The origin of Macandal


Author : Rodney Salnave
Function : Dougan (Scribe)
Date : November 2, 2018
(Updated : Aug. 8, 2020)

1758, the same year that witnessed, on September 20, the birth of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haiti's future Emperor and liberator, also saw, 8 months prior, François Macandal, the Prophet poisoner, burn at the stake. From 1740 to 1757, Macandal and his accomplices terrorized with poison the northern part of the slave colony of Saint Domingue (now Haiti). But who was this Macandal whose name evoked a combination of witchcraft and poisoning? Where did he come from? What was his ethnic origin? And how did this origin affect his acts of rebellion?

1- Macandal, the traditionalist

To this day, as was the case during the Saint Domingue colony, the name Macandal inspires the fear of evil sorcery in the Haitian linguistic memory :
"Makanda : Lougawou, malveyan." (1)
Translation :
"Makanda : Sorcerer, malefactor."
But despite the magical connotation of the name "Macandal" or "Makanda", and the syncretic practices tagged with that name, some have claimed that this leader was of muslim faith. They advocate that Macandal came either from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or from the Maghreb; and that he drew his subversive motivation in the islamic religion. In previous articles, and with undeniable proof, we have dismissed all of these fabrications. Because the evidence dictates that Macandal was not a muslim. How could he have been of that faith, when he was arrested at a social party, completely drunk, having consumed tafia, that is to say strong alcohol, which is prohibited in islam

"Il [Macandal] avait eu l'audace de se rendre sur l'habitation Dufresne, au Limbé, un jour de fête. "M. Duplessis, arpenteur, et M. Trévan, habitant qui étaient sur cette habitation, instruits que Macandal y était caché, firent distribuer du tafia largement, de sorte que les nègres se saoûlèrent et que Macandal lui-même fut bientôt ivre. On alla l'arrêter dans une case à nègres, d'où on le conduisit à la maison principale..." (2)
Translation :
"He [Macandal] had the audacity to go to the Dufresne plantation, in Limbé, a day of celebration. "Duplessis, a surveyor, and M. Trévan, who lived on this dwelling, informed that Macandal was hidden there, had tafia distributed widely, so that the Negroes were drunk and that Macandal himself was soon drunk. They stopped him in a Negro hut, from where he was taken to the main house..."
François Macandal was, on the contrary, a deified traditionist who is still venerated in the Haitian ritual. This 1969 extract testifies to that fact :

"Esprits de la terre : Legba, Loko, Aizan, Avré-Kêté, Ti Houa-Houé, Guédé, Makandal." (3)
Translation :
"Spirits of the earth : Legba, Loko, Aizan, Avré-Kêté, Ti Houa-Houé, Guédé, Makandal."
Moreover, Brigitte the poisoner, Macandal's tender wife, having shared his fight as well as the fire at the stake, is also deified in the Haitian ritual. She is venerated under the name of Grann Brijit or Manman Brijit, the Divinity (Lwa/Jany) of Death.

(Vèvè of Manman Brijit)
Source : Milo Rigaud. Ve-Ve : Diagrammes Rituels du Voudou. New York, 1974. p.460.

In addition, Haitian law, for 152 years, has recognized Macandal as traditionalist. From 1835, up to 1987, articles 405, 406, 407 of the Haitian penal code condemned the "Macandals", whom were synonymous with spell casters, makers of ouangas, voodoo, fetishism, superstitions, donpèdre, dances, etc :

"Art. 4.
"Les articles 405, 406, 407 dudit Code pénal sont et demeurent modifiés comme suit :
Art. 405. Tous faiseurs de ouangas, caprelatas, vaudoux, donpèdre, macandals et autres sortilèges, seront punis de trois à six mois d'emprisonnement et d'une amende de soixante à cent cinquante gourdes par le tribunal de simple police et en cas de récidive, d'un emprisonnement de six mois à deux ans et d'une amende de trois cents à mille gourdes, par le tribunal correctionnel, sans préjudice des peines plus fortes qu'ils encourraient à raison des délits ou crimes par eux commis pour préparer ou accomplir leurs maléfices.
Toutes danses et autres pratiques quelconques qui seront de nature à entretenir dans les populations l'esprit de fétichisme et de superstition, seront considérées comme sortilèges et punies des mêmes peines." (4)
Translation : 
"Art 4.
Articles 405, 406, 407 of the Penal Code are and remain amended as follows:
Art. 405. All makers of ouangas, caprelatas, vaudoux, donpèdre, macandals and other spells, will be punished by three to six months of imprisonment and a fine of sixty to one hundred and fifty gourdes by the court of simple police and in case of recidivism imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of three hundred to one thousand gourdes, by the criminal court, without prejudice to the stronger penalties they would incur because of the crimes or crimes by them committed to prepare or to fulfill their evil spells.
All dances and other unspecified practices which will be of a nature to maintain the spirit of fetishism and superstition among the people, shall be considered as spells and punished with the same penalties."
And there is strong doubt that islam would recognize itself in these "superstitious" behaviors reproached to "Macandals" by Haitian law, as well as formerly by colonial law. Macandal's islamic and West-"African" thesis having been widely denied in the previous article, we now turn to Macandal's Congo hypothesis, which we have touched on earlier.

2-  The Congo hypothesis of Macandal

We are obliged to revisit the Congo thesis on Macandal, since it is the dominant thesis, for many decades now. The majority of modern scholars are of the opinion that Macandal was of Congo lineage. The Congo territory of that time covered the present Central "African" states of Angola, the 2 Congos, and part of Gabon. The bulk of the Congo thesis rests on 2 distinct points : 
  1. The etymology of the name Macandal, considered to be of Congo derivation.
  2. The claim that Macandal had 2 Congo accomplices named Teysello and Mayombe ; and that this association in itself proves that Macandal also came from the Congo.
Let's examine these 2 points.

2.1 - The etymology of the name Macandal

As we all know, Haiti does not have any serious historical research institution able to find, prove, implement, popularize and enforce its historical truths. Therefore, any random person can easily distort the names of Haitian heroes with impunity. That is why, the pro-Congos have ventured to deform as they please the historical name Macandal (also written Makandal, Mackandal or Makanda, in Creole) into Ma Kanda, Makunda, Mac Ndal, Makandala, Makwanda, Mak(w)onda, Makwonda and Makenda. They hope thus to establish a Congo origin to Macandal. But is it as simple as they think?

2.1.1- Macandal or Makandal?

The batch of the pro-Congos base their position, not on colonial testimonies, but on the etymology of the word "Macandal" identified as "Makanda" in the Congo language. (5) Certainly, the Kikongo word "MaKanda" (the plural form of "Kanda", "Dikanda" or "Likanda") means "Families" or "Clans":

"Kanda : (di-kanda) famille, clan ; ma-kanda (makanda) : familles, clans." (6)
Translation :
"Kanda: (di-kanda) family, clan, ma-kanda (makanda) : families, clans."
The "Kanda", known as "geração" in Portuguese, were clans through which royal power was formerly exercised in the Congo. However, apart from a phonetic similarity, nothing tangible in "Makanda" leads to François Macandal, the poisoning magician of Saint Domingue.

2.1.2- Ma Kanda/Makanda

In 1990, historian Carolyn E. Fick explored the Congo thesis. She found that the word "Makanda" referred to a village in the Loango Kingdom (present-day Gabon). Indeed, Makanda is the name of the first village of the Loango Kingdom, neighbor of the Kingdom of Iomba whose King bore the title of Ma Iomba or Mayomba. (Which we will analyze below)

(Makanda Village in the Loango Kingdom)
Source : Mgr. J. Cuvelier. Documents sur une mission française au Kalongo, 166-1776. Bruxelles, 1953. p.134.

