Keti Koti 1 July 2023 by Jennifer Baarn

Keti Koti 1 July 2023 by Jennifer Baarn

160 years ago slavery was abolished in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and all of its overseas territories.

As the current king of the Netherlands, H.E. Willem Alexander expressed official remorse at the 160th commemoration, I want to dedicate this commemoration to those descendants who never forgot.

For the past 160 years, every year on the 1st of July thousands of Surinamese families dressed up in cultural attire and commemorate their ancestors. No matter how few and how often ridiculed for commemorating;
We were told that that we were victimizing ourselves
We were told that we embraced the enslaved mentality
We were accused of living in the past
  • I commend the government of Suriname, for acknowledging the 1th of July as a national holiday
  • I commend our religious leaders, of all denominations, who have always held prayer and ceremonial sessions
  • I salute our cultural, historic and artistic leaders who relentlessly document and teach about the the legacy of our ancestors.
  • I pay homage to my parents and family, as this commemoration day was sacred to them
  • I applaud my Afro-Surinamese people. You refused to forget.....and in your persistence you forced others to acknowledge.
Reparations starts with us as descendants. It starts with us recognizing, acknowledging, commemorating and building a legacy of personal excellence.
I celebrate each and every one of you today in your koto, your pangi and your kamisa...with your calabashes, your prayers and your candles.

We are our ancestor's wildest dreams. Wan swit manspasi.

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