Dédé Magrite wasn't muslim

Azaka is not muslimDessalines wasn't muslimBoukman wasn't the revolutionary army's leader
Boukman wasn't muslimVèvè (ritual drawings) are not muslimThe drapo (ritual flags) are not islamic
Macandal wasn't muslim
The origin of Macandal

Author : Rodney Salnave
Function : Dougan (Scribe)
Date : March 3, 2017
(Updated : Mar. 10, 2017)

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the islamic or christian revisionists do not shrink from anything in order to capture the Haitian revolution and surrender it to anyone who is not Haitian. One of the heroines to suffer their boundless affront is Dédé Magrite (sounds Magritte), a legendary Manbo (great woman official of Haiti's Ancestral Tradition). The fact that she was the Manbo that founded a famous traditional worship sanctuary, did not prevent the revisionists to declare her "muslim" :
"Are they many Islamic influences in Vodou today?" asks Jim.
I am going to advance eight points to show Islamic presence in Vodou and let you judge for yourself.

Dede Magrit was the name of the founder of the famous hounfo "Nan Kanpech" that dates from the time of Independence. Dede is usually perceived today as a Manbo because of her feminine name but in Arabic, Dede means: "father, ancestor, grandfather". King Henri Christophe, it is said, was very wary of her (or his?) activities and kept a constant watch on the hounfo from the Citadelle. It would be more understandable if, in reality, Dede Magrit was a man since at that time Moslems were reputed to be great warriors and could have been seen as a threat to the Northern Kingdom of Haiti.
As time passes, it becomes hard to distinguish the origin of certain rituals probably because it is totally negligible to the practice of Vodoun. However, our religion being basically an ancestral religion doesn't forget those who were the precursors of our Independance." (1)
We saw that, shameless, this revisionist did not hesitate for a second to change Dédé Magrite's gender, in order to make it conform to his Arabic word : "Dede" which would mean "father, ancestor, grandfather", according to him.* And he unveiled the essence of his approach, by insinuating falsely that "Moslems were reputed to be great warriors"**, and that they were "those who were the precursors of our Independance.".

Who was Dédé Magrite?

Over the years, information about Dédé Magrite comes mainly from officials of the Nan Kanpèch historical sanctuary (near Cap Haitian, in Northern Haiti) that she founded. Although such information is provided orally, it maintains a consistency that attests to its authenticity. This information tells us, unequivocally, that

1) Dédé Magritte was indeed a woman, her real name being, ironically, Marguerite Jean Vodou :

"Sangosse, renvoyé à La Coupe-à-David par le roi, devient, peu après, son conseiller. Il devient même un des constructeurs du fameux centre voudoo de Nan Campêche, où il est, sur la demande expresse de Christophe, associé à Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite)." (2)
Translation :
"Sangosse, sent back to La Coupe-à-David by the King, soon became his adviser. He even became one of the builders of the famous voudoo center of Nan Campêche, where, at the express request of Christophe, he was associated with Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite)."
It must be understood that Bebe Pierre Louis, the Haitian intellectual, looked into the nickname of Madame Vodou, whom he shamefully tried to islamize. But he did not bother to verify her real name.

The "Dédé" nicknane

2) Moreover, the Dédé nickname is not a sign of islamic ties meaning "father". Far from that. "Dédé" was a nickname used in the colony of Saint Domingue (Haiti) to designate an old woman holding religious / syncretic power :

