- An Interview with the Joya Family*
Why do people use two last names here?
It is a custom that has been around for many years. The woman contributes one last name and the dad the other.
Is it that way in the whole country?
I think it's like that in the whole country.
They all have two names, and lately, babies have been getting three names.
Like your grandson?
Of course. They give him his name, his dad's name, and also his mom's name.
In your country, people use only one name?
No, they use two names and the dad's last name.
They don't use the mother's name?
It's not used.
Here the mother's last name is lost when the grandchildren come. I think women are given less importance.
That must be because of culture, because here Spaniards came and there, the English did. The English were stricter with the last names. That is to say, they had more [End Page 402] coordination. On the other hand, here the Spaniards had women with more legal rights. The situation was a bit more relaxed in this sense, that's why the tradition was maintained.
Culturally speaking, it was the Spaniards who practically gave blacks their last names here. We can suppose that we, those who were brought from Africa, had last names like Kuntaquin or Quetazul or who knows what. When buying the slaves, the Spanairds gave them their last names. I think that's how it was.
Or they gave them the hacienda's name.
Sometimes the master couldn't give them all the same last name anymore. That's where the change in last names came from. The Joyas, the Buenaños, the Padillas, the Codillos, the Cartajenas, the Baiprosios then appear. You could say all these last names were invented by the Spaniards for a certain number of slaves.
None of the slaves kept the last names they had in their country?
None of them. They erased all of that.
They took everything. Upon arrival here, our ancestors were branded like cattle. I imagine that it was to differentiate them. When marking someone like that, I imagine many of them died.
It depends, because I know that in the United States they also branded the slaves. The brand was simpler. It was like a tin can, thinner. It wasn't like that one over there that I still use. With that one, if you brand a man, he won't survive. He won't last even a day. The truth is, here everybody's going to talk to you about certain things related to slavery in this place. But the reality is that there are people who for their own self-interest have invented things and the history of the race. I can tell you that my uncle has better knowledge and understanding of what has happened because he has known older people who were closer to that era. Because of him and other people like him, you come to know certain things about that time. For instance, there's no specific date of when the Spaniards arrived with the slaves in Peru. But people say that when they arrived at the Incan empire, they had already brought blacks.
There were blacks already.
Actually, Francisco Pizarro arrived at the Incan empire and he came with a load of blacks to carry his luggage and provisions where they were going. That's why in the Incan empire, when the Indians saw a black person for the first time, they considered him a good omen.
There are still places in the mountains where that happens. There are places where people approach a black person and touch him. They think the black person is [End Page 403] painted. The little ones run to get you, pulling you to wash your hands to see if they...