However, without categorically dismissing the Congo thesis, which she believes plausible, Carolyn Fick pleaded for prudence, given the absence of evidence tangibly linking the rebel Macandal to the village called "Makanda" :
"It is nearly impossible to know precisely to which nation Makandal belonged, since nearly the entire west coast of Africa was loosely referred to at that time as "Guinea." There is, however, the place name of Ma Kanda, or Makanda, the chief village of the Loango kingdom, a part of the ancient Congo.
Although it would be tempting to try to link the origins of the Saint Dominguean maroon leader with this place, or at any rate with the surrounding region, such a linkage would still be little more than pure conjecture. (...) Without solid evidence, all of this remains speculative, nevertheless one might hazard a suggestion that, rather than "Guinea", which usually referred to the middle to upper west coast of Africa, Makandal, this messianic-type leader of slaves, may actually have come from the Congo-Angola region." (7)
But as one might expect, the promoters of Macandal's Congo filiation have hardly adopted Fick's cautious approach. Does this mean they have unearthed additional evidence? Let's take a look. 

2.1.3- Makandal, Makunda, Mac Ndal or Makandala?

For this Congolese author claiming the Prophet poisoner of Saint Domingue, the latter should be designated, not Macandal or Makandal, but "Mac Ndal", "Makunda", "Makandala", or "Ne Makandala". The prefix "Ne" would be a sign of respect in Congolese culture. (8) The revisionist author breaks down the name "Makandala" as follows :
"Ma = the form of the plural.
Kanda = the family.
La = light, knowledge ; "La" comes as a diminutive of LANGA." (9)
So, following the unproven logic of this Congo revisionist, the real name of Macandal would have been "Makandalanga", meaning in Kikongo "luminous families"? This argument is not at all realistic, not to say completely ridiculous. As we have just seen, the name "Makanda" exists in the Congo language where it means "Family" or "Clan" in the plural. But, however the final "L" in the name "Macandal" or "Makandal" is left out. And making good use of his imagination, as well as his knowledge of the Kikongo language, the revisionist author presented "La", supposedly a diminutive of "Langa" which means "Light". 
If such a case were true, this diminutive of "Langa" wouldn't it have been "Lan", instead of "La"? Knowing the nasalization tendency in Haitian Creole, (10) there is very little chance that the original word "Langa" produced the diminutive "La" instead of "Lan". In other words, in Haitian Creole, "MakandaLan" would have been a more plausible transformation of "MakandaLanga" than "Makandala" or "Ne MakandaLa" proposed by the Congo revisionist. Exception to the rule, when it comes to the Congo words starting with "N". For example "Nkisi" becomes "Kisi" in Haiti. "Ma Nzanza" (name of a Nkisi or "fetish"), becomes in Haitian Creole "Mazanza", meaning "magician", "sorcerer", "bad luck", etc. "Ndoki" becomes "Doki", "Ngudi" becomes "Gidi", and so on.

2.1.4- Makwanda?

In "Survivances africaines dans le vocabulaire religieux d'Haïti", published in 1955, authors Suzanne and Jean Comhaire-Sylvain indicated that the name "Macandal" or "Macanda" was a distortion of "Makwanda", which they think designates "amulet" or "talisman" in Congo. (11) But our analysis reveals that "Makwanda" does not mean "amulet" or "talisman" in the Kikongo language, as suggested by the Comhaire-Sylvain couple.
In Congo culture, "Makwanda" refers to a mixed dance. In the late 18th and early 19th Christian centuries, missionary Fra Luca da Caltanisetta deemed this "Makwanda" dance  obscene, due to men and women partaking in it together:

"Une autre danse, déshonnête celle-ci, s'appelle makwanda ; elle est tellement obscène que je suis porté à croire que c'est le diable en personne qui l'a inventée; cette danse s'exécute par les hommes et les femmes ensemble...
Ils exécutent une danse solennelle, car ils les frappent tout en dansant; ces danses-là que, dans leur langue, ils appellent makwanda sont immorales." (12)
Translation :
"Another dance, dishonest this one, is called makwanda, it is so obscene that I am led to believe that it is the devil himself who invented it, this dance is performed by men and women together...
They perform a solemn dance, as they strike them while dancing; those dances that in their language they call makwanda are immoral."
And as for the amulets and talismans, so emblematic of Congo spirituality, they call them "Nkisi" (Munkisi or Minkisi in the plural), Mpungu, Kiteke, etc., but not "Makwanda". (13)

2.1.5- Ma(k)wonda or Makonda?

In 1992, historian David Geggus contradicted the colonial writings by arguing that François Macandal's name derived from the magic packages or amulets he made and not the other way around. Geggus quoted Comhaire-Sylvain's text, to which he made a slight correction. Instead of "Makwanda", Geggus suggested "Mak(w)onda" as meaning "amulet" or "talisman" in the Congo language. (14) Many scholarly publications then took up Geggus' assertion, without verifying it. They wrongly propagate that the word "Makwonda" meant "amulet" or "talisman" in Kikongo. In fact, these publications misunderstood Geggus's formulation in which the "w" in "Mak(w)onda" was placed in parentheses, to express that a "talisman" is called "Makonda" in the Congo language. The text of Congolese teacher Lutete Esaya, reported by Wyatt MacGaffey, validates Geggus's statement on Makonda :
"Lutete mentions, but does not describe in detail, seven minkisi called zinkosi because they have the power to kill people suddenly; all are wooden figures: Nkondi, Kunia, Nkaya, Makonda, Mbenza Me Nsanga, Moindi, and Me Tamba." (15)
So, in Congoland, Makonda (not Makwonda) is the name of an Nkisi, that is to say a mystical Force located in a sacred object. However, if Makonda is an Nkisi or a "fetish" with the "power to kill people suddenly", its name does not consequently mean "fetish", "amulet" or "talisman" as Geggus and his followers suggested. Moreover, as MacGaffey denotes, Makonda and the Minkisi called Zinkosi were made of wood. So they were wooden statues, not the iconic magic packages made by François Macandal and his accomplices. Not to mention that in Saint Domingue, they named the magic packages "Macandals", not "Mak(w)onda", "Makonda", "Makondal", or what-have-you.
In addition, unlike Western (or Westernized) scholars who arbitrarily and indiscriminately classify a panoply of Congo mystical entities as "talismans", "amulets" or "fetishes", the Congolese traditionalists knew how to distinguish their Nkisi according to the external forms in which they resided. They distinguished those who manifested themselves in medicine bags (Mbumba), those who acted as amulets (Nsilu), those who worked in pots (Kinzu) :
"The given name of an nkisi often begins or ends with the name of its external form, such as mbumba (medicine bag), nsilu (amulet), or kinzu (pot)." (16)
It may be hypothesized that Mbumba may have been preserved in the Haitian ritual through the Lwa/Jany Kafou Boumba, Eskalye Boumba, Boumba Ganga, Boumba Maza Nkosi Danpetro, etc. However, Mbumba exists in other forms in Central "African" spirituality. Likewise, Kinzu could have been kept in the Lwa/Jany Gede Kensou. The bottom line is that some Nkisi and many other religious concepts from the former Angola-Congo territory are saved in Haiti. Makonda does not seem to be one of it. However, the word Nkisi appears in Haiti in the sacred prayers and in the names of many Deities of the Rada rite as much as in the Petro. (For more on the Petro, see 10- Appendix : Origin of the Petro Rite)

2.1.6- Makenda and Makanda

The author Hein Vanhee for his part found in the Macandal name a combination of two Congo words : "Makenda" (an executioner) and "Makanda" (a medicinal plant) :
"There is some evidence to suggest that Makandal was a Kongolese ritual specialist, composing and selling nkisi charms in the Kongolese tradition. His name may be a corruption of Makenda, being a title for the chief's executioner in early twentieth-century Mayombe, or of makanda, meaning a medicinal plant." (17)
It is very accommodating for Vanhee, a promoter of the Congo thesis, that the name and 2 elements characterizing Macandal's subversive actions coincide. But did Vanhee get it right? An audit of his sources will set the record straight. 

