Guinea’s Other Suns
Guinea’s Other Suns is a classic collection of essays on the forced and voluntary migration to Trinidad of West and West-Central Africans during the 1800s, extending through both the slavery and post-emancipation eras. This second edition is a thematic expansion buttressed by historical documentary sources and painstaking linguistic research.
Maureen Warner-Lewis examines African cultural practices and artefacts as recalled by the biological descendants of these migrants during interviews with the author in the 1960s and 1970s. The wars caused by ethnic and religious contestations, economic advantage and imperial expansionism are significant themes in the literary repertoire, but so too are themes of love, the yearning for home, pride in ethnic and family identity, the pain of exile, and the separation of death. Warner-Lewis explores the poetic techniques, musical genres and instrumentation, language patterns, athletic and masquerade traditions, economic arrangements, and religious beliefs and rituals of the Yoruba, Kongo, Angolan, Hausa and Rada (Dahomeyan) communities which this peasantry and urban labour force introduced or reinforced on the island. While some of these artefacts have withered away, or are now moribund, others continue to inform the still-evolving twenty-first-century cultural life of the island.
MAUREEN WARNER-LEWIS is Professor Emerita, African-Caribbean Language and Orature, Department of Literatures in English, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Her many publications include E. Kamau Brathwaite’s “Masks”: Essays and Annotations; Yoruba Songs of Trinidad; Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue to Memory; Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time, Transforming Cultures; and Archibald Monteath: Igbo, Jamaican, Moravian.