The trilogy 'The Ashanti Tales' is about the relationship the main character 'Waka Nikomo' has with all those who are descended from the many millions of African slaves, who were traded in the colonial period. Unfortunately, this kinship also means that the descendants of the African slaves have to deal with the absence of (personal) historical knowledge, which for some leads to a certain 'emptiness' and questions that mainly arise on the existential level.
Ideally, the description of colonial history is an objective reflection of the truth. One-sided descriptions that deal, for example, about the great economic benefits that were realized or the power struggle between the ruling powers and the actions of (military) executors, seriously miss the most important aspect, the humanitarian aspect. This 'shortage' also results in a lack of important historical knowledge, which is particularly unfavorable for the descendants of the slaves.
Writer and historian Stanley Elkins published in 1959 his book  'Slavery: A problem in American institutional and intellectual life'. In this he stated that the Africans had lost their original identity and character and that they were totally dependent on the behavior of their masters. They were forced to give up what characterizes them (religion, culture, folk history and genealogy) by the colonial rulers. Due to power relations, they had lost character and self-determination, the personal history of the slaves was hardly documented and within the current educational system the slavery period and the global consequences that this period had are treated far too briefly. This is reflected in the following quote from the first part:


After a forced exodus, the descendants of the African slaves merged into the cultures and customs of their rulers. They have 'forgotten' themselves. How they feel and think can no longer be traced back to the character of the ancestors. Far away they are from the road that leads to this. The voices of the forefathers seem downcast and silenced. But whoever opens his soul Waka... hears the whispering... 'Whispering' that will be turned into a cry for respect for our ancestors and with this, the recognition of our existence. The recognition of the pure and complete truth and its eternal quest, my friend (Quotation Mazra Basu "The Ashanti Tales" Part 1"The Lion returns").

The above quote is an excerpt from a conversation Waka Nikomo has with his companion and spiritual guide, lukuman Mazra Basu (clairvoyant). At that time, both are in Suriname, to which Nikomo traveled after receiving urgent advice in the Netherlands from another medium, Bonuman Babajide. From both mediums Nikomo is advised to look for the remains of the body he had in a previous life. These are buried in Afrikakondre (Africa), the continent from which his ancestors came and where he must go with the mission to lift an ancient curse, created by a winti-ritual performed with the body he had in that previous life. His personal mission is to discontinue the ritual in order to eventually find happiness, which is hindered by the curse. For this he has to 'return' to the land of his ancestors.



Religion and spirituality play a very important role in this treatise. The Winti religion in particular is leading. The main character Waka Nikomo is assisted in the story by two Winti Masters and a white Christian priest whom he meets in Africa, brother Samuel. The latter is a very insightful person, who respects the African religions. This cleric will help him complete his quest. In the story, the Kromanti and Mama Aisa play an important role as winti gods. Mama Aisa is the ancient deity whose origin and development go back thousands of years. Mama Aisa (Mama fu doti/mother earth) is the universal goddess, an important deity within the winti customs and the winti culture. The Kromanti belongs to the element of air.

The appendix that accompanies the story offers the reader the opportunity to delve more deeply into these gods and the winti religion. I recommend reading these first before reading the story. The story begins with a winti session (both Nikomo and bonuman Basu are in a trance), in which the very powerful medium Mazra Basu acts as a conduit for the Kromanti gods who have taken possession of him at that moment. Nikomo obtains the insights of the Kromanti and Mama Aisa through the Winti masters, who perform their rituals with the greatest purity..:

'The truth does not belong to man and therefore remains unadulterated in its purity. The day when she will unfold from under the immense rubble of all lies and takru maniri (misbehavior), as the most vulnerable bromki (flower) [broomki], that day will come, he who is nameless will not perish. (Chapter 4 Kromantitongo*, quote from 'The Ashanti tales, The lion returns').


The words Nikomo hears during his visions and during his sessions with the winti masters of the Kromanti and Mama Aisa have a poetic quality. The winti gods express themselves in poetic terms. This story is presented in different writing styles.

*Kromantitongo is the language of the Cromanti gods. When the bonuman [bonoemang] is taken over by the Kromanti, this language is spoken.

The characters regularly use words from Sranan Tongo, the Surinamese official language. It is a fact that many Surinamese also use certain words from Sranang Tongo when conversing in Dutch, which results in a specific use of language that is also reflected in this story. In order to arrive at the correct pronunciation, I regularly also mention the phonetic spelling. Words from Sranan Tongo are in italics and are listed in the glossary accompanying each section.

What I also have to emphasize with regards to the descendants of the slaves in Suriname, is that most of them are descended from the Western Bantu kingdoms, the Ewe-Fon and the Fante-Akan. Religiously, these peoples had much in common. They believed in a supreme god who was seen as the creator of man and the universe. Under this supreme god there was a hierarchical structure consisting of higher and lower gods. They also believed in the immortality of the human soul and the ancestor cult associated with it. It is these important aspects that different (African) religions have in common and that are expressed in the Winti religion in Suriname.


