Self-Fashioning and Visualization among the Cottica Ndyuka

In: Maroon Cosmopolitics

The chapter explores the role of visual artefacts, and how they relate to Ndyuka Maroon conceptions of creation, knowledge and learning. Families and young adults living in the bauxite town of Moengo (Suriname) use cameras and mobile phones as ‘devices’ to record and learn about their koni (traditional knowledge). In order to understand the place of still and video images, and their uses in a process of transformation of Cottica Ndyuka, this article describes the controversies arising from the invention of a ‘cultural event,’ the Poolo Boto Show, a parade of boats along the Cottica river near to Moengo, involving traditional dance, music and clothes, ‘controversially associated’ with funerary rituals. Some of the activities undertook by young Ndyuka while preparing for the festival included ‘making’ digital images, which, as artefacts, played an important role in discovering ‘what things were like in the past.’ The chapter seeks to describe how ‘creating’ and ‘learning’ how things were done in the past erupted into accusations, criticisms and ontological apperceptions concerning the Maroon person in the present.