a) "Makenda", title of executioners, in the Congo language?
Vanhee's source is a quote from Wyatt MacGaffey's book "Kongo Political Culture". MacGaffey reported that in the Congo the executioners were actually named "Makenda". However, this quotation did not refer to Saint Domingue, nor to a poisoner, nor to François Macandal. (18) Hein Vanhee was probably not informed that Wyatt MacGaffey, in another publication, clearly defined the word "Makanda" which in Congo language is synonymous with "clans" :

"The principle of descent is combined with that of locality in the clan sections (kanda; pl., makanda), which are now the most extensive customary corporate groups. Each clan section is domiciled in a village or in several villages in the same area, and is divided into houses." (19)
b) "Makanda" name of a medicinal plant? 
When it comes to "Makanda" as the name of a medicinal plant, Hein Vanhee quoted missionary Leo Bittremieux who actually identified the word "Makanda", "Makânda" or "Mak'anda ma mbua" as a medicinal plant used by the Congolese. (20) Leo Bittremieux identified this plant as oxalis L. or oxalis sp. (from the Oxalidaceae family) :

"mak'anda ma mbua : Oxalis sp." (21)
(Oxalis sp.)
Source :

However, Leo Bittremieux's writings have shown that the word "Makanda" was versatile. It also refers to "Bulu bi Makanda", meaning "animals with hands", (22) as much as in "Makanda", (the plural of Dikanda), it designates clans or matriarchal families*, the most essential elements to the Congo, according to the missionary. (23) But of course, Hein Vanhee only mentioned the versions of "Makanda" or "Makenda" that supported his hypothesis.
In short, the Congo link that is proposed to the word "Makanda", although etymologically plausible, is not sufficient evidence that François Macandal came from the Congo. 

2.2 - Mayombe and Teysello

Whether they promote the Congo thesis or not, researchers all agree on the following point. They believe from the outset that Macandal had 2 accomplices named Mayombe and Teysello. To strengthen their positions, the proponents of Macandal's Congo origin advocate that Mayombe and Teysello were native to the Congo, and therefore their accomplice Macandal should also come from that region. This argument is obsolete for several reasons. First of all, complicity does not guarantee a similar geographical and ethnic origin. Then, as we explained in the previous article, the poisoners at the time of Macandal were ethnically diverse. The interrogation of Assam, a woman poisoner, on September 27, 1757, (24) thus 3 months prior to Macandal's arrest, reflects this ethnic diversity among the poisoners in which the Congolese were not as prevalent as it is claimed today :
  • Assam, Poisoner (Fulani, traditionalist/syncretic catholic).
  • Pompée, free, Inciting to poison (Creole, syncretic catholic).
  • Jean of the Laplaine du Limbé residence, Poisoner (Origin unknown).
  • A free unnamed man (Diola, traditionalist).
  • Guardian of the Laplaine residence (Bambara, traditionalist).
  • Marie-Jeanne, emancipated, Saleswoman (Niamba, traditionalist).
  • Madeleine, Saleswoman (Nago, traditionalist).
  • Coffi of the Laplaine residence, Poisoner (Origin unknown).
But, in any case, let's still analyze the pro-Congo arguments.

2.2.1- Mayombe

One of the two accomplices arbitrarily imposed on François Macandal is Mayombe. According to Christina F. Mobley, an adherent of the Congo thesis, Mayombe is the name of a Congo forest. (25) In its most widespread form, Mayombe actually refers to a mountainous region between the Congo, Gabon and Angola which possesses a sacred forest.

(Mayombe in 1930)
Source :

This place and its sacred forest continue to be venerated in the traditional Haitian ritual, via the Divinity known as Kafou Mayonbe (Mayombe Crossroad), in the Petro/Lenmba/Kongo rite. One of the sacred songs addressed to Mayonbe, Mayonbe Lele, or Tata Mayonbe (Father Mayombe in Congo language) is the following :

Djoumbe, Djoumba,
M pral nan bwa, apre Dye
Piti kwi nan paradi
Tata Mayonbe biki la.
Translation :
Djoumbe, Djoumba
I'm heading to the forest, after God
Little calabash in paradise
Tata Mayonbe biki la.

Still according to Mobley, the Mayombe name can also be broken down into "Ma-Yombé": "Ma", being the marker of the plural + "Yombe", the name of a Congolese ethnic group. (26) Certainly, Mayombe also indicates the name of an ethnic group found in Saint Domingue :

"Un Nègre nouveau, de nation Mayombé, étampé P. BD, taille de 5 pieds 2 pouces, ayant un malingre à la cheville du pied gauche, est maron depuis lundi dernier, et a emporté un fusil et une hache. Ceux qui le reconnaîtront, sont priés de le faire arrêter, et d'en donner avis au Sieur Brouard, à l'Embarcadère de la Petite-Anse." (27)
Translation :
"A new Negro, from the Mayombe nation, stamped P. BD, height of 5 feet 2 inches, has an ulcer on his left foot ankle, is maroon since last Monday, and took away a rifle and an ax. Those who will recognize him, are asked to have him arrested, and give notice to Sieur Brouard, at the Pier of Petite-Anse."
And there is no doubt that this ethnicity came from the Congo, since, in this colony, they were called "Mayombe" as well as "Congo-Mayombe" :

"Il s'est égaré le 8 du courant, du carrefour du Morne-Rouge, un Nègre nouveau, de nation Congo-Mayombé, étampé LF, de la taille d'environ 4 pieds 8 à 9 pouces, rougeâtre de peau, ayant les yeux petits : en donner des nouvelles à M. Millet au Morne-Rouge. Il y aura récompense." (28)
Translation :
"Has strayed on the 8th of the current, from the crossroad of Morne-Rouge, a new Negro, from the Congo-Mayombe nation, stamped LF, about 4 feet 8 to 9 inches tall, reddish-skinned, small-eyed: give some news to Mr. Millet at Le Morne-Rouge. There will be reward."
Very often, in Saint Domingue, the name of the different nations is used as first name, middle name, or last names for the captives (slaves). This ad dated July 3, 1773, demonstrates such a practice concerning this Congo captive (slave) named Pierre Mayombe, in reference to his ethnicity :

"Trois Nègres nouveaux, de nation Congo, sans étampe, l'un nommé Pierre Mayombé, parlant avec difficulté, âgé de 27 à 28 ans, taille de 5 pieds 5 à 6 pouces, ayant une marque de son pays sur chaque tempe, & ayant reçu un coup de manchette dans l'épaule droite & un autre coup dans le bras gauche, au dessous du coude..." (29)
Translation :
"Three new Negroes, from the Congo nation, without stamp, one named Pierre Mayombe, speaks with difficulty, aged 27 to 28, height of 5 feet 5 to 6 inches, has a mark of his country on each temple, & has received a machete blow on the right shoulder & another shot in the left arm, below the elbow..."
So if Mayombe, the alleged accomplice of Macandal, belonged to the Mayombe Congolese ethnic group, is that a proof of Macandal's belonging to that same ethnic group? Carolyn Fick also detected some Congo affinity with the Mayombe name. She pointed out that Mayombe derived from Maïombe or Maïmbo, which means "King" in the Congo. (30) The Loango Kingdom map published above validates her point. However, Fick warned that the consonance of the name Mayombe did not constitute sufficient proof of Mayombe's Congolese origin. (31) This evidence, she says, is coincidental : 
"Curiously, though, one finds other place names, such as that of the adjacent kingdom of Iomba, a dependency of Loango (incorrectly spelled Maïomba, or Maïombe, and then Mayombe by eighteenth-century geographers, when in fact Maïomba meant "king of Iomba"). The kingdom called Mayombe also appears among the pantheon of nations in a voodoo chant ; we know, as well, that one of Makandal's two chief associates was called Mayombé, but then this was not necessarily an uncommon slave name. Without solid evidence, all of this remains speculative..." (32)
So, the Congolese lineage of Mayombe being hypothetical, let's turn now to Teysello, his alleged accomplice.  

