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Okantomi Theater is a remarkable Cuban company which devotes its work to children. It was founded in 1978, on January 28. So, this year we are celebrating its 40th anniversary.  Okantomi is an African word, it comes from Yoruba culture and it means “With all my heart”.

The theater was founded by the Master Pedro Valdés Piña, who was a disciple of Serguei Obratzov, in Moscow. Valdés Piña is a ventriloquist, jongleur, Puppets Theater’s professor and artistic director. Together his different colleagues have worked for 40 years with children and they have included many children in his cast, who after that become its actors.

The date of January 28th has a particular importance, because on the same date  in 1853 José Martí was born in Cuba. José Martí is our National Hero. He was a great Cuban intellectual and politic, who  dedicated part of his work to children. In the middle of his political life he prepared the Cuban struggle against the Spaniard colonialism. Then he wrote “The children are the hope to the world”.

Each January 28th all Cuban children remember Marti. This January 28th we celebrated as well the 40th anniversary of this beloved theatrical group with all our heart. Long life to Okantomi Group!

Esther Suárez Durán

Photo: Okantomi Theater – Baby and Mr. Pomposo