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Book source: Skrekiboekoe, Chris de Beet (red), University Utrecht, 1995, ISSN 0922-3630

Subject: [Religion,History] The Life of Johannes King


Here is some more information about the life of Johannes King. J.King lived in a period of time when important changes took place in Suriname.
(1) slavery had come to an end.
(2) the colonial government increased contacts with people in the interior.

J.King's mother was Adensi, who lived in one of the Matawai villages. Her father was granman Kodjo. J.King was born around 1830. As a child he was called Bossoe. His father died in 1840 and Bossoe's brother Adrai became head of the family. He took the family to areas around Paramaribo near the logging plantations on the Lower Saramacca. This area had also experienced a tremendous influx of Saramaccas, Ndjukas, Matawais and 'free African-Surinamese'. There was a lot of unrest and distrust among these tribes. A high point was reached in 1836 when the Saramaccan 'wisiman' Donsu died after being accused of witch craft with which he had killed a Ndjuka captain. The colonial government stepped in and all were expelled from the area.

Thus the King family returned to the traditional Matawai home grounds where they were not welcome. They left again and settled around a place called 'Maripaston'. Here logging took place at the plantation Sonette. Adrai and the rest of the King family remained near the logging plantation Haarlem and were then told by the local authorities to return to the Matawai home grounds. The owner of the logging plantation Haarlem by the name of Arrias allowed the King family to register in the 'burgerregister' as 'free African-Surinamese'.

Eventually the King family settled in Maripaston around the year 1852. J. King was not popular at first. The other citizens suspected him to be a 'murderer' and 'poison mixer'. Several fellow villagers in Maripaston had died mysteriously and he was accused by a Ndjuka 'lukuman' as the cause of their death. King was accused by the Ndjuka to have a killed a 'papa sneki' (snake) which was considered a god by the Ndjukas. Later when J. King got involved in a quarrel about a woman, he became ill, which his fellow villagers described as caused by him practising witch craft. He was ill for about four years. His illness reached a critical point in 1855 when his arms and legs were paralyzed. It was than that Johannes King had his first revelations in which God ordered him to report to the Moravian brothers in Paramaribo.

1857 J. King made contact with the head of the Moravian brothers by the name of van Calker.
1861 J. King lived in Paramaribo to continue school and to work part time in a bakery.
1864-1894 J. King has written manuscripts and writings about his revelations and a look back of his life.
1860 J. King had a revelation that God instructed him to build a church in Maripaston.

J. King undertook numerous missionary trips to visit the Boni on the Lawa, the Ndjuka on the Tapanahoni and Cottica and the Saramacca on the Suriname River. The attitude of the Hernhutters towards J. King was ambivalent. They praised his missionary work but were somewhat less than enthusiastic about King using and referencing of his revelations. 1867 Granman Josua Kalkoen died and J. King had a difficult time of his life as the officials in Paramaribo supported the candidacy of his brother and not his. Adrai became granman and shortly there are numerous conflicts between the two. The end result was that J. King was banned from the village. 1893 Granman Adrai died and a new conflict arose about succession. J. King became granman. In 1895, J. King became ill and he decided to give up his granman position and work full time for the missionary.

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