2.2.2- Teysello

While all the researchers claim a Congo filiation to the name Teysello, few have tried (openly) to trace that name etymologically. The bravest ones seem to be David Geggus and Christina Mobley.
  • According to David Geggus, the name Teysello is a Congo deformation of the Portuguese word "Terceiro" which means "Third". (33) Terceiro is a word supposedly brought to Congo land by Portuguese settlers. However, Geggus did not provide any evidence of his speculative claim, nor of any documented case of Congolese (or Portuguese) from that epoch named Terceiro or Teysello.
  • According to Christina F. Mobley, Teysello is a deformation of "nganga tesa", which, in the Yombé language of Congo, means "diviner". (34) Between Teysello and "nganga tesa", lies a phonetic gap that defies logic. Researchers, excluding Mobley, have never described Teysello as a "diviner". So, why would his name suddenly derived from "nganga tesa", other than to support the revisionist author's speculations?
By the way, the name Teysello is missing from the history books :
  • It is not mentioned in the colonial texts.
  • It doesn't register as surname in Congo or in Haiti.
  • And it does not appear in Haiti's linguistic or religious memory.
In the Haitian traditional corpus, the only entry phonetically close to "Teysello" would be the name of the Lwa/Jany "Tisila Wedo". But that does not prove anything. We can therefore, at this stage, conclude that Teysello or Teyselo was not an accomplice of Macandal ; his name being unknown to the Saint Domingue colony, and also to Haiti.

2.2.3- Teysello  and Mayombe, fictional characters

Mayombe and Teysello do not appear among Macandal's accomplices, nor among those of Assam, nor among the many plotters apprehended post Macandal's execution. In fact, no colonial text mentions them. The reason is very simple : Mayombe and Teysello are not real people that actually existed. They are only fictional characters, originating from an anonymous romanesque tale published in France in 1787, that is 20 years after Macandal's arrest :
"Makandal had with him two accomplices or lieutenants blindly devoted to his wishes. One named Teysello and the other Mayombe, and it is probable that they alone were partly informed of the secrets he used to establish his dominion." (Transl.) (35)
The author of this anonymous tale, released in September 1787, drew the name "Mayombe" from the Superior Council of Le Cap's judgment of May 16, 1786, against Jerome Poteau (Poto) and Télémaque, two famous traditionalists leaders. They preached independence, made and sold magic sticks called "Mayombe" or "Mayombo". The author of the anonymous text, having heard of this sensational story, took inspiration from it. He invented the Mayombe and Teysello characters as Macandal's accomplices from Jerome Poteau and Télémaque who lived in Marmelade, in the Northern province. The anonymous text then appeared in September 1787, barely two months before the judgment of November 13, 1787, which gave Jérôme Poteau and Télémaque a life sentence, but 16 months after the judgment of May 16, 1786. (36) If the Congo link cannot be established with the fictitious characters named Mayombe and Teysello, it is not the same for the real people who were Jérôme Poteau (a mulatto) and Télémaque (a black). These rebels, similar to a captive (slave) by the name of Jean, held in Marmelade nocturnal Congo heritage ceremonies called "Mayombe" or "Bila". Indeed, Jean, Jérôme Poteau and Télémaque practiced a Congo ritual that is still relevant today. In Cuba, this ritual took the name of Palo Mayombe or Las Reglas de Congo. "Palo" meaning "Stick" in Spanish, associated with "Mayombe", a highly mystical region of Congo, means "Mayombe Stick" or "Congo Stick", by extension.
Similarly, in Saint Domingue, generally speaking, the word "Poteau" was synonymous with "stick". But it also described plant seeds used in magical compositions. These poteaux or poto seeds, manufactured and sold by Jerome Poteau, rendered simple sticks magical, and they immediately obtained the designation of "Mayombe" or "Mayombo". And placed under the guidance of an ancestral Congo Spirit, these sticks named Mayombé or Mayombo provided their owners invincibility in combat. For, everywhere in the slave colonies of the Americas, the captives (slaves) held sticks fights of various intensities. And in the Saint Domingue colony, the Blacks organized their stick fights in particularly violent martial tournaments. (37)

(Stick fighting at the time of the colony)
Source : Labrousse, L. "Nègres de St Domingue se battant au bâton", 1795 ; Coll. Chatillon L.435 ;  URL :

This martial tradition carries on, with the use of little or no violence, in modern Haiti, under many names including Tire baton or Tire bwa. It is particularly vivacious and structured in 6 distinct styles in the Artibonite region which is adjacent to Marmelade, where Jerome Poteau manufactured his magic sticks.

(Stick fighting in Haiti)
Source : "Bâton de l'Artibonite" ; ; capture : 0:01:30.08

Tire baton or Tire bwa is perceived as a traditional "African" martial art or often as simple stick fights or stick games. But above all it hides a mysticism, a life philosophy centered on self-defense, discipline, self-confidence, hierarchical respect, respect for self, for the other, for the environment, for life, and especially the respect of the Spirit that protects and guides the fate of the fighter operating certain magic sticks or baton monte. (38)
Referring to this practice in Jérémie (South Western Haiti), Harold Courlander described some identification with the Mousondi (or Congo Mousondi) ethnic group. (39) However, practitioners of this martial art in Desdunes, Artibonite, call "Sinigal" the stick masters who are tall. (40) This shows that the science of stick fighting was not practiced solely by the Congo, but by multiple ethnic groups in Saint Domingue. 

So, what was really "Mayombe" and its link to the Congo?
In Saint Domingue, "Bila" consisted, on the one hand, of these religious ceremonies called "Mayombe", "Bila" or "Maman Bila" (Mother Bila). Terms also retained in the Haitian traditional ritual in which "Bila" still evokes "Kongo".** On the other hand, in Saint Domingue, "Maman bila" also described small magic stones inserted into the Mayombe or Mayombo combat sticks. In fact, etymologically, "Bila" derives from the Kikongo word Mbila which means both "call" (41) and "servant". (42) The relationship between these 2 disparate words and the magic sticks is as follows : 
"The Mbila is the appointed servant, the boy, the handyman of the Ntambo Mulungu (...) To him also is the duty of launching some yells near the sacred tree, even from there comes his name : mbila means strident yell." (Transl.) (43)
And when we know that in this Kikongo language, the word Nkawu, also preserved in the Haitian ritual,*** designates a walking stick and a strident hunting yell, it all becomes obvious. (44) Thus, Jerome Poteau made sticks (from sacred trees), that, when loaded with magic ingredients, became Mayombe (sacred place in the Congo). And these magic sticks, loaded with Poto and Bila, did a similar job to the strident-yelling servant (Mbila), near the sacred tree, that is to repel bad energies from his competitors during stick fights, like when hunting in the past in the Congo. 
In other words, although there was an ethnic group named Mayombe in Saint Domingue, and some individuals were so called in reference to their ethnicity, the name "Mayombe", in its most widespread version, made headlines in 1786-1787, and it did not refer to an individual, nor to a Macandal's accomplice, but to a Congo magical hunting concept. 

