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25 November 1975 - Trefossa invents the word ‘Srefidensi’

Surinam Airways wishes you a happy 44th Srefidensi day!

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.

Preparations for the independence in Suriname; Premier Henck Arron and opposition leader Jagernath Lachmon with the new flag of the Republic of Suriname / Photo ©Nationaal Archief Nederland/Bert Verhoeff/Anefo

25 November 1975. Happy Surinamers partying on a truck / Photo ©Nationaal Archief Nederland/Bert Verhoeff/Anefo

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.

Henri Frans de Ziel, also known as Trefossa / Photo ©Public domain

So, our national anthem as well as the word Srefidensi will be sounded proudly for a very long time, thanks to Trefossa.

This page is from the Rotary Agenda 2017 [Rotary Diary 2017]

Surinam Airways wishes everyone a wonderful Srefidensi!

 

This text was previously published in Sabaku nr. 61, November 2019-January 2020.

Text: Rosita Leeflang