Henri Frans de Ziel

Trefossa, pen name of Henri Frans de Ziel (born Paramaribo, January 15, 1916 – died Haarlem, February 3, 1975) was a neoromantic writer in Dutch and Sranan Tongo from Suriname. He is best known for the Sranan Tongo stanzas of Suriname's National Anthem.

He was an educator and lived in the Netherlands from 1953 to 1956. Upon his return to Suriname he was part of the editorial staff of the magazines Tongoni (1958-1959) and Soela (1962-1964). He also served briefly as the director-librarian of Suriname's Cultural Centre (Cultureel Centrum Suriname (CCS)). He subsequently returned to the Netherlands to work on the publication of Johannes King's memoirs.

Trefossa wrote primarily about the beauty of his native country, Suriname, especially as a source of peace to the restless mind. He influenced many writers in Suriname, including Corly Verlooghen, Eugène Rellum, Johanna Schouten-Elsenhout and Michaël Slory, but the depth and subtlety of his verse remain almost unique.

On November 21, 2005, a monument was dedicated in his honor on the Sophie Redmondstraat in Paramaribo. His ashes and the ashes of his wife, Hulda Walser, were also placed at the monument.

External links

The poem by Trefossa, referenced in the above link, is translated into English below:

Gronmama Earthmother
Mi a no mi solanga mi brudu
fu yu a n'e trubu
na ini den dusun titei fu mi
I am not myself until my blood
is infused with you
in all of my veins
Mi a no mi solang mi lutu
n'e saka, n'e sutu
mi gronmama
I am not myself until my roots
sink down, shoot
into you, my earthmother
Mi a no mi solang m'no krari
fu kibri, fu tyari
yu gersi na ini mi dyodyo.
I am not myself until I manage
to keep, to carry
your image in my soul
Mi a no mi solanga y' n'e bari
f' prisir' ofu pen
na ini mi sten.
I am not myself until you cry out
with pleasure, or pain
in my voice
(Translation from Sranan to English by Quinton Zondervan)

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