- Leticia Mori @leticiamori_
- BBC News Brazil in Sao Paulo
On Sunday, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was reinstated as Brazilian president and his wife, sociologist Rosangela da Silva, popularly known as ‘Janja’, coordinated the team that organized the inauguration ceremony.
Janja was personally responsible for bringing artists such as Pablo Witter, Valeska Popozuda, Paulinho da Viola, Margaret Menezes, Martinho da Vila and Gabby Amarantos to the 300,000-person party in Brasilia.
Janja, who is part of the transition team, influenced the President’s decisions on the Ministry of Culture.
He was the one who suggested the name of Margaret Menezes as the head of the portfolio after the rapper Emicida and the actress Marietta Severo declined the invitation.
Since Lula’s relationship with the sociologist was made public in 2019, the couple’s closeness has become clear and the extent to which Janja’s presence has become a major factor in the life of the Workers’ Party (PT).
Lula began making frequent references to his girlfriend — and then wife — to help convey an idea of his youthful health and happiness to the campaign of the current president, who at age 77 is running for a third term.
President Lula has repeatedly described himself as a “passionate man,” and during the pandemic he said more than once that he had “the energy of a 30 (year) and the sexual energy of a twenty-year-old” despite his age.
However, the phrase was dropped in last year’s campaign.
Additionally, under the influence of his new wife, Lula began to show more commitment and familiarity. with topics such as feminism and LGBT issues.
But who is Janja? How did she and Lula meet?
Historical fighter of PT and Feminist
The wedding dress Janja wore to marry Lula in May 2022 was decorated with embroideries from Timbapa dos Batistas in the Rio Grande do Norte interior.
A countryside with cacti under a moonlit sky was the theme of the dress. All over the dress were geometric stars similar to the PT star, but all white. In red, the bouquet consisted only of roses on Lula’s lap, who wore a royal blue dress.
A history buff of PTJanja was a party member before he met Lula: he joined in 1983 at the age of seventeen, and years later he served as party leader in Paraná’s legislature.
Lula met her in person in the mid-1990s when she was a recent graduate in social sciences at the Federal University of Paraná, already running for president and traveling across Brazil to learn about the country’s reality.
However, their romance began decades later, when Lula was already widowed by his second wife, former first lady Marissa Letizia, who died in 2017.
A pivotal moment in a relationship At the end of that year there was a meeting They were Left-wing artists and activists participated.
The relationship was publicly confirmed in November 2019 when the former president left the Federal Police Superintendence, where he was imprisoned in Curitiba.
The release comes after the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ruled that it is illegal to serve a sentence before the resources are exhausted. Subsequently, the convictions against Lula will be overturned by the court.
The two are not yet married, but Janja is listed as “family” on a list of people authorized to visit Lula in prison. She went every day, Lula later said.
“She lived in Curitiba and she brought me some food every night. She wouldn’t send me to wash my clothes, she wanted to wash them at home,” Lula said in an interview with a podcast in 2021.
“When I got out, I thought, ‘No way, I think I’m going to marry that girl.'”
Janja is 21 years younger than 56-year-old Lula.
He made his first public appearance next to Lula when he left the PF headquarters in 2019.
The two moved into a PT apartment in São Bernardo do Campo in Greater São Paulo, and the sociologist not only appeared next to him in photographs, but also began going to rallies, traveling, and attending PT meetings. To participate in the campaign before the presidential election.
Janja did not wait for permission to resurrect the 1989 campaign song Lula Law, angering some campaigners who believed he should not have made the decision.
Sociologist is also seen Like jealous and very protective. Rally watchers have noticed that Lula disrupts meetings when she is tired and creates a comfortable environment for her.
However, a friend of the couple says Janja is not aggressive in the campaign, but “naturally he cares about the president” and does nothing “that Lula doesn’t know and doesn’t agree with.”
He asserts that “there is a certain jealousy” of Janja and “perhaps even machismo” among PT’s members.
At the couple’s wedding reception this year, a clip featuring Lula La was shown, described on Lula’s YouTube page as “a surprise prepared by Janja for Lula”.
In the clip, arranged by the sociologist, several artists — and Janja herself — sing a version of the song, whose official name is Sem medo de ser felice (Not Afraid to Be Happy).
“Did you see this song? She’s my wife. This girl… I fell in love with her when I was in jail,” Lula said at the event. “She and I wrote each other 580 letters. Every day I sent her a letter, every day she sent me a letter.”
Letters were exchanged through friends visiting Lula in prison; Sometimes he sent flowers with letters through them.
Several times the socialite published emotional posts on Instagram with photos of flowers, but without specifying who her admirer was, since the relationship was not yet public at that time.
During the epidemic—more due to her desire than his, says a friend of the couple—both A rental house in Alto de Pinheiros, an upscale neighborhood in São Paulo.
With high walls and a pool out of sight of neighbors, the house has two exits, which made the task of the then-former president’s security team easier.
Janja loves dogs and has two dogs, including a furry black dog named Resistencia, who was rescued in Curitiba and is now going to live at Planaldo Palace.
Rethink the role pRhymer Eloves
Animal welfare is one of the favorite topics of the First Lady, who not only appreciates the issue of environmental protection, but also specializes in community management and sustainable development and has worked in the area.
Janja was the program coordinator Sustainable Development of Intermediate Hydroelectric DamThere he practiced and held various positions between 2005 and 2019.
Between 2012 and 2016, he was absent from the company and worked on the sustainability commission of companies linked to Eletrobrás in Rio de Janeiro.
Another subject close to Janja’s heart Protection of children and fight against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
Participate in the Make Beautiful campaign in collaboration with the National Committee to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents and ECPAT Brazil Network, National Networks for the Protection of Children and Adolescent Human Rights.
However, the sociologist has already said she wants to “rethink the role of the First Lady”, which has historically been linked to the idea of care work.
“We’ll work on becoming the first lady you’ve been waiting for,” she wrote on Instagram in August. “We’ll try To reframe this comment from the First Lady,” He said without elaborating.
At an event with Lula, the feminist said she was not acting as her husband’s “helper,” referring to former first lady Michelle Bolsonaro’s speech at a rally in September when she said “the woman is the helper of her husband.” .
“I’m not going to help him, I’m not going to be an assistant. I’m going to be by his side, together, fighting, so that I can give Brazil the hope that these people deserve,” Janja said. .
Lula is often asked about his wife, and while he’s not shy about saying how much he loves her, he avoids talking about what she’s like or her personality. “I don’t want to talk about Janja because she can talk about herself,” the president said this year, showing the influence of his wife’s feminism.
The president has already admitted that he is still in his second marriage to Marisa Letizia There was a “macho culture, “When I arrived, the woman was the factory worker who thought she was supposed to cook the food”, which has changed over the years.
“Now I’m with Zanja, he’s very political, very politically minded and very feminist,” Lula said in a conversation with singer Mano Brown on his “Mano a Mano” podcast.
Now you can get notifications from BBC Mundo. Download the latest version of our apps and activate them so you never miss our best content.
“Wannabe web geek. Alcohol expert. Certified introvert. Zombie evangelist. Twitter trailblazer. Communicator. Incurable tv scholar.”