Keeping faith with the ancestors: the preservation and practice of African traditions among the Maroons of Suriname

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The Maroons of Suriname, descendants of slaves of West African origin transported to the Americas, have since maintained their ideology of Africanness and their desire to return to Africa. They cherish the values of self-respect, self-dignity, self-confidence and self-determination that their ancestors once cherished, and their disregard for Western superiority and imposition appear to have been the motivation to resist oppression, and it explains their flight from the slave masters, and their maintenance of African traditions in the New World. The capacity of the ancestors of the Maroons to demand respect and dignity from the slave masters not only compelled plantation owners, their erstwhile Caucasian masters, to sue for peace by treaties, but also to give ‘periodic “tribute”’ to their former slaves. And this legacy has molded and shaped the Maroons of Suriname over time. Given this cultural tenacity it is suggested that the imminent death of the cultural life of the Maroons of Suriname cannot be in sight, despite exposure to and pressure of other ways of life.




Universitas, Vol. 12, 89-104