Palenquero: The identity behind a language in Colombia

Moorbey'z Blog

Spoken by residents of a settlement established by runaway slaves, Palenquero is seen as a form of cultural resistance.

Palenquero is a mix between African Bantu languages and European languages’. It borrows from Spanish, English, French and Portuguese [Jpaquin Sarmieto/Al Jazeera]

by Wana Udobang

San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia – A warm smile spreads across Juana’s face as she attempts to sell me a slice of Yucca cake, a sweetened pastry made with cassava, eggs and condensed milk. She and John Jairo, our tour guide, are talking to one another. Words roll off her tongue and her hands flail as I stare at the apron, in the colours of the Colombian flag, tied over her chequered gypsy skirt.

I listen closely to see if I can identify any of the words they use and match them to a language I am familiar with. It is a weird kind of guessing game…

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