suriname

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Wan Pipel (1976) dir. Pim de la Parra / Suriname

Situated in the 1975 Independence of Suriname Wan Pipel (One People) is a classic postcolonial film which shows Roy an Afro-Surinamese Phd student studying in the Netherlands who returns to Suriname after receiving a telegram that his mother is ill. In Suriname he falls in love with his country and also a Hindustani nurse Rubia and I will leave the description here so you guys can enjoy the film. I loved how the director incorporates postcolonial national unity and the diversity of Suriname showing It’s Indigenous, Afro-Surinamese, Hindustani, Javanese and Chinese communities.   

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Viviane Sassen: Pikin Slee, Suriname (2014) *new work hurray! currently on exhibition in CapeTown

Pikin Slee is the second-largest village on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the rainforest of Suriname. Its 4000 inhabitants are mostly members of the Saramacca tribe, their ancestors Maroons who escaped slavery on the Dutch plantations in the 18th century.

The Saramacca are isolated from the outside world, living without running water, electricity, roads or the internet. The only way to access the village is by canoe, a journey of about three hours up-river. They grow their food on small agricultural plots, producing cassava bread, pressed maripa palm oil and dried coconut.

*previously posted and praised here

**as always I love that Sassen’s subjects keep their secrets and mystery. 

Juvenile planthopper

Many planthopper species exude waxy secretions from the abdomen, and these sometimes form long strands, such as can be seen in this photo. The long waxy strands may provide protection from predators — it could be that they fool a predator into attacking the wrong part of the insect, and the wax breaks off while the insect jumps to safety. The juvenile planthopper in this photo is only about 5 mm long | image by Trond Larsen

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Winti is an Afro-Surinamese traditional religion that originated in South America and developed in the Dutch Empire; this resulted in the syncretization of the religious beliefs and practices of Akan slaves with Christianity and Indigenous American beliefs.

The foundation of Winti based on three principles: the belief in the supreme creator called Anana Kedyaman Kedyanpon; the belief in a pantheon of spirits called Winti; and the veneration of the ancestors. There is also a belief in Ampuku (also known as Apuku) which are anthropomorphic forest spirits. An Ampuku can possess people (both men and women) and can also pass itself off as another spirit. Ampuku can also be water spirits, and are known in such cases as Watra Ampuku

Winti is described according to C. Wooding as:

"…an Afro American religion, within which the belief in personified supernatural beings occupies a central position. These personified supernatural beings can take possession of a human person, switch off their consciousness, as it were, and thereby reveal things concerning the past, present and future as well as cause and/or heal illnesses of a supernatural nature." (C. WOODING, Winti: een Afro Amerikaanse godsdienst in Suriname (Meppel: 1972)

Another Winti expert (H.J.M. Stephen, 1985) describes Winti as:

"…primarily a religion, which means that respect for the divine, worship and prayer are central. In addition, it has a strong magical aspect, which often has been emphasized too one-sidedly and unfairly. Magic involves the influence of earthly events by supernatural means."

History of Winti

During slavery, members of various West African tribes were brought to Suriname. They came from kingdoms that had certain religious aspects in common, like the belief in a supreme creator God who lives far away from the people, leaving the world to gods or spirits who are less powerful than him, and the belief in an immortal human soul and the related ancestor worship.

After the abolition of slavery in 1863, a ten-year period of economic slavery followed known as ‘De Periode van Staatstoezicht’ (the period of State Supervision). The period of State Supervison ended in 1873 and was followed by a very long period of mental and cultural slavery. The former slaves and their descendants were forced to convert to Christianity and for nearly 100 years (1874–1971) practicing Winti was forbidden by law. They were also forced to speak Dutch, education in their own language ‘Sranan Tongo’ was forbidden, and children were not allowed to speak Sranan Tongo in schools.

The Soul

It is believed that a human being has three spiritual aspects, the Dyodyo, Kra, and Yorka. Through these aspects human beings are integrated into the supernatural world. The Dyodyo are the supernatural parents who protect their children and may be higher or lower spirits. They received the pure soul, the Kra, from Anana and give that to a child. The Kra and Dyodyo determine your reason and mentality, while the biological parents provide blood and the physical body. Yorka, the other spiritual part, absorbs the life experiences. After the death of the physical body, the Kra goes back to the Dyodyo and the Yorka goes to the realm of the dead.

Pantheons

There are four Pantheons or groups.

  • 1. The Earth pantheon with the Goron Winti.
  • 2. The Water Pantheon with Watra Winti.
  • 3. The Forest Pantheon with Busi Winti.
  • 4. The Sky Pantheon with Tapu Winti.

Certain groups of Maroons also distinguish a fifth pantheon, the realm of the death.

The Earth pantheon

  • Aisa
  • Loko
  • Leba
  • Fodu
  • Luangu
  • Goron-Ingi

The water pantheon

  • Watra Ingi
  • Watra Kromanti

The forest pantheon

  • Busi Ingi
  • Ampuku
  • Kantasi
  • Adumankama

The sky pantheon

  • Opete or Tata Ananka Yaw
  • Sofia-Bada
  • Awese
  • Aladi
  • Gisri
  • Tando
  • Gebry
  • Adjaini

References

  1. Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (1979). Nieuwe West-Indische gids. 53–55. Nijhoff. p. 14.
  2. Wim Hoogbergen (2008). Out of Slavery: A Surinamese Roots History. LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster. p. 215. ISBN 9783825881122.
  • Wooding, Ch.J. (1972). Winti: een Afroamerikaanse godsdienst in Suriname; een cultureelhistorische analyse van de religieuze verschijnselen in de Para. Meppel: Krips.
  • Wooding, Ch.J. (1984) Geesten genezen. Ethnopsychiatrie als nieuwe richting binnen de Nederlandse antropologie. Groningen: Konstapel.
  • Stephen, H.J.M. (1983). Winti, Afro-Surinaamse religie en magische rituelen in Suriname en Nederland. Amsterdam: Karnak.
  • Stephen, H.J.M (1986). De macht van de Fodoe-winti: Fodoe-rituelen in de winti-kultus in Suriname en Nederland. Amsterdam: Karnak.
  • Stephen, H.J.M. (1986). Lexicon van de Winti-kultuur. Naar een beter begrip van de Winti-kultuur. Z.pl.: De West.