Programmed by Rokhaya Diallo & Grace Ly
Since the days of slavery in Marie-Galante, a French overseas territory in the Caribbean, sugarcane has shaped people’s destinies. Today, workers at the Grand Anse sugar refinery are devoting their strength and hopes to the survival of their place of work, which is on its last legs. During the film, they lend their voices to read the rediscovered words of their slave ancestors, breathing new life into a forgotten memory. To prevent their world from being wiped out, they break the silence of Negroes.
“It’s always the little people that suffer.” This permanent feature of life described by one of the workers filmed by Sylvaine Dampierre in Marie-Galante has an especially bitter taste because of the colonial legacy of their trade. The unique setting of the sugar refinery in which they toil is the backdrop for a plot set between two eras. Alongside the awareness of today’s injustices, it’s the long drawn-out agony of Sébastien, yesteryear’s victim of slavery, that slowly unfolds through the voices of his 21st century descendants.
The laborious work carried out to the sound of a relentless machine punctuating difficult days has an obvious connection with the lives of their forefathers reduced to slavery, set in the not-too-distant past.
Rokhaya Diallo & Grace Ly
Authors and presenters of the Kiffe Ta Race podcast