Take Off with Afrohunting
"The African roots of Argentina have been made invisible by society, but they still play a fundamental role in one way or another. The best example is Tango, the most famous musical genre in this country was born in the enslaved people's houses."
In the second instalment of our Take Off series we introduce: Afrohunting. Afrohunting is a cultural movement about Africa and its diaspora based in Buenos Aires. Founded in 2017 by Leticia Sánchez Garris, they exist to empower their community by fostering a burgeoning class of artists, cultural leaders, change-makers, and well-being seekers. Their goal? To be a meeting point in the universe of arts, music, cultures, and African ancestry for those of Afro decent in the city.
For a long time, they have felt that the cultural narrative surrounding Africa and people of its origin has been largely defined and portrayed by an underrepresented media that influences how the world sees it. "Today, the rules of the game have changed, and we Afro-descendants are taking responsibility for how we see ourselves and especially how we feel about our African roots" Leticia tells us. "We have always been creative, dynamic, powerful, and revolutionary; we just weren't the ones telling our beautiful stories".
What do people get wrong about your culture that you want to demystify?
Buenos Aires has been mistakenly described as the Paris of South America, and it is the “Buenos Aires of Latinamerica.” It is a mix of many cultures that makes this place so unique. The African roots of Argentina have been made invisible by society, but they still play a fundamental role in one way or another. The best example is Tango, the most famous musical genre in this country was born in the enslaved people's houses.
How would you describe your local creative scene? Can you give us an insight into how it's progressing and who is with you at the forefront of it?
The community is growing more and more. People of African descent living in this city are doing beautiful things to honor our roots, from feminist art collectives like Kukily music artists like Astro and Jou visual artists like Frank Xarate and Afroana , events like Afropedia and Fela Festival and local brands like Africania.
How would you describe your city to someone who has never been?
Buenos Aires is a bubble within Argentina. It is a cosmopolitan city with very European architecture but a very present Latin essence. It is a city where culture plays a significant role and is present everywhere. A day in Buenos Aires can start in one of the many vintage bookstores, then an Asado (argentine bbq) shared among friends, a bike ride in the city in the middle of a street strike, a show with live music in the middle of the street, ending with a theatre play that leaves your mouth open.
What should we bring? What should we take home?
You must come with an open mind to socialize and share everything. In Buenos Aires, we kiss all the time, touch each other, and share everything. Mate is a good example; it is a traditional tea shared among friends. You should take dulce de leche, it is the most precious treasure of this country, and if you like mate, it is the right place to stock up because it is not the same in foreign lands.
How can we avoid being a shit tourist when we visit Buenos Aires?
Please do not come up with the idea that this is Europe. The idea that this is the "Paris of South America" must end now. It is a city full of different cultures, making it special and unique. The Afro-descendant community is quite large; the Koreans even have their own neighbourhood, the Chinese too; it is the second city with the most Jews in the world and not to mention the vital importance of the original peoples of these lands.
What time does the party start? What’s the nightlife scene like?
Buenos Aires is very nocturnal. The city starts operating at 10 am (when the banks open), and dinner begins at 9 pm. Therefore, the nightlife only starts after 1 am. There is something for everyone, but yes, you have to like the night because that's when the magic happens.
What’s next for Afrohunting?
Our main objective for this year is almost fulfilled. Open our gift shop (online store) to share the treasures that our hands have created from all this learned knowledge during the past five years. In the same way, we want to continue leaving virtuality and share our culture in physical spaces where we can generate a human exchange (which is very important for us). The idea of an Afrohunting tour Europe 2022 is flying all around. We want to keep traveling to share and always continue learning everything related to the world of arts, music, cultures, and our ancestry.