90 years old, blind and ill, Pastinha is released from the hospital
Jornal do Brasil
26th February 1980
Photo: Pastinha: in the end of the life, sorrow and compaints. Archive (6/8/79)
SALVADOR – After spending three months in the Hospital of the Public Servant and, again, disillusioned when it comes to the promises of help by the politicians who came to take him from the bed of the health house to exhibit him blind and deaf on television, was released and returned to his cublicle on the Pelourinho Square the old man Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, known all over the country as Mestre Pastinha. Next month he will be 91 years old, almost all of his life dedicated to the preservation of the Bahian capoeira.
The "guardian of capoeira de Angola", as Jorge Amado considers him, "the preserving element and support of the genuine dance of the slaves", according to the observation of the visual artist Caribé, "only managed to collect new disillusions and disappointments over the last months", according to the words of his wife, Maria Alice, who's 70 years old. Mestre Pastinha left the hospital almost as he entered: "Ill, without a house and not knowning how to survive".
With the return of Mestre Pastinha to the same damp and unhealthy cubicle that he occupied before in Pelourinho, indicated by the doctors as one of the reasons for the current state of his health, the first means of the capoeirista's companion was to draw attention that the politicians, journalists and even the government workers will not profit from Pastinha any more, because I will not let them".
- I heard many promises, but the actual and past facts are cruel. It suffices to remember my husband's expulsion eight years ago by the Pelourinho Foundation from the building where he always had his capoeira academy. That time, as today, nobody reacted except to deceive, so all stayed like it was. Now he is older, sicker and more disillusioned", unburdens Sra Maria Alice.
To the people and journalists that are more known Sra Maria Alice allows only to see Mestre Pastinha sitting on a matress "given by a friend". Blind, distant, although with a mask of permanent suffering on his face, the master speaks, while his companion, sitting close to the door, keeps watch that strangers wouldn't enter, in the moments that, despite 70 years, does not have to be behind her tray selling acarajé, "to support Pastinha, as I always did since he became ill years ago".
About to become 91 years old, Mestre Pastinha left the hospital of the public servants still stooped by the old age, although he still preserves some memories lucid. And holds bitter complaints about politicians, governors and organs that are responsible for the valorization and preservation of the cultural patrimony of Bahia.
The house where his Capoeira de Angola Academy operated in shelters today the restaurant of typical foods of the Senca, while he was transfered to a cubicle of another closeby house, as one of the first relocated inhabitants, in 1967 , to start the recuperation of the colonial ensemble of Pelourinho.
The famous Capoeira de Angola Academy disappeared. Disappeared also all the capoeira objects: 14 wooden benches, berimbaus, atabaques, agogos, reco-recos, letters, correspondences from abroad, flags, the coat of arms of the academy and jacarandá furniture.
Disgusted by the abandonment and the exploration that are being practised against capoeira for years, the writer Jorge Amado protested recently: "Mestre Pastinha deserves to have an exceptional situation. He is a great master of our popular culture and should be supported by the public powers and by the population, so that he could live with dignity. All the culture of Bahia is forged by his connection to folk-art and Pastinha, besides being a great master of our culture, is the guardian of an unestimable value, which is capoeira de Angola", affirms the writer.
In his cubicle in Pelourinho the master comments: "The secret of capoeira dies with me and with many others. Some things stay alive. Capoeira isn't mine, it comes from the africans. God gave it to the africans. From the africans I got some things. I inherited some things. I'm the heir of the art of the africans. But capoeira is brazilian, it's national, national patrimony" says the master.