3- The Macandal name in the colony

Having exposed the François Macandal Congolese thesis for being based only on suppositions, we must propose a more solid alternative. Our approach is the most basic and methodical there is : analyzing the colonial texts.
a) Thanks to the report of Judge Sébastien Courtin, who personally questioned him, we know that François Macandal was born in "Africa" :
"And it must be admitted that F. Macandal was not an ordinary Negro. He had been a captain in his country." (Transl.) (45)
However, Judge Courtin did not specify Macandal's birthplace. So, looking for clues, let's examine together the colonial use of the name "Macandal".
b) Following his execution, the name of Macandal has hardly been forgotten in the colony he ravaged. A decision of March 11, 1758, prohibited captives (slaves) from keeping magic packages called "Macandal" :

"Arrêt de Réglement du Conseil du Cap, qui défend aux Nègres de garder des paquets appelés Macandals, ni de composer et vendre des drogues.
Du 11 Mars 1758.
Sur ce qui a été remontré au Conseil par le Procureur Général du Roi, que par les déclarations faites par plusieurs Accusés de pratique prétendues magiques et d'empoisonnements, il résultait évidemment que les paquets ficelés, appelés Macandals, ne sauraient être composés..." (46)
Translation :
"Regulation Act by Le Cap's Council, which forbids Negroes to keep packages called Macandals, nor to compose and sell drugs
On March 11, 1758.
On what has been shown to the Council by the King's Attorney General, that by the statements made by several Accused of allegedly magical practices and poisonings, it was evident that the bundled packages, called Macandals, cannot be composed..."
c) Similarly, a judgment of April 7, 1758, widened the prohibition on making, selling or buying "Macandals" to the entire black population (free and not free) :

"Art. II. Fait défenses à tous Affranchis et Esclaves de composer, vendre, distribuer ou acheter des Garde Corps et Macandals, à peine d'être poursuivis extraordinairement, comme profanateurs et séducteurs, et punis suivant la rigueur de l'Édit de 1682." (47)
Translation :
"Art. II. Forbids all Freedmen and Slaves to compose, sell, distribute or purchase Garde Corps [Bodyguards] and Macandals, otherwise to be pursued extraordinarily, as profaners and seducers, and punished according to the rigor of the 1682 Edict."
d) But the fear of the Macandal name remained intact in the colony, in the minds of the settlers who, several decades after Macandal's execution, continued to declare "Macandal" any captive (slave) suspected poisoner. This announcement of May 8, 1781, illustrates this :

"Un Griffe créole de d'Ouanaminthe, nommé Jean-Baptiste, taille de 5 pieds, étampé LEJEUNE, est parti maron de Plaisance depuis quinze jours : il est voleur & macandal. Ceux qui le reconnaîtront, sont priés de le faire arrêter & d'en donner avis au Sieur Lejeune, Habitant audit quartier." (48)
Translation :
"A Mixed race creole from Ouanaminthe, named Jean-Baptiste, 5 feet tall, stamped LEJEUNE, has gone marooned from Plaisance fifteen days ago : he is a thief & a macandal, those who will recognize him, are asked to have him arrested and give notice to Sieur Lejeune, Resident of said neighborhood."
e) As much as among the colonists, the phobia of the name "Macandal" reigned in the hearts of the captives (slaves) themselves. The latter having suffered the majority of Macandal's poisonings and bewitching :

"Le souvenir de cet être pour lequel les épithètes manquent, réveillent encore des idées tellement sinistres, que les nègres appellent les poisons et les empoisonneurs des Macandals, et que ce nom est devenu l'une des plus cruelles injures qu'ils puissent s'adresser entr'eux." (49)
Translation :
"The memory of that being for which epithets are lacking still awakens such sinister ideas, that the negroes call poisons and poisoners Macandals, and that this name has become one of the most cruel insults they can address each other."
f) And naturally, Macandal's legend inspired a new generation of rebels among the captives (slaves). For example, this fugitive or maroon captive (slave) called Eustache, of Congo ethnicity, adopted the name "Makandal" several years prior to 1766, thus a few years from the real Macandal's execution :

"Un Nègre Congo, nommé Eustache, & surnommé depuis quelques années Makandal, étampé BOYVEAU, de la taille de 5 pieds & quelques pouces, âgé d'environ 40 ans, ayant le visage rougeâtre, & lui manquant quelques dents de devant, est maron. M. Boyveau, Habitant au Dondon, à qui ce Nègre appartient, prie ceux qui le reconnaîtront, de le faire arrêter, & de lui en donner avis : il donnera 150 liv. pour la prise." (50)
Translation :
"A Congo Negro, named Eustache, and nicknamed for some years Makandal, stamped BOYVEAU, of the height of 5 feet & a few inches, about 40 years old, has a reddish face, and is missing some front teeth, is maroon. M. Boyveau, Resident of Dondon, to whom this Negro belongs, prays those who will recognize him, to have him arrested, and to give him notice : he will give 150 pounds for the capture."
g) But is this a proof that Macandal was a Congo? Or is it just a proof of Macandal's popularity with a Congo fugitive? Hard to say. However, late in the colony, the naturalist Descourtilz made an observation that we understood, like many others, as an affirmation that Macandal was indeed from Congo :
"There was in Saint Domingue, in the first moments of the blacks' insurrection, a horde of these rebels, called Congos tous nus [Congos fully naked], because in fact they did not even use the tanga. They had as leader makendal mulatto." (Transl.) (51)
However, Colon Descourtilz wrote the word "makendal" using a regular "m", as an adjective, and not with the capital "M" required for a proper name. This tells us that he actually described a magician, in the broad Haitian sense of the word "makanda", and not specifically François Macandal. For if he had done so, he would have been mistaken, since the mulatto leading the bands called "Congos tous nus" was not François Macandal, but Lamour Dérance :
"Lamour Dérance, with his bands called "congos-tout-nus" [Congos fully naked], because they fought naked or almost, Lamour Dérance enjoyed an immense influence on the Africans." (Transl.) (52)
Moreover, the rebel François Macandal was not mixed race. And he was executed in 1758, which represents several decades before the beginning of the war of independence that Descourtilz described as "the revolution". But nonetheless, in this same work, Descourtilz contradicted himself by suggesting that the word "makenda" (as much as the rebel Macandal) came from the court of Urba (Okba). However, this court was located in Northern"Africa" and not in Central "Africa" were the territory of Congo lies. So, lacking testimonies from Macandal's contemporaries, the colonial texts do not allow us to establish Macandal's exact provenance.

4- Macandal in the databases

The classic colonial texts having not met our expectations, and since we refuse to speculate arbitrarily on the "Macandal" name's etymology, we've turned towards other sources. The  slave trade database, seems appropriate. Although not delivering names of captives (slaves) destined for Saint Domingue, however presents biological sheets on captives (slaves) destined for other ports, the vessels transporting them illegally and belatedly having been intercepted. The finding of individuals named "Macandal" or "Makanda" among these captives (slaves) released by the international court, would allow us to identify the source of François Macandal's name. Because these individuals, intercepted in open sea, were not named by a colonial system.
The keywords "Macandal" or "Makandal" did not provide any results in However, by entering "Macanda", we have detected 5 captives (slaves) bearing this name. From those results, we have drawn up this chart :

Captives (slaves) named Macanda, origin, destinations, etc.
Height [in]
Voyage ID
Ship name
Congo Luango
Congo Cutuide
Joven Reyna
Congo River



Málaga of Belouru

Source :
These records show : 
  • a) That all the captives (slaves) bearing the name Macanda came from Central "Africa", more precisely from the Congo-Loango Kingdom. No captives (slaves) named Macanda or Makanda came from West "Africa", where the Mandingo populations reside (Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone).
  • b) 3 out of the 5 captives (slaves) bearing the name Macanda were children, 2 of which were 6 years old, and the other 13 years old. Such a situation disproves the notion that the name "Makanda" or "Macandal" was attributed in connection with the magician's function, with the use of amulets, or medicinal plants.
  • c) 2 of the Makanda-named captives (slaves) aged respectively 19 and 13 were transported in the same vessel (Amelia) from Cabinda in 1811 to Freetown in Sierra Leone. This tells us the popularity of Makanda as a first name.
  • d) Finally, one of the 5 Makanda even arrived from Mayumba. That shows that the Makanda name indeed has a relations with Mayumba or Mayombe, the main village of the Loango or Luango Kingdom. 
With regard to the ethnicity of these 5 different Macanda, the complementary site : provided a detailed portrait of each of them. Which gives us this chart :

Captives (slaves) named Macanda, spoken langages

Sources : ; 76205 ; ; ;

This chart tells us that these 5 individuals named Macanda communicated in 2 ethnic languages : Luba (Tshiluba or Ciluba) and Congo (Kikongo). 2 of them spoke in the Baluba language, while the other 3 used the language of the Bakongo. 

4.1- François Macandal : Congo or Luba?