"Ce serait inutilement que la religion chercherait à détruire toutes ces superstitions. Les Dédés, ou vieilles femmes, les perpétuent et ne souffriraient pas qu'on y touchât. C'est à ces béguines ["Les béguines de Belgique sont des femmes vivant en communautés catholiques très austères, sans toutefois prononcer les voeux comme de religieuses" (note de l'éditeur)] que l'on doit encore le respect pour la sanctification du vendredi. Rien ne commence ce jour-là. Les Dédés sont communément des négresses âgées, qui, devenues vertueuses et très catholiques par impuissance de plaire, passent les derniers jours de leur vie dans le jeûne et la prière. Ces vénérables matrones ont charge d'âmes. Ce sont elles qui préparent les jeunes à la communion, et, ensuite au mariage et au placement. Un curé n'a de force qu'autant qu'il leur convient. Il faut qu'il ait une foi aussi absurde que la leur. Elles ont le peuple pour elles, et on ne peut disconvenir qu'elles sont d'autant plus dignes de la vénération que leur grand âge n'est pas une raison d'être sage dans un pays où il y a beaucoup de vieux libertins.
La puissance des Dédés a pour rivale celle des parrains et surtout des marraines. Un parrain, une marraine, sont plus que père et mère. Qui oserait se marier ou se placer sans leur consentement?" (3)
Translation :
"It would be useless for religion to seek to destroy all these superstitions. The Dédés, or old women, perpetuate them and would not let any one touch them. It is to these beguines ["The beguines of Belgium are women living in very austere Catholic communities, without however pronouncing the vows like nuns do" (publisher's note)] that one still owes the respect for the Friday sanctification. Nothing takes place on that day. The Dédés are commonly elderly negresses, who, having become virtuous and very catholic by impotence to please, spend the last days of their lives in fasting and prayer. These venerable matrons have charge of souls. They are the ones who prepare young people for communion, and then for marriage and living together. A priest has strength only as far as he suits them. He must have a faith as absurd as theirs. They have the people for them, and it cannot be denied that they are all the more worthy of veneration due to their great age that is not proof of wisdom in a country where exist many old libertines.
The power of the Dédés has for rival that of the godfathers and especially of the godmothers. A godfather, a godmother, are more than father and mother. Who would dare to marry or live together without their consent?"

"Dédé" as a proper name

3) Other than a nickname having a spiritual meaning in the Saint Domingue colony as well as in freshly independent Haiti, "Dede", according to Jeannot Hilaire, served (or serves) as proper name in modern Haiti. And as proper name, "Dede" is also attributed to the feminine gender :
"Dede, ewelguang = nom propre attribuée à la première fille (D. Westermann 1905/54). - En Haïti, Dede = nom propre également utilisé pour les filles; difficile d'affirmer si c'est rigoureusement à la première fille! " (4)
Translation :
"Dede, ewelguang = Proper name attributed to the first daughter (D. Westermann 1905/54). - In Haiti, Dede = proper name also used for girls; difficult to say if it is strictly for the first-born girl!"

Conflict between Dédé Magrite and King Henry?

4) Dédé Magritte does not have a conflictual relationship with King Henry said Christophe. On the contrary, she was his counselor :
"La célèbre mambo du roi Christophe, Dédé Magrit', fut enterrée dans la cour du temple de « Lan Campêche », à quelques kilomètres du Cap Haïtien. Pendant la campagne anti-superstitieuse, son tombeau fut violé et ses restes dispersés. « Lan Campêche » reste cependant un des hauts lieux du vaudou." (5)
Translation :
"The famous mambo of King Christophe, Dédé Magrit', was buried in the courtyard of the "Lan Campêche" temple, located a few kilometers from the Cap Haitian. During the anti-superstitious campaign, her tomb was violated and her remains scattered. "Lan Campêche" remains one of the high places of voodoo." 
And, it is said that, Dede Magritte accompanied her King into battle :

 "Marie-Jeanne qui ne quittait jamais sa machette ou Dédé Magrit qui accompagnait Christophe dans les batailles qu'il livrait pour créer une société nouvelle!" (6)
Translation :
"Marie-Jeanne who never left aside her machete or Dédé Magrit who accompanied Christophe in the battles he raged to create a new society!"
That Dédé Magrite accompanied King Henry into battles is a tactic of the first years of the revolution, rather than that of the later times when Henry was a General***. In the absence of written documents attesting to such an event, we keep reservation on this often repeated point.

Was King Henry wary of Dédé Magrite?

