AJA brings De Apology
“BUSSA, YUH WAS betrayed by de enslaved of Mount Wilton Plantation, who acted against de 1816 Rebellion. Dem was rewarded wid money fuh dem actions, and use it to purchase lan’ to create de first free black village in Barbados at Rock Hall, St Thomas. As uh descendant of Robert Downes, one of de founders of Rock Hall, I am publicly sayin’ dat I’m sorry an’ apologise fuh dem actions”.
The above apology comes in the form of a poem entitled De apology – Bussa I’m Sorry by Bajan rhythm poet Adisa AJA Andwele.
The poem proposes that the dynamic between Rock Hall and Bussa is on-going – the village exists because of the 1816 Rebellion. It indicates that the presence of the Freedom Monument embodies a rectification process; and in this process the objectives of the Bussa Rebellion are still present.
De Apology refers to the fact that despite the reasons why or how Rock Hall Freedom Village came into being, its purpose should not be diminished. AJA sees the Rock Hall Monument as an embodiment of the island’s liberation process, necessitated by a healing which needs to take place as a result of the trauma of slavery.
The poem recognises the village’s contribution to the liberation energies surrounding the struggle of Samuel Jackman Prescod – another National Hero – and his rise to confront the ruling class on behalf of the newly freed black population. His passage into the House of Assembly was made possible because of the residents of the first free black village.
The action of the enslaved at Mount Wilton Plantation is one of the two deceptions highlighted in the poem, which General Bussa gravely experienced. The other refers to the arrival of a black army (black professional slave soldiers of the British army known as the Bourbon Regiment) at Bayley’s Plantation, St Philip, where the decisive battle took place.
There’s the view that General Bussa and his army thought that the army arrived to fight on their side since they were black. However, Bussa’s celebration was brief as the black army started to shoot his liberation fighters.
De apology – Bussa I’m Sorry features Khiomal on lead vocals with Paula Hinds and Karen “Marisa Lindsay” Griffith on backup-vocals. The track also features Richard “Salief” Smith on djembe, while all other musical programming was executed by Lowrey Leon Worrell, who also arranged, produced, recorded and mastered the track. (PR)