At this point, we can bear more the idea that François Macandal came from the Congo-Angola territory. It remained for us to determine which of the two ethnic groups (Luba or Congo) he belonged to. Was he, as they said in Saint Domingue (and still in the Haitian ritual) a "Franc Congo"? Or was he a "Luba", an ethnic group that, along with several other neighboring groups, was generically classified as "Congo" in Saint Domingue?
This ad encapsulates the Congo-Luba ambiguity in Saint Domingue :

"A SAINT-MARC, le 4 de ce mois, est entré à la Geole, un Nègre nommé Louba, Congo, étampé sur le sein droit BERTRAN & au-dessous ST MARC, âgé d'environ 18 ans, taille de 4 pieds 6 pouces, se disant appartenir à M. Bertrand." (53)
Translation :
"In SAINT-MARC, on the 4th of this month, entered the Jail, a Negro named Louba, Congo, stamped on the right breast BERTRAN & below ST MARC, about 18 years old, height of 4 feet 6 inches, claiming to belong to Mr. Bertrand."
The analysis of the linguistic location of these Macanda-named captives (slaves) will help us determine the ethnicity of François Macandal, the Saint Domingue revolutionary.
Here is the location of the Luba or Baluba (people), that speak the Tshiluba or Ciluba language. Illustration of the capture and embarkation points of the 24-year-old Luba captive (slave) named Macanda :

Source :

Here is now the location of the Kongo or Bakongo (people), that speak the Congo language or Kikongo. Illustration of the capture and embarkation points of the 19 year-old Congo named Macanda :

Source :

As shown on these 2 maps, a captive (slave) by the name of Macanda, that speaks Ciluba or Tshiluba is located in the Center of the Congo-Angola Kingdom, while the Kikongo speaking captive (slave) of the same name resides in the extreme West of that same territory. This map of the major languages of the Congo also displays the location of these two ethnolinguistic groups :

(Map of the great languages of the Congo)
Source : "Carte des grandes langues du Congo". Leclerc, 2005. ; URL :

According to the Judge Sébastien Courtin report, François Macandal, during the making of one of his magic packages, recited a prayer that included the repetition of the word "alla" :
"The sorcerer who composed it said a few words during his operation. F. Macandal in his interrogation to the Council emitted these words which seemed to derive from the Turkish idiom, and where the word alla, alla was several times repeated, and when he spoke in French he said he was invoking God or the Lord Jesus Christ." (Transl.) (54)
This invocation corresponding to the Chahada, or the act of islamic faith, reveals a certain contact between Macandal and the muslim religion. That religion was spread from the East to the Center of the Congo by Swahili merchants, that were quite islamized at that time. However, since the (Kicongo speaking) Bakongo group resides at the opposite end of the (Kiswahili speaking) Swahili people, while the (Tshiluba speaking) Baluba are neighbors to the Swahili, that tells us that François Macandal was potentially of Luba ethnicity

(Portrait of Baluba Chiefs in 1905)
Source : Henry Wellington Wack. Story of the Congo Free State.  New York, 1905. p.144b.

4.2- Macandal's capture and his contact with islam

François Macandal's islamization level, as a Baluba, would not have been enough to qualify him as a proper muslim. François Macandal, being endowed with great intelligence, as Judge Courtin discovered, could have, out of curiosity, been interested in the islam of the Swahili merchants. In such a case, if conversion had taken place, François Macandal would not, as an islamized, have been captured by them. But this possibility is very slim, because the Baluba (located in the Kasai Oriental and Katanga provinces) maintained a hostile relationship with the Swahili who raged war against them. The Swahili often cut their supply points, to the point of pushing them to take part in the slave trade (by capturing other ethnic groups at first, and then by selling their own Baluba brothers).
So, the François Macanda's kidnappers could have been members of other traditionalist ethnic groups. But if Macandal was indeed captured by the Swahili, that suggests he had little or no contact with islam prior to his capture. Therefore, he acquired the basic elements of the islamic faith (openly or not) from his islamized kidnappers, during the long journey from the Luba domain to the Congo River. Long journey taken by this 24 year-old Luba captive (slave) named Macanda :

Source :

This perilous journey under duress was even longer, starting from the Baluba territory to the port of Mayumba, the point of embarkation of this Luba captive (slave) named Macanda, who was 6 years old :

Source :

For efficiency sake, slave traders were likely to use middlemen from one point to another. But whether there were middlemen or not, given the extent between the point of capture (Baluba territory) and the point of sale (West Coast ports for the christian-European slave trade, East Coast ports for the Arab-muslim trade), a traditional Baluba captive (slave) would have spent several months in the company of his islamized Swahili kidnappers. And little time is enough for an islamist praying (in principle) five times a day to let his captive catch an islamic prayer or two, during the months of the long and perilous slavery journey.
Also, since the Baluba people remain traditionalists to this day (although officially christians), and not muslims, it reinforces the possibility of a brief, non-engaging contact by François Macandal with the islam of his kidnappers. Since the probability of François Macandal being of Baluba ethnicity is extremely high, it remains for us to verify whether Baluba religious custom matches François Macandal's practices. Otherwise, we must conclude that he belonged to another ethnic group. 

5-  The Creator God among the Baluba

As we mentioned, during the making of his magic packages, Macandal uttered magical words that include the repetition of the word "alla" (Allah), which he identified as "God or the Lord Jesus Christ". Several revisionist scholars view it as an undeniable proof of Macandal's islamization, since the words God, Jesus Christ, or Allah belong to the monotheistic christian and islamic religions. From their perspective, the uniqueness of God is incompatible with the traditional "African" religion. But these scholars are masterfully mistaken, since on the contrary, the unique Creator God has been known throughout the Mother-continent since time immemorial. While the unity of God dates back only 4 millennia among jews, 2 among christians, and only 1400 years among muslims.
With regard to the Baluba, François Macandal's alleged ethnic group, their concept of the Creator God was and remains extremely developed and vibrant. And it is more so among the Baluba than among the majority of the surrounding ethnic groups. Because, according to this author, for the Baluba people : 
"The source of all strength and all life is God, He is Syaka-panga, Father-Creator, He is Mwine bumi bwandi, the one [who] has his own life, He has not received it. From whom would he have received it? "He forged things with the word of his mouth." He is not "integrated" into the game of living forces. He dominates what he has created. The Muluba ignores pantheism." (Transl.) (55)
For the Baluba, the uniqueness of God (Vidye or Maweja Nangila) is attested :
"God is unique, transcendent, He is the source of all life, He is the Father of all: Syandya bonso, He is the Father of things: Syandya bintu, Every man receives the life of the same Creator. He created the founders of the clans: Wapangile Mpanga ne Banze, wapangile Nkulu ne Yumba." (Transl.) (56)
But the act of creation is not, as with the muslims, completed and over :
"This creative action of God is continuous: He is Tata muledi, nourishing Father, that is to say, who keeps us alive, who makes us arrive thus far, and who will support us in the days to come. The Muluba asks him: Unkomezye, may you want to reinforce me, to increase my strength..." (Transl.) (57)
In this context, it is hardly surprising that Macandal's accomplices often refer to "Bon Dieu", the Creator "Good God", because this practice among the Baluba (and other neighboring peoples) predates the monotheistic religions :
"Although the notion of a Creator God does not belong exclusively to the spiritual patrimony of our Baluba, it has its roots in their most authentic tradition. It is indigenous, so to speak. Missionary influence, quite recent by the way, cannot create all this oral literature with its archaic style, codifying and consecrating for future generations the wisdom of the ancestors. All their Theodicy finds its expression - although a little scattered - in the names extolling the attributes of God, in the sayings and the religious narratives, in the invocations and conjurations. This literature bears in its rhythm, in its grammatical forms, in the repetition of its clichés, the mark of its authenticity and its antiquity." (Transl.) (58)
Thus, among the Baluba, God is Vidye, the Spirit par excellence that has created everything. He is Syakapanga, the one who split our fingers. He is Mwine Matanda, Chief of Land. He is Syayuka, Father of all knowledge. He is Syandya Manwa, Father of all Dexterity. He is Vidye Kasimbanwa, the Spirit to whom nothing is hidden, etc. Other attributes of Vidye or Maweja Nangila (God Creator) stand out in the Baluba practice that can be falsely credited to monotheistic cults :
"Already in the names, especially the "glory names", mazina a kusansula, we find some attributes of the Supreme Being: His goodness, His providence, His greatness and above all His paternity. God is Tata, Father.
These attributes stand out more clearly from the traditional formulas that the Muluba uses to address the Spirit.
A. God is the supreme source of all good.
B. God is great, he is transcendent, omniscient.
C. God is Father.
D. God, foundation of morality." (Transl.) (59)
Having displayed the vision of the Creator God among the Baluba, we have yet to explain the presence of prayers addressed to the Creator during the composition of Macandal's magic packages.

