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Zwarte huid, Oranje hart

Author: Griselda Molemans Armando Ello


A fascinating search along unknown historic areas results in poignant testimonies and beautiful portraits. Everybody knows the story of ‘the black one with the white heart’: prince Kwasi Boachi, ten years old, who was sent with his cousin Kwame Poku from Kumasi to the Netherlands in 1837. The two Ashanti princes served as a pledge for the treaty that the Dutch government had concluded with the mighty Ashanti-king Kwaku Dua 1. He committed himself to delivering 1000 recruits to the Royal Dutch-Indonesian Army, the KNIL.

Finally the Dutch army command managed to recruit over 3000 African men. Because the African names are difficult to pronounce many of them got a random Dutch name varying from Baas, Kooi, Van der Put en Kaalkop to Socrates, Rembrandt, Mozart and Voltaire. After their service in the Netherlands East Indies these belanda hitam (‘Black Dutchmen’) got a Dutch passport and they could choose: either return to the port of Elmina or stay on in the colony.

Of around 450 African KNIL-soldiers that stayed behind in the Dutch East Indies and lived together with a native concubine a small number has become the ancestor of a so-called Indo-African family. After the independency of Indonesia in 1949 there is actually no future for the Indo-Africans who are Dutch citizens, in the new republic. They are forced to leave for the unknown Netherlands from where some emigrate to Suriname, Canada and the United States.

Black skin, Orange heart describes the search of Griselda Molemans and Armando Ello for the oldest descendants in the Netherlands, Ghana, the United States and Indonesia. Besides they traced the descents of prince Kwasi Boachi in the Netherlands and America. The result is a fascinating book with poignant testimonies, beautiful portraits, research of African DNA and much unknown historic material.

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    17 x 24 cm
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