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House of Africa: A Legacy from Ancestors

The scourge of slavery in Cuba, which resulted from the policy implemented by the Spanish conquistadors to exploit African people as a source of cheap and easily-replaceable labor force, also left a deep imprint in the formation of Cuban nationality.

Foods, customs, dances, music, language and religion are part of the legacy that was brought from distant regions and passed from generation to generation until today.

The House of Africa, which was founded in 1986 in a colonial palace in Old Havana, in the Cuban capital's historic heart, is deeply involved in that work of patrimonial rescue.

The center, which is a showcase of Africa's history and its influence on Cuba, plays a major role in the preservation of the historic legacy that the African slaves brought to the Caribbean Island centuries ago.

The Museum House of Africa has permanent halls on the culture from Sub-Saharan African countries and exhibits genuine elements from Afro-Cuban religions.

The objects come from researcher Fernando Ortiz's collection or were gifts given to Cuban President Fidel Castro during his visits to several African countries.

Africa House
Sculpture. African House.
IFA Board

According to experts, the collections show elements from 27 African nations. Besides, the center promotes research, especially on those countries that had a direct influence on Cuban culture.

The House of Africa, which preserves many ethnographic objects, is a sort of laboratory to design projects related to the presence of African slaves in the country.

In addition to being a museum, the House of Africa is a major educational institution visited by researchers, linguists and students in general in search of historic elements on Cuba's relation with the African continent.

In general, it is an institution where visitors can learn about the culture and history of African peoples.

The center also benefits from Cuba's intense diplomatic activity and cooperation relations with countries from that distant but at the same time close continent.

In fact, reminders of the presence of thousands of men, women and children who were uprooted by force from their homes in Africa can be found everywhere in Cuba.

Under those circumstances, the creation of programs to spread the cruel reality of slavery and its social influence was the foundation of a project known as the Slave's Route in Cuba.

The project involves other museums and monuments, including the Castle of San Severino and the remains of the sugar factory Triunvirato, which are symbols of events that marked slavery in the Caribbean Island.

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