The Struggle of San Basilio de Palenque
It’s Sunday, the streets are dusty and the only arrivals to San Basilio de Palenque are some motorcycle-taxis and an old bus from the village of La María. Peddlers descend from the taxis with handmade sweets, tropical fruits or cheap Chinese sunglasses to sell on the beaches of Cartagena. The colorful bus often carries a group of tourists who come to see a mapalé dance show. Public buses drive by without taking the unpaved road that leads to the heart of San Basilio in northern Colombia. In the central plaza three things stand out: a chapel painted in pastel colors, a soccer field and the sculpture of a figure that stretches its manacled hands out to the sky. It is Benkos Biohó, a runaway slave who established this maroon community. In San Basilio, just about every palenquero (blacks of Bantú, Kikongo or Kimbundú ancestry) knows his name, yet he is virtually unknown to most Colombians.
the language of the village: