Daily Archives: September 16, 2006

Sunbury Plantation House, Barbados – Saturday Morning Thoughts

sunbury-barbados.jpg bussa.jpg sunbury-wedding-barbados.jpg

“The leader of the slave rebellion at Sunbury was King William, a friend of Bussa the rebellion leader who was later tried and put to death for his crime.”

…from the Sunbury Plantation House website (link here)

It was with great amusement (and perhaps a little bit of small-p pride) that we at the Barbados Free Press received a PRESS RELEASE from an American media organization – informing us that the Sunbury Plantation House in Barbados was available for weddings and other social functions.

That a professional media publicity organization would send this little blog the same press release that they sent to the New York Times is truly a big event around here. (And we won’t listen to any comments about it being a mistake either!) 🙂

So I visited the website of the Sunbury Plantation House, more out of curiousity than anything else.

I’ve never been to the place, although I’ve been to others. It is impossible to avoid the plantations on Barbados because they were, and are, everywhere. One could truly say that there was a time when this small island was one big plantation.

And I am incredibly affected by plantation houses.

I walk the manicured paths and touch the walls and out buildings – knowing who built them. Imagining the loneliness of being ripped from family, home and society – transported to Barbados under the most horrible conditions. Death. Filth. Rape. Cages. Chains.

Can we really imagine the horror? The reality?

The Slavers Debated “Tight pack or loose pack”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to read this.


So when I walk a plantation, for me, it feels somewhat as I imagine I would feel at Dachau or Sobibor. Not the same feeling, you understand – but perhaps a more difficult mixture of emotions because if my ancestors had not gone through their hell, our family might be still living in today’s hell of Nigeria, Rwanda or Congo.

Difficult thoughts and emotions.

Bussa’s Rebellion – and maybe the man himself – Touched Sunbury Plantation House

And then I read on the Sunbury Plantation website that the slave leader Bussa touched this place with his ideas and his will. How would Bussa feel about seeing this plantation today?

Would he be pleased to see happy dark-skinned brides dressed in white at this place? Laughing families celebrating the start of another generation – and the flag of an independent Barbados flying in front of the plantation owner’s home.

I imagine that Bussa would understand, maybe even be pleased to see the society that we have made on our island.

But would Bussa understand this…

I can never forget where I came from… but I am not African. I am not British.

I am Bajan.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Culture & Race Issues, Island Life, Traveling and Tourism