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Samenvatting Creolization in the Caribbean

Door Asha gepubliceerd in Wetenschap en onderwijs

Creolization

E. Kamau Brathwaite

The single most important factor in the development of Jamaican society was a cultural action, (material, psychological, and spiritual), based upon the stimulus/ response of individuals within the society to their environment and to each other. The scope and quality of this response and interaction were dictated by the circumstances of the society’s foundation and composition.

“Creolization …which …may be divided into two aspects of itself. Acculturation, which is the yoking 9by force and example, deriving from power/prestige) of one culture to another ( in the case the slave / African to the European); and interculturation, which is unplanned, unstructured but osmotic relationship proceeding this yoke. The creolization which results ( and it is a process not a product) becomes the tentative cultural norm of the society”1.

Deze theorie is volgens Brathwaite een gevolg van complexe interactieprocesen tussen de verschillende etnische groepen in het Caraibisch gebied, waardoor een cultuur is ontstaan die noch Europees noch Afrikaans is.

In tegenstelling tot de plurale cultuur richt creolisering zich niet op de sociale segmentarisering of conflicten tussen de rassen en etnische groepen, maar benadrukt juist het proces van homogenisering zoals die plaatsvindt wanneer deze etnische groepn cultureel dichter bij elkaar komen2.

Creolization began with seasoning, a period of one to three years, when the slaves were branded, given an new name and put under apprenticeship to creolized slaves. The work routines, especially for plantation slaves, were the next important step in creolization.

Knowledge of white society is one thing. Imitation of its mere externals is another. The imitation went on, most easily among those in closest and most intimate contact with Europeans, among, that is domestic slaves, female slaves with white lovers, slaves in contact with missionaries or traders or sailors, skilled slaves anxious to deploy their skills, and above all, among urban slaves in contact with the wider life( E.K. Brathwaite 2001:109).

Where the most significant and lasting inter cultural creolization took place was the intimate area of sexual relationships that did the greatest damage to white white creole apartheid policy.

Creolization was thus, a cultural process that took place within a Creole society that is within a tropical colonial plantation polity based on slavery.

E.K. Braithwaite analyzed the creolization process in Jamaica, where the slaves and the white class, two different cultures of people had to adopt themselves to a new environment and to each other.

 

“The term Creole according to E. K. Braithwaite , appears to have originated from two Spanish words: “crier”, meaning to create, to imagine, to found, to settle and “colon” meaning a colonist, founder, settler. The two words were combined in Spanish to form “criollo”, which in its anglicized version is creole. The term creole was originally used to refer to all groups born in the region”3.

His own idea of creolization is according to Brathwaite, E.K. Brathwaite based on the notion of a historically affected socio-cultural continuum, in the case of Jamaica, were four interrelated and sometimes overlapping orientations exists. These four orientations according to Brathwaite are: European, Euro-creole, Afro-creole (or folk), and West Indian ( E.K. Brathwaite 2001:115).

Creolization in Suriname as inter-African syncretism

“From 1650 till 1850 was Suriname populated by africans and Europeans who, together with th e original Amerindian inhabitants, engaged in a creolisation process, which resulted according to Richard Price in a inter – African Syncretism, with more or less European and Amerindian influence4.

How the creolization process developed in Suriname will be explained through two examples.

Language

According to Jap A Joe there has been contact between various African cultures in the Caribbean, resulting in an “inter-African syncretism”, but more or less simultaneously there has been acculturation of that syncretism with European and Native-Caribbean cultures resulting in an completely new culture. That is why more recently in the footsteps of linguistics the term “creolization” is being used to describe this process of culture contact5.
A common language was necessary to facilitate the chain of command from master to slave. “ In the circumstances what emerged was a language which was a simplification and modification of the tongue of the masters”. “These are the so called creole languages of the plantation societies today”6. In Suriname the Sranan was developed as a creole language.

English is the base language from which Sranan, the creole language used by almost everyone in Suriname until today, has originated. After 1667 new slaves were imported directly from West-Africa, but the English based pidgin from which Sranan originated was still the contact language between slaves and their masters. “so , the original Suriname pidgin had already become firmly established among the slaves by 1675”.7

Because the slaves were drawn from different cultures, they had to develop a language on the plantation in order to communicate.