2. The forced exodus

Although I, as a Dutch writer of Surinamese descent, am familiar with the excesses and atrocities that occurred in the colonial period, I am nevertheless regularly struck by feelings of misunderstanding and sadness. Studying the visual material in particular is very confronting and convinces me of the necessity that prevails in this area, which means, among other things, that historical events should also be examined from the position of the people who were enslaved and their descendants. What needs to be especially clarified and emphasized is that this period of slavery is an era whose long-term effects will be present for a very long time, or rather, forever. This period of slavery, compared to other periods of slavery, has had a major impact on the history of mankind. Some argue that slavery has always happened and try to downplay these facts. It is not understood how important an honest description of this period is.

The community, and especially the youth, have a right to be informed about one of the greatest changes that have taken place in the history of mankind. This is a very important aspect of global history. Slavery has taken place on an immense scale, and there has been no other period in which the timeless universal human rights have been violated so horribly and for so long as in the colonial period. Many believe that for this reason alone, the humanitarian aspect is the most important part of the colonial era and not the economic aspect and the roles that colonial policy makers and implementers played in it. Especially in the present time we should realize this and acknowledge it respectfully, for example by commemorating en masse the victims of the colonial era and telling about them.
Nevertheless, current education falls seriously short when it comes to appropriately describing the period in which a global demographic realignment has taken place. There is no nation as dispersed as the African nation, and the right to the fullest knowledge possible and the duty to respect this right is undeniable. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "There is a morality of rulers and a morality of slaves." “The moral and story” of the colonial rulers is well known. This is reflected in a certain way in current education. Remarkably enough, however, 'the morality and story of the slaves' remains omitted.

Nietzsche's statement points to a clear and human difference in perception. It is therefore of great importance to strive for the most objective possible description of human history. Although this trilogy is a fictional treatise, it also points to the dark side of the colonial era, which unfortunately is still insufficiently exposed. One of the consequences of this is that the descendants of the African slaves often do not or hardly know their (family) history. There is little traceable to ancestry and a common history stretching back thousands of years. The creation of historical works, which also take into account the perspective of the oppressed peoples, is an absolute necessity and this also applies to the writing of novels and short stories on this subject.

Various fist books, historical reference works, novels, short stories, eulogies and songs have been written, which describe in an almost glorifying way (the "golden" age*) the role of the colonials, which is clearly reflected in the educational system and the one-sided general image that people still have of this time. The community and especially the youth need to be made aware of the fact that there has been a forced exodus for some 400 years and that more than 18 million Africans have been shipped to the United States and Brazil alone in these 'golden times'. School-age children are hardly informed about these facts during history lessons. Other important historical periods are extensively discussed. The second world war, for example, is described extensively and thematically, which is of course extremely necessary. What is therefore considered important to pass on to students and pupils, is discussed in detail during the lessons and is always subject to extensive research.
Yet why are certain historical facts still too sparsely described and taught? For example, how did the transport of the slaves take place? What did they experience along the way? What techniques did the colonials use during the slavery period? (How did they get the slaves?, for example). From which nation do the people descend? Where did they first live for thousands of years and who is the profen (progenitor) of a bere (family)? The need for this knowledge is stronger than ever. A man who desires knowledge and insight concerning himself must know his history. This is an undeniable right. The right to knowledge and the insightful education that should be associated with this. This task is still not accomplished to an acceptable degree. In addition to Stanley Elkins, there were also historians such as Du Bois who wrote about slavery history during the interwar period. However, the work of these historians was not taken seriously and portrayed as folk tales and black folklore. Several works by a number of historians, who play an important role in colonial historiography, are listed at the back of the book.
Furthermore, I would like, in particular, to draw the reader's attention to the work of my late uncle Dr. Jozef Prabudass Siwpersad. He was a historian who made significant contributions to colonial historiography. During his career he produced the books “The Dutch government and the abolition of Surinamese slavery 1833-1863 (dissertation)” and the book “Gij zijt blank en wij zijn zwart”. The studies he conducted were very extensive and detailed. His books are well thought out and therefore more than worth reading. I did not use his studies to write the first part. However, his work has considerably increased my understanding of this matter.

I dedicate this series of short stories to those who endured the many hardships that characterized the slavery period, as well as to their descendants whose future was to be changed forever. I also dedicate this book to the colonizers and their descendants. May knowledge and an honest description of human history contribute to the mutual harmony that should arise and the pursuit of common happiness. In a personal sense I also dedicate this work to my son Arjuna Ajodhiapersad Siwpersad. My mother late Aisa Siwpersad Kasimbeg. My father late Mr. Jacob Ajodhiapersad Siwpersad and my brother the late Widjai Samuel Siwpersad.



*The profen is the ancestor, the founder of a bere (family connection), usually it is the one who was transported to the colonies to be exploited there as a slave. So the profen is usually the one who arrived first. In our opinion, these types of concepts should, for example, be taught in secondary schools. Source: Winti, an Afro-American religion in Suriname by Dr. C. Wooding.