How the Maroon ancestors hid rice grains in their hair

How the Maroon ancestors hid rice grains in their hair


In the times of slavery when our ancestors came to Suriname they could not bring a bag or luggage to bring their belongings and they also had …ehm… cassava cuttings very small, when the cassava stem has only one bud, do you know that thing? then you can put that piece in your hair and when you are in another place and you put it in the ground, then it will grow… because from than first one, you’ll get others. And the a woman had… eh… I forgot her name she put rice in her hair and then this woman had braided her hair with the rice seeds inside and now I wil show how it was done, how it happened to give an example here I have rice and I put the rice on Marion’s head I put it here do do not need much if you have a little, it stays inside and this is how she did it Tinde: and where did she do this Edith? On the slave ship? Or in Paramaribo? Or in Africa In Africa because it’s from there they took it [the rice] the hair is braided … it is inside you see? it is closed and so it happened and here it is closed and this is how this woman did it in that time in this way she had rice seeds that she could plant again, in her hair In this way she succeeded to bring a little rice and this is why the people have rice here to plant so this woman took it another bit you do not need much… to get a big field. Because when you plant only once… the next time you have a lot! see how she did it and then plaited again so this is how it happened Tinde: Afterwards, Onica, you should shake your head to see if the rice falls out or not Tinde: because you don’t see anything… Edith: No. This is how it happened. In the times of slavery This is how that woman took rice with her. Not only rice! Also other things… Yes because in the past people had big hair… Now the youngsters put weaves, straighteners then their hair is not suitable, yes… But in the past the people had real black man’s hair, strong hair but now this changed a little luckily my daughter still has the true hair and here… and here… this is how it happened Should we wait for Manon? Maybe she wants to see it? This is how the woman did it. Is Manon not there? So this is the story in this way this people managed to bring rice to Suriname from Africa to Suriname Tinde: and who told you this Edith? How do you know this My grandparents Saramaccan people? I heard it from Saramaccan Maroons, from Aucans, yes… Because they were all together and when they were still on the plantations when they escaped some people went with a group to one side others went with a group to another place and this is how they became separated so they became Saramaccans, Aucans, Paramaccans Aluku’s…. the different tribes Edith, when they ran away from the plantations to the interior they also took rice with them, isn’t it? How did they do this at that time? In the same way And they came in the evening to take goods because they did not have anything in the forest when they just escaped in the forest they had no goods men came at night to the plantation to steal things so this how they also took goods now its ready you can shake you hair…. Shake your head! Nothing comes out? You can shake shake shake! Nothing comes out at all! This is how it happened.

16 thoughts on “How the Maroon ancestors hid rice grains in their hair”

  1. Edith Adjako, of Maroon descend, shows how her female ancestors hid rice grains in their hair when they escaped from slavery and fled into the Suriname forests. Filmed in July 2017 by Alice Bertin, in St. Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana. Interview by Tinde van Andel, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. This movie was made during the research project Maroon Rice, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, grant nr. GEFNE 184-16.

  2. So I had someone sed how ancestors did this if rice don't grow in Africa because it's so dry. I want to know bcz I have someone questioning me

  3. Wooooooow there are easier styles that couldve been done to hide the Rice, but I know slave women were only allowed to wear certain hair Styles and couldn't wear alluring styles that would attract men.

  4. Hi Tinde, this is an amazing video! I translated it to brazilian portuguese, because my people need to watch it. Brazil has a 54% black population, but we're still fighting for our roots.

    Inspired by your video I searched papers about this narrative in brazilian oral tradition… Found a 2004 paper by Judith A. Carney, called "With grains in her hair: rice in collonial brazil". She found this same history being told in brazilian states of Amapá, Pará and Maranhão.

    Its awesome 🙂

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