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Suriname Maroons in the Netherlands came together in the city of Utrecht on Saturday December 17th to commemorate paramount chief Gazon Matodja of the Suriname Ndyuka nation. Gazon Matodja died on December 1st of this year after suffering a stroke. The memorial, organized by the traditional Maroon authorities for the Netherlands, attracted around two hundred of the paramount chief’s friends, acquaintances and family members.
It included musical performances by Ndyuka percussionist André Mosis (who played the traditional apinti drum), speeches by various Maroon leaders, a formal libation, and the viewing of a documentary on the life of Gazon Matodja.
The Suriname government attended the memorial through representation by David Abiamofo, himself a Maroon. “A great Surinamer has gone”, Abiamofo told the audience. “He was my hero, he was one of the quiet heroes. Perhaps not famous, his name not in the papers everyday. But each and every day he worked hard. He sacrificed his life for his people. He just did the right things day after day.”
Other speakers were André Pakosie and Erna Aviankoi – both representing the Ndyuka, Cornelis Sanna – representing the Paamaka, and Mutu Poeketie – respresenting the Saamaka. All of these speakers, too, remarked on Gazon Matodja’s leadership, personality and exceptional accomplishments.
News reporter Patrick Dorder (RNW) made a video report about the memorial, which can be seen here: http://www.rnw.nl/suriname/video/sidonbookode-voor-gaanman-gazon-nederland