Maroons (descendants of Africans who escaped enslavement) have long been locked in an antagonistic relationship with the Surinamese government over gold-mining legislation and its reinforcement. This contentious topic includes complex debates over land rights and conflicting economic and environmental priorities. This article considers how three contemporary Maroon popular musicians have gone beyond stock metaphors about gold to reference local engagements with gold and the gold-mining industry. I introduce the concept, performative figuring, as a strategy whereby a speaker or performer uses their embodied presence to assert their rights and/or self-worth against practices and policies that threaten to undermine them.

Taki a fesi

Fu omeng langa kaba, den Busikondeesama be kengi pakisei anga a lanti fu Saanankondee abaa a gowtu wooko—sowtu sama abi a leti fu taki o sama sa wooko, pe de sama mu wooko, anga sama sa seeka den wookomang. A gowtu wooko a naa wan sani di de eng wawan. Te w'e taki abaa a gowtu, da u mu luku a pisi fu a goon leti, anga den taa fuka di ae tjai. Da a de fanowdu fu luku san den sama e poti a fesi; a moni de o fende, ofuso a gezontu fu a busi—a kiin fu a wata fu a liba anga den kiiki anga a tan bun fu a goon seefi. A skiifi ya ego abaa dii Busikondee pokuman di e singi sani fu a gowtu, ma aini wan fasi di e go moo fini aini den eigi libi eke Busikondeesama, nanga den gowtu politiki sani fu nownow. Mi e taki abaa wan sani de mi e kai, performative figuring (aini Ingiisi)—dati wan taki, a fasi fa wan sama sa poti en seefi—en eigi sikin—aini a bosikopu fu eng, fu soi taki efu wan sama e go doo anga wan sani di (aini eng pakisei) o tja ogii anga eng, a o ge enke a e du ogii anga a sama seefi. Ifu wan sama abi lespeki gi a sama di e taki, a o ge enke na wan sani namo de fu du.

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