful). Day and night. People hear that when you reach outside (Africa), it will be easy but it’s not like that! You must have a strong mind and clear objective.”
Is Brazil home?
‘Momentally yes. My family is here. When the time comes I will surely go back home. Here is just a temporary home. Brazil has a bright future.There are other countries that don’t have. Brazil is a ‘mother’ country. It gives opportunities to foreigners. It depends, you have to be willing to work hard on your effort to make use of it.
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