Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai gingas to grow trees in the dessert

Capoeira exhibition for the opening of Greenlife NPO’s new office

Capoeira exhibition for the opening of Greenlife NPO’s new officeOn the 18th of March 2010, after years of managing their activities from their home, the non-profit-organisation for environmental protection Greenlife NPO celebrated the opening ceremony of their new office in Luwan District, Shanghai. Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai took part in the set of performances to entertain the guests, which included Chinese traditional dancing, contemporary dancing, a comedian show, and a couple of music performances.

Over ten capoeristas displayed their kicking, singing and percussion abilities for a crowd of more than 250 people. Most of the audience −mainly Chinese and Japanese− wasn’t familiar with the art, but after a couple of minutes of uncertainty on their faces, they soon grasped the fun of the game and the rhythm of the music, then the clapping and cheering spread in the hall. The climax of the show came when Guerreiro went upside down in a solid bananera, that provoked a wave of excited gasping. The acrobatic position and his upper body −lush with masculinity and suddenly unveiled by the fall of his T-shirt− were equally compelling. Sushi delighted us with a flash come back from Japan appearing just before the show to treat us with his neat technique. The audience didn’t notice, but Pombinha could not overlook his change in shape since he left the group.

The host of the ceremony, Greenlife NPO, is in an environmental protection organisation with a very definite mission: fighting the fast spreading desertification in China. It was founded in Japan by a Shanghainese lady, who’s gradually becoming a much admired and awarded personality: Yi Jiefang. The story of how she came to start such an enterprise is a very moving one. She was a middle-class immigrant working mother in Japan when she lost her son in a motocycle accident when he was going to university. She lost her most precious thing in life. She didn’t wish to live, until she found a new reason for it: fulfilling her son’s wish in life; stopping the dreadful sandstorms that swiped his motherland by planting a vast extension of trees on the desert of Inner Mongolia.

Yi Jiefang managed to turn all her grief into the fuel to undertake a seemingly impossible mission, and after six years of great struggle, she has already managed to plant half a million trees in the Hure banner, Tongliao prefecture, in Inner Mongolia. The organisation estimates that they will reach a million trees −the number of trees originally agreed with the local government− next month (April 2010) thanks to the support achieved in recent years by some government organisations and volunteers from all over China and beyond.

The participation in the opening ceremony of Greenlife NPO’s new office has been a opportunity for Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai to somehow support the much needed environmental protection activities of the organisation and, at the same time, has given the group the chance to reach a large Chinese audience. Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai, in its determination to spread and promote Capoeira culture in China, has approached a bit more of the Chinese community.

Yi Jiefang in the name of Greenlife NPO ( sends her thanks to all the capoeristas who warmed up the event with good entertainment and a little spice. We are also thankful to her, for her efforts in preserving our environment and being so generous with her motherly love.

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