5.1- The Creator God in the magic of François Macandal

Whether they are islamic revisionists or not, well-intentioned or not, the researchers are all of the opinion that the Macandal prayer to the Supreme Entity, whom he interpreted as Allah, God or the Lord Jesus Christ, consists of a major deviation from the traditional "African" religion. For, according to these scholars, the traditionalist "African" does not pray directly to the Creator God, whom he considers too far away and disinterested in the affairs of mere mortals. This many times regurgitated cliché, reveals a deep ignorance of the traditional "African" religion. Van Caeneghem, the Belgian missionary, who lived for years in the Congo, among the Baluba of Kasai, demolished this false impression, by demonstrating that the Baluba did not organize an outdoor worship to the Creator God, but instead they held an internal cult that escapes foreign gaze :
"Our research among the baLuba of Kasai persuaded us that these affirmations also apply to the country's ancient generations. The true Black Luba, not yet engaged by Western civilization, thought of God, prayed to Him in the most various circumstances of his life. In spite of the outward appearance of a rough material life, of rare clothes, of poor lodging and poor food, he had an intellectual life of a much higher level ; he knew how to imbue and ennoble his existence with the dignity of a deep religious feeling. This black spiritual life has remained unknown by the generality of white people, even among ethnologists, many misunderstand its nature and its importance. The cause is the ignorance of the ideological foundations that formed the concept of God among the BaLuba, and the fact that the worship that exteriorizes this concept is not so ostentatious as in Western or Oriental religions." (Transl.) (60)
From the missionary Van Caeneghem text, we understand that the Baluba prayed to three types of divine powers, including the Creator God : 
"There are three supernatural powers that the Black Luba honors to make them favorable:
1° God, primary source and fundamental genitor of all life force. The BaLuba resort especially to God when the other spiritual forces seem to be unwilling, ineffective or adverse ;
2° The ancestors' manes, the bakishi, the natural metaphysical fecundators of the lineage stemming from them, the intermediaries established by God between Him and the generation currently alive in the visible world ;
3° The spells or manga mapaka, by which one obtains help from the lower life forces : animal, vegetable, mineral, created by God for the good of the human life force, is obtained by the influence of the bakishi-ancestors, who are supposed to inhabit it. Also this power is established by God as an intermediary between Him and men
(Transl.) (61)
And the prayer addressed to these 3 Divine Entities is not exclusive :
"Each of these three supernatural powers is honored by definite prayers and ceremonies. The worship of one does not exclude the worship of the other, the three cults usually go hand in hand and feed a common ideology. The prayer to honor God may end with an invocation to the manes. And the invocations to the ancestors are interspersed with the titles of praise addressed to God, a life-giving source of these manes too." (Transl.) (62)
According to Van Caeneghem, in the Baluba tradition, the Creator God was invoked on three special occasions :
"1. In case of distress, sickness or death 2. In the manufacture of great spells 3. For the suppression of the harmful effects of an oath, the kutshipulula." (Transl.) (63)
In fact, praying to God is even obligatory in the making of magical spells, as Macandal did :
"Invocations to the ancestors are interrupted by the titles of praise addressed to God, a life-giving source of these manes too. The making of great spells begins with a prayer to God, a genitor of the life forces as well as the spell. God does not exclude the worship of bakishi and buanga, or vice versa, it cannot be said that the worship of ancestors and spells excludes that of God, which does not mean that manes and spells are honored because of their dependence on God, in fact, they are honored as autonomous powers that exert their effects freely and arbitrarily, but they are conceived as originally instituted by God to help human miseries and fundamentally hold their power from Him." (Transl.) (64)
The Baluba offer many prayers to God throughout the making of their magic. One such prayers is :
"God of heaven, Lord, Supreme Being,
Sun that cannot be stared in. Whoever looks at it, the rays burn him." Kapongo, Master of Men. Our Master, Tshitebwa Mukana,
God, the Strong. God the Master of everything,
God, referee and judge, Who have peace in You, Your interior is like your outside (quiet).
Ilunga Mbidi,
You who tell us the way to go. You, God the Strong,
Supreme Being. He who does not want good to men.
He who says: Men are not good (= the jealous), let him be swept away by the current." (Transl.) (65)
And as for the use of the word "alla" or Allah in the Macandal Prayer, it matches the Baluba practice in which the Nganga or magician quotes as many names of God as possible, during the composition of magic objects :
"The making of great spells begins with a prayer to God, a genitor of the life forces as well as that of the spell. (...) The beginning of the invocation is solemn, almost all the proper names of God are enumerated, due to the object of the request being of paramount importance. " (Transl.) (66)
Thus, in Macandal's prayers, the names Allah, God, or the Lord Jesus Christ were quoted as much as those of Vidye and Maweja Nangila were. However, Judge Courtin, not familiar with Baluba religion, could not, in the Macandal Prayer, discern the name of Vidye, or that of Maweja Nangila, as he did for "Allah", whom he identified as the God of the Turks. 

5.2 - The prayer to God and Macandal's name

Here we have prayers addressed to the Creator God among the Baluba. And surprisingly, the word "makanda" arose from these prayers :  

"Múlópò Máwéjá Nángilá : Dieu, Être Suprême,
Wâtùpâ mákàndà múbidi ; : Donnez à notre corps la santé ;
Bâná bànyi bàsángá : Que mes enfants soient heureux.
Wêwé upèlé : Vous qui donnez
Éú tshièndè, éú tshiéndé. : A chacun le sien." (67)
Translation :
"Múlópò Máwéjá Nángilá : God, Supreme Being,
Wâtùpâ mákàndà múbidi ; : Give health to our body ;
Bâná bànyi bàsángálè : May my children be happy.
Wéwé upèlé : You who give
Éú tshièndè, éş tshiéndé. : To each his own."
In this prayer that a mother addressed to God, "makanda" means "health of body". But is this the source of François Macandal's name? To the Baluba, the word "Makanda" does not mean "families", as among the Bakongo. It does not refer to "Clans" either, nor to "medicinal plants" nor to "amulets", by the way. In Luba culture, "Mákàndà" is synonymous with "Bukolé", and it means "Physical strength :

"Bukole et makanda désignent la force physique. Il ne suffit pas d'avoir la vie. Il faut la manifester par sa capacité d'abattre les arbres et de défricher le champ. Les Baluba désirent une vie forte. Lorsque les Baluba se rencontrent, ils s'adressent..." (68)
Translation :
"Bukole and makanda refer to physical strength. It is not enough to have life, it has to be manifested by one's ability to cut down trees and clear the field. The Baluba want a strong life.When the Baluba meet, they are addressing..."
Mákàndà or Bukolé, designating "physical strength" occupies a place of choice in the Baluba mentality. Because physical strength is intimately linked to life, which they call "Moyo" **** :

