On November 25th 1975 Suriname became independent. It may sound strange, but the Sranantongo word for the independence of November 25th 1975 was yet to be conceived of. That privilege was reserved for Trefossa, pseudonym for Henri Frans de Ziel, the father of all Surinamese poets. Trefossa came up with Srefidensi, which contains the known word ‘srefi’, which means ‘self’ and ‘own’. By sharing the word with friends and acquaintances, who again shared it with theirs, it became the standard word for the independence within no time. Srefidensi represents a proud feeling of standing on one’s own feet independently, and it feels familiar. And nowadays, all activities organized around the 25th of November do indeed incorporate the name Srefidensi.
The father of the Surinamese poets is also the writer of the second verse of the Surinamese National Anthem, which was supposed to be in Sranantongo. However, as a nationalist he wasn’t happy about the existing first verse in Dutch, so he rewrote that as well.
So, our national anthem as well as the word Srefidensi will be sounded proudly for a very long time, thanks to Trefossa.
This text was previously published in Sabaku nr. 61, November 2019-January 2020.
Text: Rosita Leeflang