Recently I posted a list of African Surinamese words with an African origin. In the following post I will give examples of everyday use of some of the words on the list.
The song in the next Youtube video is a typical song where “the haters” are being addressed. It starts with a monologue in what I think is “Kromanti”, an Akan language that has taken a mystical form in Suriname. Much like with speaking in tongues in some Christian churches, you’re only able to speak Kromanti when you’re either heavily in trance during a Winti ceremony, or that deeply spiritually connected to your ancestors.
M’a no lau-lau boi, m’a wan kankan man= Two words of (potential) African origin in the very first line of the song! Lau (also written as law, Kikongo) which means crazy is already on the list, and kankan which I suspect has an African origin. Kankan means great, big, or strong. I’ve seen this name used as alternative name for Mansa Musa, the Malian king and the richest man to have ever lived. An alternative name for him was Kankan Musa. Further along in the song, we get all kinds of traces of Africa. All the mentioned words should be on the list.
2:07 Meri mi, Para obia, meri mi dan un’ sa si! Bother me, Para (a district in Suriname) obia, bother me, and you will see!
03:17 Anana de let da mi fesi (n)anga den gan wan (na) baka= Anana (God) is right in front of me, and my ancestors have my back.
03:39 Mi na datra Apuku, mi n’e yere begi-o= I am doctor Apuku, and I don’t hear prayers ( I hope I heard it right, considering as I now know, Apuku is derived from Nzambi Ampungu, the Kikongo name for God the creator)
And of course there are numerous unu, na, soso sprinkled in the song. Enjoy!
Source: ILOVESU_OFFICIAL, (ALEKE ROOTS RIDDIM) TJATJIE FT ENVER, BEER EN ERNIE WOLF – KAN KAN MAN, youtube
The next video is a short horror movie about one of the folkloric figures mentioned on the list. Which one it is, I won’t say in order not to spoil the movie. Can you guess which one it is after watching the movie.. :-)? It has English subtitles. I will say that at the 03:23 mark, she says “Adyakasa!”, which was also previously posted. There’s a whole series of these short Surinamese horror movies. They’re highly recommended!
Source Little Wolf Imagination- Sranan Folktales – Ep5 XIOMARA (Short Horror Serie), youtube
The next song is basically a prayer to the Akan God of the Earth Asesa or Aisa or Mamaisa (Mother Aisa) a we call her. I say she because she’s usually represented as an older woman in Winti, the African Surinamese religion. There are other Youtube videos with better visuals of this song, but the Youtube video posted here, showcases by far the best rendition.
Sranan lyrics English translation
Mamaisa, Mamaisa , Mamaisa , Mamaisa,
wi de beg’ alen 3x We are begging/praying for rain 3x
Bikasi nyanyan gron mu(s )gro 2x Because our fieldcrops must grow 2x
Fisi na ini liba watra, Fish in the river water,
Kow na ini buruwei, Cows in the farmer’s meadow
No mu dede, mama 2x Must not die, mama 2x
Begi, w’e begi mamaisa, Begging, we are begging mamaisa,
na tapu kindi on (our) knees
Source: Music of Suriname, Gerda Havertong- Mamaisa, youtube
The next video showcases a ceremony dedicated to the kabra, which in the Winti religion are the oldest ancestral spirits. If my theory is correct, and this word is in fact of Ancient Egyptian origin, than this is the 182736393th time there is proof of extreme culture preservation in African Surinamese culture. This particular ceremony was held a couple of years ago in the Netherlands.
Aisa Winti- KABRA NETI MUIDERKERK 2013 ( PART 6 )
There are many more examples of traces of Africa in everyday Surinamese language, however this post would become entirely too long. I would just, to end, direct you to my post Nursery Rhymes Nostalgia for Surinamese children’s song. One about the Akan namedays, and the other about Anansi the spider. Enjoy
6 thoughts on “They connected …! (2)”
I love this, thank you for the breakdown.
Question: What are your thoughts on Pan-Africanism, specifically for African Americans who want to culturally reconnect with the continent? Do you think we can adopt a culture, or do we need to be adopted in through marriage?
First of all, Africans of the Diaspora, which includes African Americans are African. African American culture is also African, albeit a different kind of African, but African none the less. You don’t need to adopt A culture in my opinion.
Yes, I like to post about my country Suriname, and the many ways we were able to preserve African culture, and I am very proud of that. But that doesn’t mean that others, like for example African Americans, do not have Africa also within their African American culture.
There are so many examples of African elements within African America, some subtle and subconscious (the black church in America) and some very overt ( (blues) music sounds just like music from Mali), just like they show up in Suriname.
On top of that, why would you adopt A culture, as in a singular one, when you yourself are comprised of this melange of African cultures? A melange that makes what you have to offer unique to the Diaspora? Wouldn’t that be ignoring part of your heritage? I wouldn’t want you to do that.
To me Pan-Africanism is about coming together in spite of our differences. If you’re Yoruba, stay as Yoruba as you are. If you’re Ashanti, stay as Ashanti as you are. And if you’re African American, stay as African American as you are. But come together, learn from each other IN SPITE OF potential differences, and let’s work towards a common goal: The uplifting of African people.
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Well said, I agree with that.
I started questioning certain elements of our culture here, namely religion, when I became more astute about Continental African history. One of the biggest problems I have with the Pan-African conversations are the forced assimilation into a culture. African people aren’t monolithic, which is a strength. So we should be able to keep are own identities but still advocate for each other politically.
I am a huge proponent of intercultural unions, though. Continental Africans and Diasporan Africans intermarrying is the highest form of Pan-Africanism in my opinion.
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Nice piece Ana
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Thank you so much, I’m glad to read you enjoyed it ..:-)