Descendants of the enslaved Africans of Surinam must continue to follow the path once laid out by Marcus Garvey (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) if they are to succeed in their struggle for the betterment of their social, civil and mental and economic position in society. That was the common thread throughout the various talks at the Marcus Garvey Day celebration on August 17 in Kwakoe Square.
Garvey is honored as a prophet who made it his mission, among other things, to champion civil rights in North America and the Caribbean, and to unite Afros in the diaspora. This bundling should contribute to improving their social, societal and economic progress. Garvey dreamed of a return of all descendants of African slaves to ‘Mother Africa’.
Armand Zunder, Chairman of the National Repair Committee Suriname (NRCS), gave those present a brief report on his communication with a delegation from the Dutch House of Representatives on a working visit to Suriname this week. The theme of the visit was Holland’s colonial past with a focus on the slavery past.
Zunder gained a lot of support from the Rastafarians when he emphasized that slavery took place in Suriname and that it would be more appropriate to apologize if someone from the highest echelons of the Netherlands would offer it at the Independence Square in Paramaribo instead of in the Netherlands. . While significant progress has been made in the fight for compensation, Zunder said there is still a long way to go.
Kwami Marengo (Rastafari Makandra Foundation) has seen the growth of the Rasta movement in Suriname in recent years. The unification he always strove for has in a sense been achieved with the creation of the Federation. He believes that the collaboration can become even closer, since the association is an association of independent organisations. Marengo encourages Rastafarians to stay active, not to be afraid to start small and not to give up if growth is slow.
GARVEY FOR ALL BLACKS
Iwan Wijngaarde, chairman of Fedrasi fu Afrikan Srananman, pointed out that Garvey stood up for all blacks. However, he appreciates that the Rastafarians take the lead in commemorating him annually. Wijngaarde praised the Rastafarians for their strong family and family ties and encouraged them to stick to them. At the same time, he urged them to show more seriousness and discipline when it comes to cooperation, training and organization.
In his congratulatory message, Clifton Braam, Deputy Director of Culture, dwelt on the aspect of discipline, self-respect and mutual respect. He called on the organization to organize itself more strongly and increase solidarity for a stronger image. He emphasizes that in this way a stronger message is sent and more can be achieved. Braam stumbled over the low turnout at the start of the festivities.
TOGETHER WITH OTHERS
According to Ronny Aloema, a member of the National Assembly, it is of eminent importance that Afro-Surinamese do everything and leave nothing behind to preserve Garvey’s legacy and follow in his footsteps. However, he hastened to say that the bundling of descendants of Africans in Surinam should in no way lead to the polarization of the unique Surinamese multi-ethnic, cultural and religious society. As convinced as he is of the benefits of grouping blacks, he also knows that cooperation with others can contribute positively to achieving the set goals.
Aloema was accompanied by colleague Henk Aviankoi who, on behalf of Parliament Speaker Marinus Bee, conveyed his congratulations to the Rasta community and all others who recognize Garvey’s special contribution to awareness of Afros in the Diaspora.
Saskia Kontino, president of the RFS, has called for more unity and more solidarity, both among Rastafarians and among all Afros in Suriname, with Marcus Garvey’s legacy in mind.
The official part of the program was introduced and concluded by Freddy Main, RFS spokesman and RFS representative in NRCS. After this, the meeting continued well into the evening with music and cultural performances.