5) "King Henri Christophe, it was said, was very suspicious of her activities and kept a constant watch on the hounfo of the Citadel." The revisionist alludes here to the positioning of the Dédé Magrite's Nan Kanpèch shrine, which faces the citadel Henry. Such a positioning was more a mystical alliance than a bellicose position. The proof being that several researchers, including Milo Rigaud, say that Nan Kanpèch was established by a royal ordinance :
Il [le Houngan Louis Sangosse] devient même un des constructeurs du fameux centre voudoo de Nan Campêche, où il est, sur la demande expresse de Christophe, associé à Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite). (7)
Translation :
"He [Houngan Louis Sangosse] even became one of the builders of the famous voudoo center of Nan Campêche, where, at the express request of Christophe, he was associated with Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite)."
Again, we opt for reservation on the royal ordinance claim, since the same author informs us that the land used for the temple was bought by Dédé Marguerite. Now, the Royal State would certainly have covered the expenses of this land purchase, if that were the case :
"Le maître occulte de Nan Campêche est l'ange Papa Pierre Bangui Bah-sih-cò et le mystère qui commanda à Dédé Marguerite d'acheter la terre est Zaca Ma-sò-cò. Dans les archives secrètes du bagui existent des lettres signées des plus hautes personnalités de l'histoire d'Haïti signalant leur fidélité et leur générosité envers le centre : Dessalines, empereur d'Haiti ; Christophe, roi d'Haïti ; Florvil Hyppolite, président d'Haiti... Le roi Christophe avait même donné au oum'phor de Nan Campêche une autorisation éternelle d'y célébrer les mystères - autorisation malheureusement perdue et qui, d'ailleurs, a été, par la suite, injustement révoquée par les chefs d'Etat qui l'ont suivi au pouvoir." (8)
Translation :
"The occult master of Nan Campêche is the angel Papa Pierre Bangui Bah-sih-cò and the mystery that ordered Dédé Marguerite to buy the land is Zaca Ma-sò-cò. In the bagui's secret archives there exist letters signed by the highest personalities in the history of Haiti, signaling their fidelity and generosity towards the center : Dessalines, emperor of Haiti; Christophe, king of Haiti; Florvil Hyppolite, President of Haiti... King Christophe had even given Nan Campêche's oum'phor an eternal authorization to celebrate the mysteries - authorization unfortunately lost and which, incidentally, was, unjustly revoked by the heads of state who succeeded him to power."
What seems more probable to us is that, guided by the Jany, Dédé Magritte built her temple by her own means, with, beforehand, royal permission. But this is not infallible proof of a good understanding between Dédé Magrite and the deemed authoritarian King. The most tangible proof of Dede Magrit's affection for her Sovereign lies in the positioning, not of the temple, but of her tomb :
"Dans la cour même du bagui de Nan Campêche, existe encore la tombe de Dédé Marguerite, qu'on honore comme un ange, comme un mystère, comme une loa. La tombe est placée de manière que ceux qui la visitent puissent voir, à la fois, la Citadelle Laferrière construite par Christophe sur le sommet du Bonnet-à-I'Evêque, en se tournant vers le Sud-Est. Cette disposition existe de par la volonté même de Christophe." (9)
Translation :
"In the very courtyard of Nan Campeche, there is still the tomb of Dede Marguerite, whom one honors as an angel, as a mystery, as a loa. The tomb is placed so that those who visit it can see, at the same time, the Citadel Laferrière built by Christophe on the Bonnet-à-l'Evêque summit, turning towards the South-East. This disposition exists by Christophe's very will."
Milo Rigaud, the author, is mistaken on 2 points. The first being that Dessalines, who was assassinated in 1806, couldn't have showed generosity to this center built during the Reign of Henry, his successor (1806-1820). The second point concerns the location of Manbo Dédé Magrite's tomb which, Rigaud said, the King would have chosen. However, Mrs. Durand, in charge of the Nan Kanpèch sanctuary, testifies that, on the contrary, Dédé Magrite personally - and freely - designated the site of her grave, which we believe, without any supporting evidence, was erected after the Death of King Henry and the fall of his Kingdom :

 "À peine arrivé au temple de Nan Campèche, je suis reçu par une Mambo.  « Madame Durand » me raconte l'origine étrange de son sanctuaire, qu'elle a surnommé : "l'Archange la fleur de rose" :   « C'est D.D. Magritte qui a fondé Nan Campèche. Cette demoiselle avait disparu dans l'eau. (…) Avant de mourir, elle a dit que c'est là qu'on devait l'enterrer. On a fait un caveau et on l'a enterré… »" (10)
Translation :
"Just arrived at the temple of Nan Campeche, I am received by a Mambo. "Madame Durand" tells me the strange origin of her sanctuary, which she nicknamed "the rose flower Archangel" : "It is D.D. Magritte who founded Nan Campèche. This young lady had disappeared in the water. (...) Before she died, she said that it was there that we had to bury her. We made a vault and buried her..."

