Charles Chang (De Ware Tijd newspaper) reports that this month, Winti, the Afro-Surinamese religion, will be presented for the first time on a public platform in Suriname by way of a three-day workshop in the Congreshal in Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital. Our thanks to Peter Jordens, who brought the item to our attention and translated the original Dutch report.
The workshop is being organized by the Fiti Fu Wini foundation that wishes to reach youths between the ages of 18 and 35 in particular. “As a young person myself, I know that a lot is being lost because elders are passing on insufficient knowledge,” says Euritha Tjan A Way, board member of Fiti Fu Wini. “For example, they may perform a certain act, without explaining why they do so – for example placing a ‘blue’ [Crown Blue square laundry whitener] to protect a child. Meanwhile, we get a lot of questions from youngsters about the procedures of our religion and the deeper meaning behind them. So we want to meet that demand and explain the underlying holistic approach.”
The purpose of the workshop literally called ‘The New Face of Winti’, which will be held from September 16 to 18, is twofold. Fiti Fu Wini wants first to introduce the youth to ‘the oldest religion’ in the world and second to do away with the thinking that Winti is mainly a matter of visiting a ‘bonuman’ [healer/priest] or holding a ‘wintiprey’ [ritual dance event]. According to the organization, scientific proof has shown that the first human being lived in Africa. The relationship that Winti faithful have with the Supreme Being Anana Keduaman Keduampon is modeled on the relationship that the first humans had with the Creator.
Tjan A Way: “Winti experts have published several books, but people read only the topics that interest them and you cannot ask a book questions. Therefore we want to involve youngsters in an interactive manner through presentations, panel discussions, group work, slide shows, dance and recital. Winti is a religion and we want to transmit its positive vibrations. When your life is out of balance, things can go wrong and you may need to correct them. Do not do anything against Anana; do not allow your talents, knowledge and abilities to dominate you, but live honorably and do the right thing. The beauty of Winti is that it forces you to constantly improve yourself. My conversion to the Winti faith has bettered my life considerably and has changed the way I look at other human beings.”
“The only thing that we ask is that people respect the Winti religion, just as the Winti religion respects them,” says Tjan A Way. The organization requests that workshop participants pay a small contribution for food and beverages. After the workshop it is the intention of Fiti Fu Wini to publish a volume that will help return this part of the Afro-Surinamese heritage to the community in the form of clear, understandable information.
For the original report (in Dutch), go to http://www.dwtonline.com/website/nieuws.asp?menuid=41&id=94114 or see http://www.starnieuws.com/index.php/welcome/index/nieuwsitem/7000.
Photo credit: Reinier Tholen, one of the facilitators of the workshop called ‘The New Face of Winti’ that will be held from September 16 to 18 in the Congreshal From the collection of Fiti Fu Wini.