The 1st of July is Keti Koti Dei in Suriname, the day we celebrate the emancipation proclamation from 1863. In real life the enslaved people still had to work ten more years on the plantations before they were really let go but 1863 is still the official date in our history.
So on the 1st of July, Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is as colorful as can be. From the traditional outfits of the 1800’s meant to make enslaved women look as unattractive as possible, to the contemporary handmade Pangi’s by maroon women, adorn the streets of the city’s capital.
Developed in maroon communities early on, Pangi’s also date back to the 1800’s yet these garments symbolized freedom from the start. Maroon women would wear these colorful pieces of cloth to go out. Often embellished with handmade embroidery that resembled fashionable community life, pangi’s were worn with pride and joy.
Even though Koto’s and Angisa’s were merely dictated styles, with layers and layers of fabric to camouflage a female’s body and cloths to cover their hair, women were inventive enough, to literarily make something out of nothing.
Today the Angisa’s, the headwraps, still speak. “Let them talk” and “Meet me on the corner” are only two of the names of Angisa’s known from back then. This might give you an idea of the secret codes used during that era but the language of the Angisa’s is very much alive.
The traditional headwraps are still worn today. Not just on emancipation day but also on birthdays.
So today was my day of celebrating the incredible history of Suriname with a colorful, joyful, freedom maroon pangi.
Since I don’t know how to tie either one of them, I watched youtube for inspiration and watched how to tie wraps to create a contemporary variation.
So you can see my interpretation in the video. I had a blast. Hopefully you’ve learned something and found it interesting.
To continue celebrating our common history I will be at the International African Arts Festival shooting natural hairstyles. So if you want to be captured for my next photo exhibition come and celebrate with us at Commedore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY. Here is the schedule and more info.
To buy the pangi wrap visit WhatNaturalsLove.com.
Happy 4th of July!