The language of the Great Caribbean has been designated in some scientific studies as the lengua única (sole language). It is the product and heritage of slavery and the forced migration of Africans brought by Europeans to work on their Caribbean plantations. At the same time, this lengua única is the product of the coexistence of peoples with different religions, races, languages, and cultures, including aboriginal groups, such as the Caribs, Mayans, Arawaks, Garifuna, Chibchas, Tainos, and Ciboneys, who mixed with the immigrants. There is no doubt that in a globalised world, a multilingual culture composed of multiple intertwined elements allows many forms of expression and has advantages compared to a monolingual culture8.

The Afro –Surinamese Christianity

Another episode in the creolization process starts in the 19th century when Moravian missionaries were getting more access to the plantations.

“We can conclude that the Christianity spread by the missionaries was widely accepted”. “But it wasn’t accepted lock, stock and barrel”.

This protestant variant of Christianity emphasizes according to Jap A Joe, personal reading and understanding the scriptures. It is not surprising that these “new Christians” were interpreting “official doctrine” based upon the “underlying grammatical principles” and “cognitive orientations” of the “inter –African syncretism”. Beliefs as a possibility of an anti –social use of mystical powers, known as “wisi”, are part of the inter –African worldview and were widely spread during slavery.

Jap A Joe argued that, due to increased fears of sorcery in the decades prior to Abolition caused by increasing economic differentiation resulting in diminishing solidarity among

the enslaved, is highly probable that the slave interpreted Christianity within an anti – sorcery tradition known to them and accepted in that context.

An “Afro – Surinamese Christianity” originated and it is still existing and evolving today, but it is not accepted by the churches9.

Although English and Spanish are two dominant languages in the Caribbean, historical and cultural dynamism has generated creole and patois languages—Papiamento Kreyol (Dutch Antilles) and Sranan Tongo, Ndjuka, Saramaccan, Kromanti, Hindustani, Bhojpuri, and Urdu (Suriname and Trinidad).

The combination of African linguistic structures with European words gave rise to the French creole in Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, Dominica, and French Guiana. In the islands under Dutch influence, the merging of Dutch, Portuguese, English, and African languages generated Papiamento. In Jamaica, English Creoles, patwa, and Kromanti developed alongside English.
Creoles as well as patois have been spoken for the last two centuries. They have usually been the languages of the poor, who historically have lacked work and educational opportunities. In some countries, their use has been discouraged in favor of the use of European languages. Fortunately, this has changed recently with the resurgence of nationalistic movements that defend the cultural importance of Creoles10.

Voetnoten/bron/references

1 R. M. Allen, C. Heijes, V. Marcha, Emancipatie en Acceptatie , Curacao en Curacaoenaars, Beeldvorming en identiteit, honderdveertig jaar na slavernij, B.V. Uitgeverij SWP Amsterdam, 2003

2R. M. Allen, C. Heijes, V. Marcha, Emancipatie en Acceptatie , Curacao en Curacaoenaars, Beeldvorming en identiteit, honderdveertig jaar na slavernij, B.V. Uitgeverij SWP Amsterdam, 2003

3 R. Reddock, Douglarisation and the Politics of Gender Relations in Trinidad and Tobago, A preliminary exploration, from: Caribbean Sociology, Introductory Readings, C. Barrow, R. Reddock, Ian Randle Publishers Kingston, Markus Weiner Publishers Princeton, James Currey Publishers Oxford, 2001, p.324

4 H. Jap A Joe, P. Sjak Shie, J. Vernooij, The Quest for Respect, Religion and Emancipation in Twentieth Century Suriname, uit: reader historisch Sociologie, H. Jap AJoe, Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname, 2006

5 International conference: Globalisation, Diaspora and Identity Formation. The Legacy of Slavery and Indentured Labour in the Caribbean, organized by the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Hotel Krasnapolsky, February 2004

6Ibid.

7Ibid.

8 Yvan Breton, David N. Brown, Milton Haughton and Luis Ovares ,Social sciences and the diversity of Caribbean communities, http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-102760-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

9Jap A Joe. H., Between cross and calabash. Creolization and codeswitching in Afro – Surinamese religions. International conference: Globalisation, Diaspora and Identity Formation. The Legacy of Slavery and Indentured Labour in the Caribbean, organized by the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Hotel Krasnapolsky, February 2004

10 Yvan Breton, David N. Brown, Milton Haughton and Luis Ovares ,Social sciences and the diversity of Caribbean communities, http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-102760-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

30/09/2016 02:23

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