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Celebrate Papiamentu at Nos Zjilea this Saturday

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Culture, Education, Events, History, People

Celebrate Papiamenu at Nos Zjilea with Elsmarie Beukenboom.

Learn about Papiamentu at Nos Zjilea in Rincon.

At the beginning of this year, our beautiful language, Papiamentu, was recognized in Europe as one of the “Languages in Minority” deserving protection and promotion. This is a great achievement for Bonaire. The government of Bonaire, together with the Papiamentu Academy, has worked hard for this achievement.

Papiamentu is unique, beautiful, and precious. It belongs to us, with its various melodious tones. Let’s work together to strengthen this wonderful language. This way, we can enjoy a respected Papiamentu language in the future.

What to expect this Saturday at Nos Zjilea.

This Saturday, February 24th, there will be the next edition of the cultural event ‘Nos Zjilea’ at the Cultural Park Mangazina di Rei with the theme “Let’s Speak Papiamentu.” At 10 AM, we will start with the podcast ‘Lag’e brota’, an initiative of the youngsters and leaders of the educational program of Cultural Park Mangazina di Rei, Talento Kultural. In this program, we’ll explain what you can learn and do in the Talento Kultural program. We will also talk with guests about different cultural heritage topics. This time, the guests, Mrs. Senaida Janga-Mercera and Mr. Jonathan de Windt, will discuss the importance of the Papiamentu language and also share how the “Arte di Palabra” organization has developed to where it is now. The podcast will also be broadcast via Facebook, YouTube, Radio Voz di Boneiru 94.7 FM, and on MiTV Telbo Channel 74 VdB TV.

Meet Elsmarie Beukenboom

Elsmarie Beukenboom from the Papiamentu Academy will explain how the official recognition of Papiamentu became possible. She will also share how we can continue to promote and protect the language. Elsmarie is also an advocate for reforestation, as well as a local bird tour guide and expert.

Additional details of the event

The book titled “Papiamentu Pika,” released by the Papiamentu Academy has received a lot of attention as it contains what we classify as ‘bad words.’ Informal, vulgar, or indecent words that nevertheless are part of our language. Come and enjoy a moment with our spicy language. Because this month is the month of the mother language, the book will be available at a special price.

Additionally, you don’t see many women with a headscarf on the streets of Bonaire anymore. The headscarf is a very beautiful part of the African Heritage. Caroll-Ann Soliano will give a demonstration of tying a headscarf, and of course, on this day, you can tie one for yourself. Let’s revive this beautiful tradition.

Janiro Dorothea, who participated in “Arte di Palabra,” the poetry, storytelling, rap, and haiku competition in Papiamentu, will also be in attendance. He won in the existing poetry category with his poem titled “Bonaire”. Let’s appreciate the efforts our young people are making to keep Papiamentu alive.

Event details

Don’t miss the cultural market with fresh local products such as natural juices, herbal teas, delicacies, and art. The kitchen opens at 10 AM with a wide variety of soups, various local Creole dishes, and a delicious grill. Enjoy the event’s cozy atmosphere with “LIVE” performances of the local bands “Grupo Villa” and “Glenn and the Gang.”

Experience ‘Nos Zjilea,’ the monthly cultural event of Bonaire, this Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM at Cultural Park Mangazina di Rei. It doesn’t get more local than this. Entrance is free.


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Tanya Deen has been living in Bonaire since December 2016. She is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and enjoys underwater and bird photography. Tanya is the Editor-in-Chief of the Bonaire Insider tourism news blog.
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