Category Archives: Afro-Asians

Presenting the Portuguese Burghers of Sri Lanka: Today and Yesterday

Earl Barthelot, in Ceylon Digest, 22 February 2020, where the title reads The Portuguese Burghers of Ceylon”

Sri Lanka is well known for its diversity with over 22 numerically small communities and majority communities such as Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. Burgher community is one of the numerically small communities. Large proportions of the Burghers do live in the Batticaloa District and a small proportion live both in Trincomalee and Ampara District. At the same time there are Portuguese Burghers living in all parts of the country in small numbers.

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The Sri Lankan Kaffrinha as Embodiment of African-Asian Hybridity

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, providing an Abstract of her article  Africa in South Asia: Hybridity in Sri Lankan Kaffrinha”

As public spaces become arenas to display cultural memories, Afro-descendants in South Asia become more visible. Emerging local histories further complement the trajectories of Africans and facilitate recognition of Afro-descendants.  In my paper “Africa in South Asia: hybridity in Sri Lankan Kaffrinha” published in South Asian History and Culture (2020).  I explore connections between Africa and Asia through a genre of music and dance called kaffrinha which enriched the colonial Sri Lankan culturescape and, continues in the postcolonial. In the absence of historical records of kaffrinha for centuries, I have explored alternative narratives – song texts, music scores, dance movements, paintings and frescoes in order to map the dynamics of kaffrinha.

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Remembering Indian Ocean Slavery through Film: Afro-Sri Lankan Memories

Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya

Whilst the transatlantic slave trade has overwhelmed the historiography of Africa, the forced easterly movement of Africans is only receiving scholarly attention in the twenty first century.  Movement of Africans from the Continent is not characterised by the slave trade alone.  Not surprisingly, free Africans moved eastwards as missionaries, soldiers, sailors and traders.  Forced migration was concurrent with free migration.

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