Suriname's National Anthem and it's possible Parody 🌴

in ReggaeJAHMlast month

Imagine my surprise when I had found a gem of information again, when reading a news article about a published work, that's filled with essays about literature and culture from the former Dutch Colonies. The piece that especially had caught my attention, was about the work of the writer of Suriname's national anthem, Trefossa.


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Trefossa, born as Henri Frans de Ziel (15 January 1916 – 3 February 1975), is best known as the writer of Suriname's national anthem, but was also an educator, part of the editorial staff of the magazines Tongoni and Soela, archivist and not to forget a writer. And it was because of his experience as an archivist, that many of his memo's, scribbles, letters and diary were well kept.

This gave Cynthia Abrahams enough raw material to write an essay about the work from the great mind of Trefossa. The jewel that she had found amongst it all, was a "parody" of our own national anthem.

Mind you, Suriname's national anthem has two stanzas and I'll be focusing on the second stanza that's written in the pidgin language Sranang Tongo. It's by no means a translation of the first stanza, that's written in Dutch. Below you'll see the second stanza of the national anthem (1️⃣) and after that the parody (2️⃣) of that part of the song.



🎶1️⃣🎶

Opo kondreman un' opo!
Sranangron e kari un,
Wans' ope tata komopo,
Wi mu' seti kondre bun,
Strey de f' strey,
Wi no sa frede,
Gado de wi fesiman,
Eri libi te na dede,
Wi sa feti gi Sranan.

🎶1️⃣🎶

Stand up fellow statesmen, stand up!
Suriname's soil is calling for you,
Where ever our ancestors have come from,
We must built up the country,
Combatting challenges,
We are fearless,
With God as our foreman,
Prevailing until death,
We shall fight for Suriname.


🎶2️⃣🎶

Opo lesiman, oen opo!
Sranan gron e kari oen,
Foeroe wroko de foe wroko,
Bifos' kondre seti boen.
Mon' no de foe teki f'soso,
Wroko wi moes wroko toe,
Dan fos' kondre sa kon seti,
Dan Sranan sa seti troe.

🎶2️⃣🎶

Stand up slacker, stand up!
Suriname's soil is calling for you,
Lots of work needs to be done,
Before the country is advanced.
There's no money for the taking,
What we must do is work,
Only then the land will be developed,
Only then shall Suriname truly prosper.



Suriname's national anthem. The second stanza starts at 1:07 minutes.


I have to point out that I don't see the find from Trefossa's hand as a parody, but rather a lesson of the reality and the truth. We should indeed work hard to secure the advancement and development of this beautiful nation. If you are capable and able to work, you should not have to wait on the government to help you. The soil here is so fertile, that it's possible to eat from it. I am aware that you cannot only live from crops grown in your own garden, but people shouldn't have to go hungry.


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And that was my two cents. Let me know in the comments below if and what you've learned from this wise poet.

Chasse into the backstage! 💃

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Hahaha, like the parody more than the original :) That said, I may like humour more than national anthems in general. Have the same with our Dutch anthem :)

I know what you mean... The national anthem speaks to me and gives me a sense of pride, but the "parody" kind of opened up my eyes. I do hope that others from Suriname see this little piece of treasure and that it gets them to thinking. Funny how both versions were written by the same writer though... Gives you a glimpse of what was going through his mind.

Are you from the Netherlands? If yes, then you've also understood the first stanza haha

I'm from the End of the Universe 🙃 Sometimes I spend my time in NL 😉
An dyea, the Dutch part I understood.

Hahahaa ok I get it.
What did you think of the first stanza? I know it's part of the national anthem, but when I grew up the focus was more on the second verse when I went to school. Maybe that's changed now. I wouldn't know.

My focus was also on the second verse because the parody was from that part, that's why I didn't include it in my post.

I never have lots of opinions on national anthems. But since you ask. The God in it is something that I don't like. Not everybody is religious and when having/keeping a national anthem, I would suggest to go along a story that connects people (nationally but as equilly important across the globe), with respect for one another and mother earth. The Dutch anthem is also very outdated in my opinion. That said, I actually believe we shall get ride of national flags and anthems, since these symbols keep us thinking more national than international while in the end we have to get some forms of society going where country borders are not important anymore :)

I know what you mean... Indeed there are many cultures here in Suriname and different religions, so I wouldn't know if that part would speak to every individual here. I'm afraid that it won't change for the coming times though, as a lot of values and norms are also outdated here.

Regarding your thoughts on global citizenship, I can go with that mindset. I am for a we-mentality and not the "us vs. them" mentality. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure if governments or people are ready for that. On the one hand it's the government or politicians who are propagating that mentality, but on the other hand it's the people who "vote" for those politicians. I wouldn't even know where to start if I wanted to go and change it 🙈

My firm believe is that politicians say what the people think and want them to say. Around the western wrold (at least in almost entire Europe), nationalism is on its rise already for the last many years, maybe even last decade or two. In many countries we see richtwing/conservative parties growing, as well as ultra rightwing. The later is a dangerous development. I don't know what the future will bring, but with all the drama we have in the world, with lots of refugees who like to get shelter in Europe, I would not be surprised if we get even more nationalistic in coming years to longer. The idea of being a world citizen is something quite far out of reach at the moment. Not for a individual, but for the societies as such.

Yes, there are indeed few individuals who are able to break free from that mentality, but not a whole group as you said. I don't see it happening only in the Western world though. Even now, we as Surinamers pride ourselves of how peaceful we are, but in the underbelly people are still divided and the politicians do play on that.

Unfortunately, even students at the university level are doing propaganda in the same way as they see the old politicians do. I've spoken up about it, that a student from a certain faculty wanted to be elected for a seat at the Board of the university and he/she said that he/she will especially fight for those of his/her faculty. I was like "the student representative should be there for ALL students and not just that one faculty". I was a voice crying in the wilderness (roepende in de woestijn). I didn't vote because I didn't agree with how things were handled.

That’s what the real anthem wants to say but can’t because it doesn’t want to offend.. as rappers would say that’s some real nicca 💩

It’s interesting to hear the national anthem of your nation. This post made me think, how long national anthems are compared to Japan’s. Just look at this 😂 and she is actually dragging it out.

Haha I would guess that Japans national anthem's short and powerful. Like no fuss about it.

I was wondering the same thing... What was going through Trefossa's mind when writing this... I imagine he had a good sense of humor and indeed people / politicians would prefer the one that was really used in the anthem. Keeping it "politically correct" (pc).

I've also read somewhere that they switched a word in the first stanza, from "vechtend houden w'in gedachten" (fighting we shall remember) to "werkend houden w'in gedachten" (while working we remember). That goes to show how pc they wanted to keep it. On the other hand, I think they had their reasons and we should indeed work together to built up the nation.

Before, I sing this song everyday at school. It is beautiful voice. I know the drawing man. I think it is near the plam tree park.

Ah yes, you used to go to school here.
The man (spray)painted there is the writher of that song 😉

Oh now I know that the man is the writher of the song. Thank you so much for telling me.

No problem. I love sharing knowledge 😊

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Awesome and thank you.
Really appreciate it 😊 and let's do this 💪

@JustinParke here on behalf of the ReggaeJAHM Community.

Our girls used to sing this every day at school, and I imagine they still have it memorized. I will see what they think of this variation, they might get a kick out of it. Thanks for sharing!!

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Yes, @kidsisters did mention it.
I didn't really grow up singing the anthem at school, as I went to Christian schools till my pre-teen years.

Thank you for including me 😁