Sunday, May 29, 2011

Video: In the tracks of The Panther - Dutch Black history in Indonesia

For years, Dutch author Griselda Molemans wondered about the dark skin colour of her grandfather from the Dutch Indies (present-day Indonesia), but failed to explain the origin.

One day, an elderly Indo-African couple from the garrison town of Purworejo in Java, gives her a clue about her family name. What follows next is a suprising quest, leading from the National Archives in Holland to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Java and resulting in the discovery of the African founding father of the Molemans family.

Griselda Molemans is a Los Angeles-based international Dutch reporter and former sports news anchorwoman on the Dutch television. Molemans was born in the Netherlands to an Indo-Molukken mother and a Creole Surinamese-Dutch father.

About her journey she wrote the book 'In the tracks of The Panther' (Dutch title: 'In het voetspoor van De Panter'). The story of the 'belanda hitam' soldiers, young African men who were bought on slave markets in Kumasi (in present-day Ghana) by the Dutch army between 1831 and 1872 and who served in the Dutch colonial Army in the Dutch Indies.

She is also the author of 'Black skin, Orange heart' (in Dutch: 'Zwarte huid, Oranje hart. Afrikaanse KNIL-nazaten in de diaspora'). A book with interviews, and photo sessions with the oldest descendants of African soldiers ('black Dutchmen') who served in the Dutch Indies (present-day Indonesia).

The life stories of these African soldiers and their descendants in The Netherlands, the US, Surinam, Ghana and Indonesia have been documented as part of Dutch colonial history.

Check out some of their stories, and some photographs of armando Ello at

Also see Indo-Africans: The forgotten story of the Black Dutchmen

1 comment:

  1. wow, what a touching video she's so lucky, brilliant post


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