A Tribute to Philip Moore by Leonard Dabydeen

A Tribute to Philip Moore by Leonard Dabydeen

The passing of Philip Moore brings deep memory of our 1763 Berbice African Slave Rebellion. He was heart and soul as an artist and sculptor. Guyanese will remember him over time.

Guyana: Cuffy’s 1763 Rebellion Monument by Philip Moore

Cuffy -1763 Berbice African Slave Rebellion



By Leonard Dabydeen

Close your eyes
go to sleep;
we shall not weep
but lift our heads
up high
to watch this monument
that you built upon
rocks of African slaves;

embellishment –
rising to emancipation glory,

plantation Lilienburg rustling
with breezes across
the Canje river.
And callous hands
stained in brown sugar
Cuffy and Akara
stirring a rebellion
Governor Van Hoogenheim
move house
in the heart of Magdalenenburg,
with a new dawn
for independent Guyana
with Cuffy
towering in the nation’s capital:
a monument
at the Square of the Revolution !


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  • needybad4u  On 05/16/2012 at 4:37 am


  • Morefiiyaa  On 05/16/2012 at 9:05 am

    I was blessed to have visited Guyana and seen this statue and learn about Cuffy last year. Sorry to hear that the artist has passed.

  • Joanne  On 05/17/2012 at 4:46 am

    Didnt Akara rise up against Cuffy?

    • needybad4u  On 05/17/2012 at 5:28 am

      @ Joanne: Akara did not ‘rise up against Cuffy’. According to our history, Akara led unauthorized attacks on white plantation owners. Cuffy and Akara disagreed on principles. Eventually Cuffy killed himself.
      History tells us that:
      “The 1763 Monument in the heart of Georgetown is a fitting tribute to the African slave Cuffy and the history of the proud Afro-Guyanese people. Cuffy lead the 1763 Slave Revolt on 23 February, 1763 from his base at Plantation Lilienburg, along with his deputy Akara. Cuffy’s army of African slaves overthrew the Berbice governor van Hoogenheim and Cuffy ruled as the Governor of Berbice. ”


      Note: It is never too late to turn the pages of our history books. My poem on Philip Moore and commentaries here by KNEWS EDITORIAL and others will certainly spark new knowledge on the migratory pattern of our people…African slaves…Indentureship…how the British divided our people with bitter-sweet umbrage for our freedom, leaving us to make-believe that unity in diversity will never come to light as we strive to build one nation, one people, with one destiny.
      Thank you for asking. Bless you.
      ~Leonard Dabydeen

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 05/17/2012 at 7:43 am

    As we continue to pay tribute to Philip Moore, our focus must remain on the elusive dream we entertain at nation building. The great souls of the past may not have died in vain if we will not make their struggles for a better life our priorities in our own lives. Slavery and Indentureship have robbed us of our values in this most de humanising system that brought our ancestors from one continent to the next. The lives lived of Cuffy and Accra are the hallmarks of selfless sacrifices and history has documented this. The very history is also documenting our failures to act in a particular way to make the motto One Nation One People One destiny a dream come through. The voices in the wilderness are those of fear and hopelessness but when shall we understand that the blood, sweat and sacrifices of our beloved ancestors shall wash our hands if we fail to make our days happier, better and greater. Let not their sacrifices be in Vain!

  • needybad4u  On 05/17/2012 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you for your comments, CB. Together we seem to be failing our ancestors – either completely misunderstanding their sacrifices or totally ignorant of their efforts to dampen the heat of British colonialisn. Or both. Yet Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘ You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty,the ocean does not become dirty.’ Also, the Mahatma proclaimed: ‘Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.’ Harmony was the work of Philip Moore as he chiseled in wood what is now a bronze statue of Cuffy, the leader of the 1763 Berbice African Slave Rebellion. We watch, yet we fail to comprehend the harmony of this work in our lives.
    Bless you.
    ~Leonard Dabydeen

  • Merlinda Gadaphi  On 05/18/2012 at 8:04 am

    RIP Philip. Now that he is gone, Guyanese can vote to pull down that damn monument. That thing brought a curse on the whole nation of Guyana. The symbol of this monument is demonic, diabolic and devilish in every sense and has nothing to do with slavery and Cuffy, the great liberator. Au contraire, it is a vodoo sign that originates in the heart of Africa and connotes oppression. Please note that since this monument was erected, the nation of Guyana went into an economic slump and never recovered. DOWN WITH THE MONUMENT!

  • Henry Muttoo  On 05/19/2012 at 12:20 pm

    It is a shame that most commentators only mention the National Monument when mentioning Philip Moore. While the monument synthesizes Philip’s work to a certain extent, his ouvre was of far greater significance than that single piece. It is time that a serious study, perhaps by Elfieida Bissember or Bernadette Persaud (There are more, of course) be done. Guyana and Africa were his sources but Philip spirit belongs to the world and Guyana must see to it that the world gets to know this.

  • needybad4u  On 05/19/2012 at 12:43 pm

    @Merlinda G : You may Rest In Peace, Merlinda. I’m pretty certain no one wants to stop you from belly-aching. Somebody’s got to do it. Bless you.
    ~Leonard Dabydeen

  • needybad4u  On 05/19/2012 at 1:11 pm

    @Henry M: I don’t think there was a deliberate attempt on the part of anyone just to focus on the National Monument ‘when mentioning Philip Moore’ .Much, much more can be said, perhaps even set in a volume or two for educational purposes and shared in the educational system about Philip Moore.Someone should think about this, or perhaps already did. But the discussions or commentaries were , I believe, prompted within limited blog entry posting as a result of the poem on Philip Moore, his excellent work on the National Monument, our reflections on the 1763 Berbice African Slave Rebellion and the fact that we are remembering the arrival of Independence from British Colonial Rule in 1966.
    I must thank Cyril Bryan for his immediate response in having this post at my request. I wonder what might have become of Philip Moore if this did not happen. Bless you.
    ~Leonard Dabydeen

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