Dédé Magrite's sanctuary's name

6) The fact that Dédé Magrite's sanctuary was nicknamed "the rose flower Archangel" ****, testifies to the syncretic aspect (catholic/traditional religion) of its cult. For, as we saw above, the "Dedés" worked in collaboration with the Catholic priests they controlled.
This "rose flower archangel" in question refers to Barachiel, an archangel of the Orthodox (non-islamic) church, whose mission is to intercept prayers to God. Associated with the rose flower, symbolizing the spread of divine grace, Barachiel (whose name means "God's blessings") (11) is often depicted in the feminine form :

"Archange Baraquiel", by Bartolomé Román.  (Museo del Prado). 
Source :

Thus, having a female representation, this archangel serving as an intermediary between the Creator and living beings approaches the intermediate function of the Jany or Lwa of the ancestral Tradition. This must have pleased the syncretic sensitivity of Manbo Marguerite Jean Vodou, known as Dédé Magrite, or at least that of Manbo Madame Durand.

The case of Houngan Louis Sangosse 

7) Finally, to the assertion of the revisionist Bebe Pierre-Louis that any conflict of a religious leader would mean that this leader was a muslim, we'll reply with the story of Houngan Louis Sangosse, who was summoned by King Henry, due to a misunderstanding. And during this interview, the King suggested him to join Dédé Marguerite :
Louis Sangosse, houn'gan de La coupe-à-David (environ du Cap-Haïtien), fut arrêté par la police du roi Henri Christophe qui lui reprochait de battre le tambour trop souvent. Dès que Sangosse comparait devant Christophe, il est « monté » par le mystère voudoo Papa So-sih Baderre (Saint Joseph) qui s'adresse ainsi au roi : « Vous avez deux poules-à-Joli, l'une bonne, l'autre mauvaise. Vous allez tomber du trône, car vous vous croyez Dieu. Quand l'orage du ciel gronde. Vous lui répondez en faisant tirer, par vos artilleurs, le canon Manman Pim'bha pointé sur le firmament. Or, comme moi, votre nom caché est Papa So-sih Baderre ! »
Christophe supplie Papa So d'empêcher sa chute, mais Papa So lui répond que l'heure de cette chute a sonné : « L'heu-à-ou sonnin ! » dit l'ange. En effet, l'événement tragique de l'église de Limonade où le roi tombe lorsqu'il essaie de frapper de sa cravache le prêtre qui critiquait son administration, se produit peu après. Et, une fois que le roi est tombé contre la paroi de l'église en se blessant, son premier soin est de réclamer une « poule-à-Joli » pour confectionner le remède qui pourrait le sauver…
Sangosse, renvoyé à La Coupe-à-David par le roi, devient, peu après, son conseiller. Il devient même un des constructeurs du fameux centre voudoo de Nan Campêche, où il est, sur la demande expresse de Christophe, associé à Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite.)" (12)
Translation :
Louis Sangosse, houn'gan of La Coupe-à-David (around Cap-Haitian), was arrested by King Henri Christophe's police who reproached him of beating the drum too often. As soon as Sangosse appeared before Christophe, he was "mounted" by the mystery of Papa So-sih Baderre (Saint Joseph), who thus addressed the king : "You have two poules-à-Joli [two chickens], one good, one other bad. You will fall from the throne, for you believe yourself God. When the storm rumbles in the sky. You answer it by having your gunners fire the Manman Pim'bha cannon pointed at the sky. Now, like me, your hidden name is Papa So-sih Baderre! "
Christophe begs Papa So to prevent his fall, but Papa So replies to him that the hour of this fall has sounded : "Lheu-à-ou sonnin!", said the angel. Indeed, the tragic event of the Limonade church where the king falls when he tries to strike with his whip the priest who criticizes his administration, occurs soon after. And, once the king fell against the church wall, hurting himself, his first care is to claim a "poule-à-Joli" [chicken] to make the remedy that could save him...
Sangosse, sent back to La Coupe-à-David by the King, soon became his adviser. He became one of the builders of the famous Nan Campêche voudoo centre, where, at  Christophe's express request, he associated with Marguerite Jean Vodou (Dédé Marguerite.)"
This narrative, at first sight, would seem comical, or even improbable. Yet, the creole that it contains authenticates it. For, although reported by Milo Rigaud, a West-province author, grammatically the story is consistent with the Creole spoken in Northern Haiti. And contrary to the so-called "Bwa Kay Iman" falsification, the Milo Rigaud story contains the "a" Nordic possession marker in the expressions : "Lheu-à-ou sonnin" (your hour has sounded), "poule-à-Joli" (Joli's chicken), "La Coupe-à-David" (David's Cup), "Bonnet-à-l'Evêque" (the Priest's Bonnet). For further information on this particular aspect, read the Kay + Iman in Northern Haitian Creole article.

