12 July 2014
Last updated at 06:34 ET
Brazil is a country with a huge African heritage, as a result of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Millions of Brazilians are of African descent. But what is it like for Africans who have moved there in order to look for work or to study? BBC Africa’s Manuel Toledo is in Brazil for the World Cup and has been meeting some of them.
Victor Macaia (centre) and his wife, Melanito Biyouha, are from Cameroon. They opened an African restaurant, Biyou'Z, in Sao Paulo six years ago. “In the beginning, 80% of our customers were African. Now it is 90% foreigner and Brazilian, and 10% African. All our food is African,” he said.
“It was difficult for us to start the business. Sometimes you don’t have the documents, the money or the experience. It takes time for people to know you. You get time to work, time to suffer and time to gain. Now we are doing very well,” Mr Macaia added.
Ale Fall Sow, from Senegal, is teaching management studies at IESB university in Brasilia. "I’ve been in Brazil for 26 years. I first came here as a student. My wife and children are Brazilian. They love Africa and go there on holiday as often as possible.”
"In Brazil, there is a variety of races but there are big regional variations. Because of historical reasons, there are more black people in the north of the country," says art student Tresor Mukendi Muteba from the Democratic Republic of Congo. "I feel very welcome here. The pride of Brazilian culture is based on African culture. Because of that, sometimes I feel like I’m in Africa.”
“I’ve been here in Brazil for three or four months," says Uju Juliana from Nigeria. "Brazil is a very interesting place to be. It’s a very nice place. African women - we feel at home here. I would say that in Brazil, they respect women even more than in my country.”
Lacine Sanogo from Ivory Coast says: “I came here to play football. But here it’s a bit difficult, especially for us foreigners. We’re not given enough opportunities. I’ve been playing with a second division club but I recently had a knee injury. The way football is played in Brazil is totally different from Africa. I’ve learned many things.”
El Hadji Omar, from Senegal, is selling football-related souvenirs on the streets: “I came to Brazil two months ago, to look for work. I don’t know how long I’m going to be here but I like this country. Like everywhere else, there are good and bad people. But I find that Brazilians are very kind to us Africans.”
“I’ve been here for four months," says Yussif Muhktar from Ghana. "I came to work. Brazilians are very kind people, they love everybody and I appreciate that, I love that.”
Serge Tchieguen from Cameroon says: “I’m a sports management consultant and that’s a field in which Brazil is quite advanced. So my experience here has been great. I think I’ve changed for the better since I came here four years ago, in the way I think and the way I work.”
Ifeanyi Okafor, from Nigeria, is an engineer with an oilfield services company. "I live in Macae near Rio de Janeiro. I’ve lived here for two years. It’s the first time I’ve worked permanently outside Africa and it’s been lovely. Things like the work culture and the language barrier have exposed me to a different part of the world. I have lots of Brazilian friends."