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Afro-descendants in Paraguay honour their roots

Members of the Paraguay-African cultural group Kamba Cua dance during celebrations in honor of Saint Balthazar, one of the Three Kings, on Epiphany in Fernando de la Mora   -  
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Jorge Saenz/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


The ceremonial and electrifying sound of drums filled the small Paraguayan city of Fernando de la Mora with joy and transformed it into a small corner of Africa, late on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday.

Wearing brightly-coloured clothes, some of the local residents, who can trace their roots in this area back to 1820, paid tribute to their patron Saint Balthazar as they showcased their African heritage.

Each year members of the community of Kamba Cua in Fernando de la Mora – a city with about 160,000 residents – hold a festival in honour of Saint Balthazar where they celebrate with dances, customs and ancestral traditions.

“My ancestors have fought, my ancestors have built this great nation and are not part of history," said Lourdes Diaz, coordinator of Grupo Tradicional San Baltazar.

Kamba Cua is a historic district that was ceded to Jose Gervasio Artigas when he was exiled from Uruguay and received refuge in Paraguay by José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia.

The Kamba ethnic Africans arrived at the area with Artigas' army.

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