In short, the points we have just raised allow us to affirm that Marguerite Jean Vodou, aka Dédé Magrite (Dede Magrit) was not muslim. She was a first-rate Manbo that made a remarkable contribution to Haiti's physical, religious and moral foundation.

* In our non-extensive research, we did not find "Dede" to mean "father or ancestor" in Arabic.
We found the word "alab" (الآب)  that means "father" in Arabic. "Ancestor" is said "salaf" (سلف).  And "dad' is said "walid" (والد) or "babaan" (بابا).
** Today's people, looking at the carnage perpetuated by muslims throughout the world, imagine that the few islamic captives (slaves) in Saint Domingue (Haiti) were behaving in this way. They are wrong. For no colonial text ever mentioned that the Saint Domingue islamized captives were warlike. On the countrary, throughout the duration of the Saint Domingue colony, as in "Africa", Black muslims were peaceful. In 1804, the haitian revolution (1791-1803) was already over, Haiti was already independent, and all "African" migration has long ceased, when Sheik Dan Fodio has started the first jihad (holy war) in West "Africa" : "Islam went its way peacefully, except when traditional leaders sought to block it; then it went to war. Such were the circumstances that led the Fulani Muslim leader Shehu Usuman Dan Fodio (of Sheik Dan Fodio) to begin a jihad, or holy war, in 1804 against the hostile government of King Yunfa of Gobir, considered by jihadists to be a wayward Muslim". (13)
*** We do not imply that there weren't women who fought in the final phase of the revolution, because there were women squads in the revolutionary camps. But these women were genuine soldiers, while religious leaders such as Dédé Magrite, their presence was seen more in the start of the revolution, when groups of Mambo would sing and dance in front of the marching rebel troops.
**** Unless the nickname "the rose flower Archangel" comes personally from Madame Durand, for considerations unrelated to Dédé Magrite.

(1) Bebe Pierre Louis. A reply post in Bob Corbett's historical blog. March 12, 2001."Islamic Influences on Haitian Voodoo". URL : ; Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
(2) Milo Rigaud. La tradition voudoo et le voudoo haïtien. Paris, 1953. p.74.
(3) Gaspard Théodore Mollien. Moeurs d'Haiti. Paris, 2006. p.127.
(4) Jeannot Hilaire. L'édifice créole en Haïti, Fribourg, 2002. p.314.
(5) Claude Planson. Vaudou, un initié parle. Paris, 1974. p.16.
(6) Claude Planson. Op. Cit. p.72.
(7) Milo Rigaud. Op. Cit. p.75.
(8) Ibid.
(9) Ibid.
(10) Najman. Haïti, Dieu seul me voît. Paris, 1995. p.184.
(11) Whitney Hopler. "Meet Archangel Barachiel, Angel of Blessings". Updated February 06, 2017. [online] URL : ; Retrieved on March 3, 2017.
(12)  Milo Rigaud. Op. Cit. p.74.
(13) João José Reis, Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. London 1993. p. 94. 

How to cite this article:
Rodney Salnave. "Tamerlan wasn't muslim".
March 3, 2017 ; Updated Mar. 10, 2017. [online] URL: ; Retrieved on [enter date]

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