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PARAMARIBO–Thousands of people gathered to take popular comedian Steven “Wesje” Westmaas and dancer Marlon “Turbo” Steward to their last resting places at Mariusrust cemetery on Friday April 29th. Wesje and Turbo died on Saturday April 22, when their car crashed on their way to district Nickerie where they would perform, plummeting the entire country into mourning.
It was as if Suriname came to a standstill from Thursday night, when thousands attended their wake and their funeral Friday afternoon. The service that started just after 12.00pm ended around 6.00pm, and the two stars –who were cousins- were finally laid to rest after dusk, with thousands of people watching, overcome by grief. Even President Desi Bouterse, who attended the funeral service, sang a song in their honor, as a testimony of how the country was suffering. “Never before has a president sang for two big Surinamers who passed on; it may well even be a first worldwide. But I want to show my gratitude for these two sons of this country,” Bouterse said; the thousands of mourners joined in.
PARAMARIBO–Suriname was plunged into mass mourning Saturday morning, when news broke that popular comedian Steven “Wesje” Westmaas had died in a car crash on the East West Link, the long stretch of road that connects Paramaribo and Nickerie. Wesje was traveling in a Mitsubishi Pajero with his wife, infant son and veteran hiphop dancer Marlon “Turbo” Steward, when one of the car’s tires exploded; the vehicle, which apparently was traveling at high speed flipped over, crashed into an electricity pole and then ended belly-up in a ditch, killing both Turbo and Wesje. The comedian’s wife and their two-year-old son survived the crash, albeit heavily injured.
Wesje, who was in his early forties, was immensely popular and loved by many. He literally took the comedic scene by storm a few years ago with the hilarious antics of The Bonyo Boys, a group of young performers that he lead. But it were his solo performances that anchored his name as one of the country’s funniest people. He was even named Surinamer of the Year 2010.
His shows, in which he satirically took aim at local disparities, were always sold out. He only recently returned from a regional tour that took him to Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten with his “Iedereen Plat” (Everybody Flat on the Ground) show, in which he portrayed his own life with the challenges that local fame brought him. He was set to travel to The Netherlands next month, where he would perform as well.
The ill-fated trip to Nickerie was for an Easter performance in district capital New Nickerie on Saturday night. Turbo, who regularly performed in Wesje’s shows with his Dance Squad, would be part of the show as well.
Their untimely deaths sent immediate shockwaves through the country. Facebook and Blackberry messenger literally exploded, as Surinamers all over the world expressed their shock that two of their country’s rising stars were snatched away in the prime of their lives. “Let’s take solace in the knowledge that Wesje and Turbo are up in Heaven cracking up all who went before us,” one person remarked.
PHILIPSBIRG, St. Maarten–Surinamese comedian Steven “Wesje” Westmaas is set to “flatten” all this Friday, when he performs in St. Maarten for the third time. His “Iedereen Plat” (all flat on the ground) show at the Cultural Center on Back Street is his satiric was of looking at the turn his life has taken since he made it big as a comedian. “My first show was an introduction of me; my second was my look at politics; in this one I am talking about the learning process I went through since I started performing on stage. The positives and negatives of being in the limelight,” he says.
The show has taken him on a tour throughout Suriname, after which he cracked up crowds in Aruba last weekend. “I am in St. Maarten now, with plans to bring the house down again,” he said on Wednesday. The last time he performed in St. Maarten, it was at the Cultural Center on Back Street, on October 9 2011. This time he performs at the Cultural Center again; the show starts at 8.00pm.
From St. Maarten Wesje travels back to Suriname –for some well-deserved rest after more than 30 shows so far- after which he heads to The Netherlands to do the show there as well.
Suriname funny Wesje man returns to St. Maarten
By Marvin A.Hokstam
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten–Wesje is coming back. When the funniest man in Suriname performed in St. Maarten last year, he cracked up everybody lucky enough to get one of the coveted seats in the Cultural Center on Back Street. Now he’s returning to bring the house down in October. Twice the comedian, with twice as much in his repertoire, with a show that’s literally twice as much as last year. Wesje: “I have grown over the past year and St. Maarten will experience it.” Twice. The show will run on October 8 and 9.