Zamby, zombi, zombie

Enslavement, uprising and erasure

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  • 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:

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