chapter  2
11 Pages

Contested monuments: African-Americans and the commoditization of Ghana’s slave castles

Banya started as a pastime for the slaves in the coastal region of Suriname, where the majority of the plantations and the administrative center of the colony were situated. Banya in the coastal area is now part of the winti ceremonies and is used specifically as a way to communicate with ancestors who are enticed to take possession of their descendants during the presentation of the music and dances, which during their lifetime were their favorites. Banya was a women's dance and susa was a dance for men, although members of the opposite sex always participated in both of the plays. There is also a strong musical connection between the banya of the coastal area and the maroon dance called banya which today is a popular social dance of one of the Suriname Maroon groups, the Matawai. During their fieldwork in Suriname around the 1920s, the anthropologists Melville and Francis Herskovits taped and transcribed some banya songs.