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Interviews with activists: Patrick Kensenhuis, Member of The National Assembly of the Republic of Suriname
The Hon. Patrick Kensenhuis of the Republic of Suriname, represents a district with a majority indigenous and African descendant population.
During the era of Dutch colonization of the Guiana region of South America, many enslaved Africans escaped into the rainforests of what is now the Republic of Suriname. These self liberated Africans (also known as "Maroons", "Djukas" or "Bakabusi Nengre") set up independent communities and often returned to attack the colonial settlements. After nearly 50 years of a war of resistance against Dutch and other European colonial troops, in the 1760s the Djuka Maroons signed treaties with the Dutch colonial government, enabling them to live a virtually independent existence until well into the 20th century.
The African-descended maroon communities originally formed an effective buffer between the coastal European settlements and the Indigenous groups of the interior and in the 21st century are now an integral part of Suriname culture and economy.
Over the past decade, the Suriname Maroons have worked towards greater political paticipation, which includes forming their own political parties and voting elected representatives into the Surniname Parlimanent.
Among the themes discussed in this interview are greater political participation for minorities and indgenous people, the need for greater involvement of women in the country's political process, and the role of MDGs in improving lives of rural populations in Suriname.
Running time: 4 min:31 secs.