Zamby, zombi, zombie

Enslavement, uprising and erasure

Featured in

  • Published 20220428
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-71-9
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

ANGRY MEN GATHERED in the dark of night at Bois Caïman, the Alligator Woods, under the shadow of the mountain Morne Rouge in northern Saint-Domingue on 14 August 1791. Two hundred slaves transported by boat from Africa, forced by French plantation owners to tend sugarcane in an alien land. That night in the Alligator Woods, violence hung on the air and a storm thrashed the swamp trees.

A leader rose from the febrile mass formed round the bonfire they had kindled – Dutty Boukman, the ‘Book Man’, the Vodou hougan or priest, chief servant of the guardian spirits. Boukman transfixed the plantation slaves with his burning eyes. He bid them slit the throat of a sacrificial pig and ordered that each drink from the gushing wound. The ritual complete, Dutty Boukman spoke to the assembled slaves in his sonorous voice:

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

More from author

On the forging of identity 

Non-fictionThe night Sartre spoke in Paris can be seen as a hinge in time, the moment when modernity and its focus on individual identity came to the fore after the destruction of the old order. We are still living on the far side of the door Sartre pointed us through. Of course, modernity had a thousand authors. It was the product of billions of lives lived in close proximity. But Sartre, to me, best articulated a modern creed of what it means to be human.

More from this edition

Beyond the frontier

IntroductionClick here to listen to Editor Ashley Hay read her introduction ‘Beyond the frontier’. A LONG TIME ago, I spent a day on a replica of HMS Endeavour on...

Radical hope in the face of dehumanisation

In ConversationOur Elders are the epitome of these thousands of generations of existence and survival in this place, and if we’re thinking about the future of the world and our survival, we need to be learning from these people. They hold the most knowledge, the most intimate knowledge of not just surviving but of thriving and maintaining generosity in the face of all the challenges.

Glitter & gold

PoetryListen to Sachém Parkin-Owens read his poem ‘Glitter & gold’ accompanied by world-renowned beatboxer Tom Thumb. We need action Not condolences Far too long we marched, danced and died Screamed, starved and...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.