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Ana Paula Nadalini Mendes

Yoruba Muslim who purchased his freedom, also known by the name Abuncaré, was born in the state of Oyo in West Africa’s Bight of Benin Hinterland. His life and travels demonstrate the active exchange of culture, cuisine, and religion between Africa and Brazil during the suppression of the transatlantic slave trade and a cycle of revolts closely associated with African Muslims.

Rufino’s life story is strongly affected by the politics and religion surrounding Islamic rebellions both in Africa and in Brazil at the time. In 1822 Rufino was captured as a young man in West Africa and transported as a slave to Brazil as a result of the war between different groups of Muslims and the Yoruba people in Oyo. He landed in Bahia, where he served the apothecary João Gomes da Silva, helping him to prepare food and medicines. In 1830 da Silva and some of his slaves ...