The end of slavery celebrated with song, flowers and libation

The mayor and his wife were among those attending the Keti Koti ceremony in the Van Abbe Museum garden. Image source: Studio040/Pleun Wolters

The ceremony to commemorate the end to slavery  included strewing flowers on the Dommel and libations. Some hundred people were present in the garden behind the Van Abbe Museum for the annual Keti Koti. 

Floral wreaths were laid by the new artwork that served as a temporary Keti Koti monument. [Keti Koti is sranantongo, the language of Surinam, and means broken chains; ed.] This is the second time that the end of slavery was commemorated officially in Eindhoven.  “More people joined than last year”, mayor Dijsselbloem observed. He thinks the commemoration will gain signifcance in the city in the years to  come.

The ceremony began with singing and a request for those attending to cast a flower onto the Dommel water to commemorate the enslaved ancestors. Then a colourfully clad man performed a libation by ceremoneously pouring water on the Eindhoven ground. His message: the painful effcts of slavery are still felt, also in Eindhoven. The mayor, two heritage bearers and the chairperson of the committe organising the commemoration made speeches.

Then representatives of various organisations laid floral wreaths were laid at the foot of a new, temporary monument: a work made by Tilburg sculptor Tommy van der Loo, a decendant of enslaved ancestors.The work is reminiscent of the the sculture placed in the same spot a year ago. That sculture, expressing the concept of broken chains, was found to have been vandalised the next day, although investigation revealed no racist motives had prompted the act of vandalism.

In a related article:  Eindhoven as a city was not involved in the slave trade, though individual were, recent research shows.

translated by Greta

Source: Studio 040, Pleun Wolters

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