Researcher seeks information on Afro-Guyanese culture – letter

African History Month – February

Researcher seeks information on Afro-Guyanese culture – letter

Afro-Guyanese Americans are Hungry for their Spiritual Heritage!

Dear Sir and Readers,

I’m an American-born person in the Guyanese Diaspora, writing today with a plea for cultural knowledge. I must first admit, however, that I am mostly ignorant of the life experiences of Guyanese nationals, and am only vaguely aware of the cultural and political problems of the country.  However, I’m Guyanese enough to know that they do exist, and that they are huge problems affecting the lives of many, particularly within the Black community.

With that said, I am proud of my Afro-Guyanese heritage, and the African heritage that preceded it. As an independent researcher, it is a bit of an obsession of mine to try and connect various traditional cultural aspects of Afro-Guyanese back to the varied practices of those from the African continent. This includes African-based religious practices exclusive to Guyana like Comfa and Faithism.  

It may or may not be known in Guyana (by those who would be interested, of course), that there has been a huge cultural revolution going on amongst the black youth in the U.S.A. for a while now. More and more people are embracing and returning to their African aspects of beauty, music, dance, and religion. I am included amongst this group, being a practitioner of a traditional religion. In addition to this, living in New York, and having family in the Atlanta, Georgia area, I often meet people who are also practitioners in or curious about learning ancient practices such as Ifa, Vodun, the Akan practices, as well as their Caribbean counterparts of Vodou, Santeria, and the ilk. In fact, our forefathers’ beliefs are drawing attention from the most unlikely (or is it?) of places. It is very, very, hard now, when researching Vodou on the internet, to find information from practitioners who are not white! Kind of funny in an ironic way, if you ask me, but also very sad since I know there are many members of the African Diaspora who still hold negative and misguided views of these beautiful traditions.

Anyway, it is always a huge disappointment to me, that there is so little information available on the internet, written, spoken, or seen about Comfa. To anyone that is knowledgeable about these types of spiritualities, the importance of knowing the particularities of your homeland and people (food, ceremonial dances, folksongs, ritual songs etc.) is obvious, and I think it is safe to say that to any Guyanese person practicing within these spiritualities, knowledge of Comfa is always going to be of utmost importance. Participation is crucial to connect us with our beloved ancestors. To me, folksongs or ritual songs in Kreyol (Creole) or Spanish from unfamiliar lands will not speak to my heart as powerfully as a good round of ‘Tell Mairi’ or ‘Cuma Cuma Fish’. Celebrating my ancestors and who I am would only make sense in a room full of Guyanese who feel the same way… not Haitian, not Cuban, not Puerto Rican. As beautiful as all those traditions may be, they are still not an integral part of me.

To sum this rather long message up, I’m asking for those Afro-Guyanese in Guyana or here in the United States or elsewhere who are inclined, knowledgeable, and brave enough to do so, to release that spiritual knowledge into the world! Let us know if you’re putting together a “little ting” in your basement one evening in Atlanta. Tell us if there are any tiny Guyanese Faithist churches you know of in Brooklyn. As I stated before, I am not aware of the situation in the home country. So, it is not my intention to offend anyone with my openness or enthusiasm about these traditions, in the case that I have done so. However, here in the USA, we are ready, rearing, and constantly searching for new info about our heritage!

If it comes right down to it, I am also willing to act as a conduit of information for anyone who might wish to remain anonymous while sharing their knowledge. Please feel free to reach me at liligiproductions@gmail.com

Peace and God Bless,

~ Liana George

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Comments

  • francis jackson  On 02/20/2014 at 3:46 pm

    this individual should contact the Guyana Cultural Association in New York, they have a website.

    • Ta'Seti Efuntola-Osunlade  On 06/13/2014 at 2:47 pm

      Hello,

      I am looking for the descendants of Jake Croaker of Bagotville, Canal One, West Bank, Demerara and persons once affiliated with Egbe Afrugu Bin. I am looking to record remnants of Yoruba (Aku) culture in Guyana: Aku songs, drumming, dances, lexicon, and rituals. If anyone has information, please reach out. God Bless.
      Reply to berbicerebellion1763@gmail.com

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