Posthumous Honorary Doctorate for Surinamese poet Dobru

Dobru 1

A post by Peter Jordens.

As Agatha Castillo reports for De Ware Tijd, the Anton de Kom University of Suriname ( AdeKUS ) has awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities to the Surinamese poet, writer, nationalist and political activist Robin ‘Dobru’ Ravales (1935-1983). The Doctorate was handed to his widow, Yvonne Ravales-Resida. It is the first time in its 45 years of existence that the AdeKUS has awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctorate. “This is justice in light of what he had been denied back then,” Dobru’s widow emphasized during her acceptance speech. Ravales-Resida also had a gift for the AdeKUS. “At home there are boxes full of archival material. He scribbled his ideas even on cigarette cases.” The R. Dobru Foundation is making this archive available to the University. The appreciative audience received the news with loud applause. “We can now say that the blows that he received, mentally and physically, were not in vain.” Dobru studied at the Law School from 1956 to 1957. Shortly before graduating, he was removed from the program because of a political incident.

For the original article (in Dutch), go to

Dobru 2

Dobru was one of the most important figures in Who Eegie Sanie [Our Own Thing], a movement that promoted the Surinamese language and culture. He was an advocate of Surinamese independence and also a well-known proponent of Caribbean unity. He helped ensure that Suriname and other non-English speaking Caribbean nations participated in the first Carifesta held in Guyana in 1972. Furthermore Dobru made ​​a major contribution to the accessibility of Surinamese literature to the non-Dutch speaking parts of the Caribbean. ‘Wan’ [One], in which he expressed his hope for a united Surinamese people, is Dobru’s most famous poem, which follows here in the original Sranan Tongo and in the poet’s own translation into English.

Wan bon

someni wiwiri

wan bon

Wan liba

someni kriki

ala e go na wan se

Wan ede

someni prakseri

prakseri pe wan bun mu de

Wan Gado

someni fasi fu anbegi

ma wan Papa

Wan Sranan

someni wiwiri

someni skin

someni tongo

Wan pipel.

One tree

so many leaves

one tree

One river

so many creeks

all are going to one sea

One head

so many thoughts

thoughts among which one must be good

One God

so many ways of worshipping

but one Father

One Surinam

so many hair types

so many skin colours

so many tongues

One people.

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