- An Interview with Mónica Carrillo*
Can you explain the meaning of the letters L-U-N-D-U?
"Lundu" is a word that means "successor" in the Quicongo language, which comes from Angola. It's a word that came to Peru through the northern region of the country, the Saña region. And currently it's a cultural root, a root from which have emanated many dance and musical manifestations. In Brazil, it's what they call the "ombligada." It's the belly dance from which "samba" comes. Generally speaking, lundu was a manifestation, a dance that made strong references to sexuality and procreation; it was a very erotic dance. That's why when the city of Saña was wiped out by flooding, the Catholic Church said it was because of lundu, because the lundu dance had invoked evil spirits, because it was a very sinful dance. In that sense, lundu has the meaning of "successor" but also a countercultural meaning.
Are you the founder of this organization? And why the name LUNDU?
Yes, I'm the founder. And the name was chosen precisely because of its meaning of "successor." That implied talk of a new, avant-garde generation with new ideas in relationship to the Afro-descendent movement. That also had a meaning pertaining to a sort of generational change, although not necessarily about working with young people, or young people for young people. There's the notion that there's only one identity that you can have as a young person, that you're good and pure. But in reality, I don't agree with this type of concept. Yes, you are young, but it's only for a period of time in your life. So the meaning of "successor" is about intergenerational perspectives.
From a counterculture perspective, the word "lundu" was stigmatized by the Catholic Church because of its bad connotations of eroticism or its sexuality. But we can use the word "lundu" in a different context, to address sexuality or sexual identity. LUNDU's main mission is to promote grassroots organizations comprised of Afro-Peruvians, particularly young people and children, with an emphasis on gender issues. And LUNDU is also dedicated to promoting new political and cultural understandings of racism, sexism, homophobia, and other types of discrimination. We want to have a lighthearted perspective regarding our Afro-descendance. LUNDU offers people new ways of understanding [End Page 321] art and of using this art as a methodology through which a political proposal can be generated. That's the idea.
Tell us more about the programs that LUNDU offers.
Recently, we've strengthened a great deal the work with children because they're a population that's not tended to, and we're going to work more with the elderly. Our goal is to promote the growth of the Afro-Peruvian population, to promote the betterment of their quality of life. That's like our recurring theme for the next ten years.
Development takes place through two factors. One is the deconstruction of internal racism so that later, a new thing can emerge. The methodology that we've proven and validated through the years is a very introspective and subjective methodology. The other factor is to improve people's quality of life through public campaigns, health, education, but also through the generation of development campaigns with the help of industry and the development of spaces so that participants can have access to higher education so the population can be educated. And through education they themselves can generate improvements in their lives. Our goal is to give the Afro-Peruvian population tools, especially the children and the young people, so that they can be capable of forging their own development by using psychological tools, using art.
We're working on two main projects. One is the black aesthetic, which promotes a better quality of life for children in very marginalized areas, in very poor places, with high levels of malnutrition, high levels of violence. The other project in rural areas, which are the symbolic sites of Afro-Peruvians, is that we're focusing very much on the...