“As an activist, I am concerned with anti-racism and identity. My father was born as a Surinamese Javanese boy in Suriname before he was adopted by a Dutch family. It took him a long time to find his family in Suriname, but there was another great family quest. My great-grandparents were kidnapped in Indonesia by Dutch colonists to work on the plantations in Suriname. One of my grandfathers managed to find our family in Indonesia, and in October 2019 I went to meet my family there for the first time. They still live in the same village that my great-grandparents were forced to leave.
The journey was very intense. When I set foot on land, everything started moving in me. It felt like coming home. I got answers to questions I had never asked myself. For example, I now really intend to emigrate. It was an indescribable feeling to walk on the land of my ancestors, deeply moving because I was able to make the journey that my great-grandparents had wanted to make. Their biggest dream was to go back to Indonesia, but unfortunately they never had the chance to do so.
The meeting with my family in Indonesia was unexpected and emotional. Indonesia has given me a lot. I attempted suicide in 2017 and it felt as if part of me had died. Since visiting Indonesia, I feel reborn. I was received with open arms and visited the place where my great-grandparents’ house once stood. I brought its soil with me, which I later mixed with the soil of their grave in Suriname.
In February 2020, I made my trip to Suriname to mix in the soil with the grave of my great-grandparents. I also took soil from their grave to bring back to Indonesia someday and thus complete the circle for the soul to rest.
The quest to find my family and my roots was started in the generations before me, but I believe that we, the younger generation, should maintain the connection. We must talk to the older generations while we still can, before the information is lost. They are the bridge to our ancestors. I see many young people in identity crises. I want to give them this advice: go back to your motherland, it is an indescribable experience.
I think a lot of pressure is put on us in this society to be who we really are not. For generations, colonialism has erased identities. It is all important to have an identity and go back to your true self, going back to who you are instead of what was imposed on you through Western ideals.”
— Christa (26)
By: Francesco FunX.nl
Translated by: Annemarie Toebosch