957. Curaçao’s “Bekita” by Gentleman and Poet Elis Juliana


Bekita dams a kanga shimis
pronka drenta sal’i balia
k’un finura k’un koketa
kada paso na su tempu
kada zoya na midí
Békitá! Békitá!
Békitá! Békitá!Hernan dí: E dams akí
ai ta flor pa hasi bunita;
yena sala ku pèrfume
hari saka djent’i oro
zoya renchi di makurá
Békitá! Békitá!
Békitá! Békitá!

Ma or’un pachi prufiá
a bai lamantá Bekita
pa é tuma’den k’e tumba
el a keda babuká
kon e mosa tantu lesma
por a para serená

Békitá Békitá
pa kén b’a mirá
Békitá Békitá
pa kén b’a tumá
Békitá Békitá
Békitá Békitá


Lady Bekita lifted up her skirt
And stalked into the ballroom
With a smile, with coquetry
With calculated steps
And complete body control
Bekita, Bekita,
Bekita, Bekita.The gentlemen said:
This lady is just a pretty flower
filling the room with its perfume
smiling and showing her golden teeth
And swinging her red coral earrings
Bekita, Bekita,
Bekita, Bekita.

But when a gutsy old man
Dared to invite Bekita
To join him in the tumba,
He was flabbergasted
That such a delicate lady
Could sway her hips in total abandon:

Bekita, Bekita,
For whom did you take
Bekita, Bekita
Who did you think she was
Bekita, Bekita
Bekita, Bekita
Bekita, Bekita

Translated by Aart G. Broek. Source: Callaloo, Vol. 21, No. 3, Carribean Literature from Suriname, The Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, and The Netherlands: A Special Issue (Summer, 1998), p. 577

Start below video at 2 minutes to hear Bekita recited in Papiamentu… in the rythm of our Tumba.

Little known Awesome fact: Bekita is the nickname for Rebecca, a young Jewish woman.

Despite being forbidden by her own social circle, Bekita slips away to join a tumba party, primarily an Afro-Antillean cultural phenomenon at the time. This Jewish woman stupefies everyone by dancing the tumba just like any black woman would… a true symbol of creolization.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Narda

    Super cultureel, erg mooi. En een geweldig interessante, en modern vormgegeven encyclopedie van 1000 awesome things.

  2. Pingback: 757. In Celebration of International Mother Language Day.. « 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao

  3. Astonishing. Exhilarating. Timeless.

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