Fabre, Niza Books

Dr. Niza Fabre is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Literature at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She earned her Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from The City University of New York. She is the author of a book on Jorge Icaza, who is considered one of the top authorities of social realism in Ecuador. Dr. Fabre has also published numerous articles on Peninsular Medieval, Golden Age, 19th and 20th century literature and Spanish-American literature from the colonial times to the contemporary era. She is editor of The Cultural Journal, a literary magazine.

Blacks in Central America by Santiago Valencia Chalá
2006 0-7734-5762-3
The book Blacks in Central America, written in Spanish by Santiago Valencia Chalá and edited and translated into English by Dr. Niza Fabre, further validates and authenticates the history of the African presence in the Caribbean and Central America. This eight-chapter book is a sketch of the history of Africans in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and their national identities referred to as Garifuna culture.

The centrality of a spiritual life in the cosmology of the Garifuna is well-documented in the second chapter. Bypassing the traditional belief system of a monotheistic God as defined by the Roman Catholic religion, the Garifunas embraced the dualistic concepts of African and Indian rites of ascension into the state of deification. The division of the human soul into three parts, Anigi (animal spirit), Luani (soul) and Afurugu (supernatural) allow the individual’s final journey to its resting place.

The other chapters include a thumbnail historical and contemporary portrayal of blacks in Central America and other Caribbean countries.

The introduction of the book is an overview of the cosmology and the history of Africans in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, from early 16th century until the first decade of the 21st century. The cosmology of the Afro-Ecuadorians presented in the introduction underlines the spirits and apparitions as leading forces in the rural life of Ecuador in general.

This book adds to the voluminous interdisciplinary work of the centrality of Africa within Latin America.