For me Jaguarman is much more than just a story about one man’s journey to discover his roots and understand himself. It is a testament to the universal struggle that the Afro-Caribbean diaspora faces in reconnecting with its roots. Despite the genocidal horrors of slavery, the physical and spiritual displacement and dismemberment that it wrought, somehow the umbilical cord that links Caribbean people to Africa has survived the ravages of time. As Raoul de Jong eloquently points out it is everywhere and in everything, if we just know where to look and listen. It is subtle yet glaringly visible, from the bright colors of our clothing and how they are worn, to the mesmerizing rhythms of Caribbean music. Yet it is much more than that. Jaguarman is also a tale about how hard it is to find out the truth about the past, especially as an Afro-Caribbean person. Raoul relentlessly pursued the truth like a bloodhound, enduring and overcoming countless setbacks in order to get to the bottom of his family’s history. As William Cullen Bryant famously wrote, “Truth crushed to earth, shall rise again.” In Jaguarman, the truth is rising up again, and seeing the light of day after centuries of being buried (or rather intentionally suppressed). What I most enjoy about Raoul de Jong’s writing is that he always connects the reader to other books and authors which are relevant to the story. Jaguarman is no different with him highlighting no fewer than a dozen other books including Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston. In short, Jaguarman is essential reading if you are keenly interested in being (re)educated about Caribbean history.
Have you read Jaguarman? or any of Raoul de Jong’s other works? What are your thoughts after reading his work? What do you find most intriguing about his writing? Thanks as always for stopping by! Please feel free to share your thoughts or reactions in a comment below. Also, if you would like to receive more updates about my writing please consider joining my newsletter mailing list by subscribing below.