Vakeriben

vakeriben m. story, tale, talking, dialect.

In the traditional Romani community, vakeriben was generally one of the favorite pastimes. It had various forms and functions, each of which took on a different name. Some types of vakeriben can be thought of as semi-formalised or non-formalised epic genres of Romani literary culture.

The most exceptional semi-formalised genre is vakeriben pal o mule – stories about mule. An individual experience with a ghost of the dead is permeated with local characteristics and combined with the standard idea of a mulo and its apparition. Other themes for stories are family anecdotes – vakeriben pal o dada (stories about ancestors and their remarkable deeds). Thanks to the narration of war stories these experiences are maintained very clearly in the memories of the storytellers who themselves lived through them and are passing them on to future generations.

Divano a specific type of vakeriben in Kalderaš society, is an active discussion of daily events. Through the divano, the behaviour and manners of the individual members of the Romani community are judged. Servika Roma label that kind of literary narration "o Roma vakeren" (Roma tell stories).

By means of vakeriben all kinds of information that the audience explicitly or implicitly judged according to romipen criteria was transmitted and became widespread. Through it they maintained their ethic and social norms and values. Vakeriben therefore acted as a kind of social control.

The politics of forced assimilation which tried to disperse the "undesirable Gypsy concentration" and destroy the "retarded Gypsy culture" caused incalculable damage by wrecking the controlling, humanising, ethical cultural mechanism of corrective behaviour of every member of the Romani community.

Image Printable version
1976