Sérgio Vaz, poet and cultural activist in Berlin

Sérgio Vaz and the “Cooperifa”

Sérgio Vaz was born and raised in the “Zona Sul” (Southern zone) of São Paulo. This district is known for its social contrasts – being the home of a socially disadvantaged population as well as the luxury playground for the riches.

Until middle school Vaz visited a public school and worked in the service sector. Later Vaz started writing poems and prosa about the topics of the precarious people from São Paulo, which are discriminization, poverty, racism, violence and lack of education, among others. But his poetry also tells tales and stories about love, longings, the community and the culture of his own kind.

Sérgio Vaz wanted to bring the magic of poetry to the people from the favelas. So he founded the “Cooperifa”, a poetry event, which regularly takes place in bars in the Zona Sul of São Paulo. Everyone who came there could read, recite, sing or perform his own thoughts and poems. The events soon got a great reputation and became the starting point of a new cultural movement coming from the marginalized people of São Paulo.

Today, Vaz is known as one of Brazil’s most important and culturally relevant authors and social activists of Brazil. The “Cooperifa” has become a platform for those people, who usually don’t get to lift their voices. It’s a meeting point, sub-cultural event and a fortification for the community of the Zona Sul.

Credits photo, video and text to Urban-Artitude


Krytyka Polityczna
Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) is the largest Eastern European liberal network of institutions and activists. It consists of the online daily Dziennik Opinii, a quarterly magazine, publishing house, cultural centres in Warsaw, Łódź, Gdańsk and Cieszyn, activist clubs in a dozen cities in Poland (and also in Kiev and Berlin), as well as a research centre: the Institute for Advanced Study in Warsaw.