Group Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Title: Djukas for CARIFESTA
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Djukas for CARIFESTA
Series Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Hunter, Oliver
Publisher: Sunday Chronicle
Publication Date: 6/4/1972
Subject: Carifesta (1st : 1972 : Guyana), Festivals - Caribbean Area
Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: South America -- Guyana -- Georgetown
Funding: Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00199801
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA I 1972

Full Text





S"Where ancestral tadition
sl lives after 250 years;
X4 magical fire and glass-
ters, exotic wood sculptors
n4 freedom roams..."
Two hundred and fifty
ears ago they would have
1rd you that it was in the
w'ub of great grandmother
.AVO ABENKINA" that their
Du1ka people came into be.
Today .all bush negroes,
evn the smallest child,
t say the same thing, it's
1y that they do it differ-
tly now ... sometimes in
ong and dance... always in
strange whispers to the an-:
estral spirits and through
oilitable rtutals.
Today in the regions of
t Upper Surinam River
ad Brokopondo, in little
,kiwn Qregions of the Upe
amacca and Marowne
where the Djuka world u-
Adt in strange images of
the past, the people still
talk about te courageous
but lovable freedom fighter
"AENKINA" who ran
away from the plantation Ad-
"chem with a soa and two
daughters to set up the two
Oldest Djukas clans "OTO-
It washer son "PAMU"
who became the first great
Paramount Chief, of the
Today what is important
about the Djukas of Surinam
is the fact that they have
been able to retain a life
style and a culture that they
have brought with them
froo Africa.
Like the Black Caribs of
Behae and Dominica they
still sing the old songs and
dance the old dances...they
still eat their fire and chew
their glass like in West
Africa... ey still carve their
wood m that special way,
with that special art that
their forefathers had passed,
down to them. The Djukas I
"re like a mirror of Africa
in a foreign land.
Today what is also imnpor-
tant about the Djukas is
that some of them are pre-
Paring to come to CARI-
FESTA. For hundreds of
years these people who ran
away from the plantation of
the Dutch and English mas-
ters in the then.Dutch Guisi
ana have been thrilling the
world with their unique carv
ings. Their workashave reach.
ed the courts of Kings and
Queens and di itaies
throughout the world.

It is this carving techni-
que of the Djukas which
will mainly impress the
CARIFESTA crowd. Th e
Djukas are said to be the only
people living in the world of
the Americas who tell a story
in their carvings. Stories of
love and hate, of slavery and
freedom, of betrayal, friend-
ship and loyalty. Each Dju-
La carving is a story book.
And today in many Djuka
villages the youngsters cher-
ish carvings which their an-
cestors did ... carving which
are a virtual history book.
These carvings are an inspir-
ation to the contemporary
master carvers of the Dju
Joining their Djuka broth-
era at OARIFESTA would be
the Javanese and Hindustani
of Surinam. They will do
their songs and dance, show
their handicraft and paint.'
ings and their Kotomisi dis-
-But for a particular reason
Guyanese will have a special
interest in the Djukas when
they come for CARIFESTA;
mainly because they are sup-
posed to be some kind of
super beings with strange
magical powers and living in
an exciting world somewhere
in Surinam.
The Djukas are supposed to
be the people who created
Baccoo those little people
that can appear and disap-
pear at will...little things that
take many forms and shapes
that can be kept quiet only
when they are locked up in
black bottle...and who love
eating banana and milk.
Many of the older Guyan-
ese still have vivid memories
of Boysie and Boyah ... two
Baccoos who spread fear and
terror in the hearts of Guy-
anese throughout the country-
side a few decades ago.
Boysie and Boyah ,ne
looking ike an East Indian
and the other like a Negro
reigned for a long time on
the West Coast of Demerara
damaging properties, break-
ing windows and doing their
own thing ... until a noted
obeah man was said to have
travelled across to Surinam
and got the right powers and
dharms from the Djukas to
silence Boysie and Boyah for.
Many Guyanese even to-
day still believe that the
Djukas have strong super-
natural powers. This is sup-
norted by common remarks
lkle..."Chile ah hear he been
to Diuka countrv fo keep de
wvk." or; '"Bddy bo me na
want nuttin to do wid she...
yuh na. hear she cross pon
cayman sck."

It is said that anyone want.
ing to see the Djuka magic
man must first cross a river
on a cayman ba4k. The cay-
man is said to be controlled
by the marietan who is also
able to read the mind of his
prospective guest
Put according to Mr. Percy
WiJneairde, Consul General
f Surinnm in luvana, the
Djukas in Surinam do not
know that they possess .these
supernatural powers which
many Guyanese ascribe to
them. He agreed that the
Djaukas have strange cere-
monies...lhat they speak of
the spirit of the water, the
land and the air and the
trees...they get into a trance
after dancing for hours and
eat fire and glass when they
are completely oblivious of
their surrondings...that they
even dance in the fire,
The Dutch Consul explain-
ed that after a death in the
Djka' village there is a
period of mourning at the
end of which the bush
negroes celebrate Brokodei...
big festival of song and
dance, but he stressed that
"we know nothing about
Mr. Wijngaarde, however,
pointed out that the Djuka
people have a unique rever-
ence for ancestral things. He
related how the Djuhas, who
lived in villages around the
area that was to be flooded
as a result of the building of
the Hydroelectric Scheme at
Affobakka, refused to re
move to a new area in spite
of repeated efforts of the
Government They said "our
forefathers (Afo) have lived
here for many moons and so
have we...and the spirit will
not allow this place to be
But the dam was built, the
water flooded out the vil-
lages and the people were
forced to move to higher
ground. Yet today they still
have a special reverence for
the sacred soil where their
forefathers lived.
The Dukas are an interest-
ing people and through CAR-
FESTA we will be given an
opportunity to know more
about them. And maybe
through CARIFESTA we may
be able to shatter miscon-
ception that we hold about
them ... misconceptions of
their ability to make Baccoo.
One of the main aims of
CARIFESTA is to provide an

atmosphere in which a
greater understanding of the
many peoples of the Carib-
bean and Latin America will
CARIFESTA will give us a
glimpse of the people and
their heroes Aro Abenkina
and Cufty and Bolivar; their
gods-Makonaima and Oxala
and Yemanja. Though the
medium of dane, fo art
literature, drama, music
painting and and
educational exhi -
CARIFESTA will potray
the people's culture frm
August 25 to September 1.
CARIFESTA is a people's

In this Djuka carving a whole lofty story about their Guyanese neighbours is told... each nick, image amd fom haI its ow seaig.... all i a carving
and sculpture tells some story either about themselves or others

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