Initiator Keti Koti Tafel
Mercedes Zandwijken (1957) lives in Amsterdam. I photographed her for Zin magazine as well. Mercedes: “When I met my current Jewish partner, I learned how Jews treat their history. I realized how little I knew about my own history. It was a turning point in my life. In response, I established the foundation Keti Koti (‘breaking the chains’) table. A newly invented Dutch tradition to commemorate and celebrate the abolition of slavery with some rituals facilitated dialogue and a shared ‘reconstructed’ meal.
Mercedes: “By embracing my own history, I found more balance in my life. I realized that I had a predominantly white group of friends. Perhaps the reason was that deep inside I really wanted to belong to the white community. Nowadays it’s a very naturally, much more mixed group.”
For a long time, I was hard on myself and wasn’t allowed to pay too much attention to my clothes. Vanity was taboo. That part of me is more of balance now. When I visited Bordeaux during our vacation some weeks ago, I dared to tell my partner that I first wanted to go to all the vintage shops in town. For me, this photo shoot is icing on the cake. The suit I wear in this photo is by Caroline Biss. When I saw it in the shop during the sale I knew immediately, that will be mine! “
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