"Moyo, ce petit mot résume toutes les espérances du Muluba. Son "attente" profonde. Kuikala ne moyo: vivre, être vivant; kuikala ne makanda ou kuikala ne bukole : avoir la force, être fort, autant d'expression qui traduisent une idée : vivre." (69)
Translation :
"Moyo, this little word summarizes all the hopes of the Muluba. His deep "expectation". Kuikala ne moyo : to live, to be alive, kuikala ne makanda or kuikala ne bukole : to have the strength, to be strong, as many expressions that translate one idea : to live."
So, the concept of Makanda or Bukole translates Baluba's idea of life, that they want to be a physically active and strong life. That is why Macanda or Bukole is found in the greetings they send to their neighbors, as much as it is among the requests addressed to the Supreme Divinity :
"This beautiful prayer is a profession of faith. The Muluba's faith. It condenses his expectation. All that a Muluba can desire : life (mooyo)physical strength (bukole) without which life is a diminished life. Fertility (...) A list of other goods follows : goats and chickens, money and "all kinds of good"." (Transl.) (70)
Makanda, (plural of Dikàndá) also means "personal power" :

"Lúlélú kâtùilá mákàndà. : Engendrer n'est pas une affaire de pouvoir personnel.
Àmú Múlópò wàkuélà mpèmbà. : (Cela réussit) seulement quand Dieu vous est favorable." (71)
Translation :
"Lúlélú kâtùilá mákàndà. : To give birth is not a matter of personal power.
To Múlópò wàkuélà mpèmbà. : (It succeeds) only when God is favorable to you."
Thus, it can be concluded that the Baluba named their children Makanda by the desire that they grow up to be physically strong, healthy, and so that they might attain the personal power to which God has destined them. François Macandal's contemporaries, including Judge Courtin, testified of his physical strength :
"He [Macandal] had a sharp, confident and terrible look for Negroes, a quick, determined, superior gesture, such as the Negroes did not have, and although he was rather thin, he was very agile and of an uncommon physical strength." (Transl.) (72)
Through the prism of Baluba culture, François Macandal bore his name perfectly.

6- Macandal's magic and that of the Baluba

Aside from his name, if François Macandal was truly an nganga or a grand official of Luba origin, it must imperatively show in his practice. So, without further ado, let's compare Baluba and Macandal practices

6.1- God and Macandal's Wanga or Bwanga magic

In Saint Domingue, Ouanga or Wanga described Macandal's spells as much as his poisons :
"The poison, which for twenty years has been fatal to so many men in Le Cap's surroundings, is not composed of plants, it is not a secret, a spell (Ouanga) as the people of the Colony dumbly believe." (Transl.) (73)
Judge Sebastien Courtin, the Saint Domingue settlers as well as the captives (slaves)  had a hard time navigating the double identity of the word "Ouanga" or "Wanga" :
"They put the macandal [magical object] loaded with curses under a big stone, and there is no doubt that it brings bad luck to whom they wish. But he did not believe that it would kill him or make him stay in bed, but it makes him hated, makes him get cut and gives him all kinds of damage. But to harm him in his body, it is necessary, according to their expression, to approach him, that is to say, to make him take ouanga or poison, which is synonymous among those we interviewed." (Transl.) (74)
In Luba culture, they call "Bwanga" (Buanga) or "Waanga" (75) both defensive and offensive amulets or "spells" :
"A second special occasion to invoke God is the making of great spells, among which are:
a) The Buanga hua Tshibola, also called Buanga hua Mbombo, or Tshizaba. A famous spell that protects during childbirth and for raising children without hardship.
b) The Buanga hua Lubanza, famous spell to protect the house, the yard, the dependencies and all the paternal possessions.
c) The Tshiabu, which among the Bena Lulua plays the same role as the precedent among the baLuba.
It is not necessary here to begin a study of the negro buanga ; but it is necessary to realize the particularly important role that these spells play in the private and social life of each Black. Their faith in the buanga is the result of their special conception of life-forces and ontological laws that they suppose govern them, as well as their belief in the metaphysical influence of the dead on the world of the living." (Transl.) (76)
There is no doubt that Macandal's "Wanga" magic practices came from the traditional Luba area in which "Bwanga" or "Waanga" was the name of their magic that the Bakongo called Nkisi.

6.2- Macandal's magic packets and the Baluba people

Macandal's interrogation reveals that he used "garde-corps" (Bodyguards) or talismans, composed of magic elements (human bones, crucifix, holy water, etc.) tied up in packages that were suspected of causing death :
"Almost all Negroes have garde-corps, such as a few pieces of cotton that a sorcerer sells them expensively or other trifles which by themselves are harmless, but which are dangerous in that it is a first step into profanation, sacrilege and poisonings.
The second kind of garde-corps and the ones they view as a magical practice, which they hid with great care, is a mysterious package made up of cemetery bones, nails and crushed roots." (Transl.) (77)
And Baluba magicians, as did Macandal, used packets or small bags filled with powder and human bones to kill people. Colle, a Belgian missionary, testifies to that :
"The teeth of this snake are used with veneration in some magic preparation. The sorcerer mixes them with red powder, with human bones. The whole is put in small bags of ficus bark, a material that is also used for producing the native tinder. In the common beliefs, if the small bag in question is placed in an object, the one who receives it must die soon after having taken possession of it. (...) These small bags are obtained either from the professional sorcerer, for a fee of course, either from the sorcerer of the Bagabo sect, and also from the Baka-zanzi, I was assured." (Transl.) (78)
The following Congolese researcher, TKM Buakasa, confirms the use of human bones in the magic of the so-called Bantu peoples, including the Baluba :
"As an object, it [the bwanga or waanga], may be a snail shell, animal or human nails, a statuette, herbs, plants or roots, stones, earth, etc.." (Transl.) (79)
The Baluba's necromantic magic follows this logic :
"In all the remedies that the Baluba call mikisi mihake, that is to say in all bits of wood, fetishes, fruits, horns, insects stuffed with paste and other ingredients, there is something coming from man. Most of the time it comes from a corpse, rarely, as in the ngonze of the Balungu's Grand Chief, it comes from a living already initiated. But it takes, it seems, something from man to give a bwanga buhake his strength : bone, fingernail, flesh, blood, hair, saliva, excrement. The strength of the bwanga comes from the larva of a dead man, who becomes, so to speak, the servant to the owner of a magical remedy, and without which the remedy has no value, rarely, as is the case for the "ngonze" it's a special initiated who alone transmits to a cure its magic force, by putting in it something of himself, saliva, urine, etc., or even a little of his blood." (Transl.) (80)
So, the Baluba's distinct magic perfectly explains François Macandal's necromantic practices.

6.3- Macandal, the Baluba, and the Elders' hat

Macandal used to demonstrate the strength of his packages that bore his name "Macandal". He would place them inside an inverted hat on the heads of his disciples. And only great magicians of his caliber could cause these "garde-corps", macandals or amulets to move :
"One must be a very great sorcerer to make it move in the hat turned over on his head, and it seems that only François Macandal, or at most two or three of his favorite students had this privilege." (Transl.) (81
Other than to move the "garde-corps", François Macandal and his colleagues used a hat at the meetings reserved for major officiants :
"The great sorcerer said to him : "Grand monde, mettez le chapeau sur votre tête". [Elders, place the hat on your head]. The tall witch gently raises the package and puts the hat upside down on her head. There they make imprecations against whites and negroes who are not initiated. They do the most violent jumps while dancing around the macandals." (Transl.) (82)
The use of the inverted hat is maintained in the Haitian ritual, as this picture of a Haitian traditionalist speaking to the Divine reveals :
(Haitian traditionalist praying with the hat turned upside down)
Source : Anonyme. In : "Prières Vaudou : Prière-invocation pour la guérison d'un enfant et Feuilles-O." ; [online] URL : ; posted May 11, 2015 ; Retrieved on July 19, 2015.

We are looking at a "Grand monde", according to the Judge Courtin's text, that is to say a Granmoun, meaning in modern Haitian Creole an elder, literally a "great person". But in the mystical sense, Granmoun refers to an "elderly person" initiation wise.
In Baluba mystical societies, the use of the hat of "elders" is made, as it was among Macandal's associates, to distinguish the great officiants :

"[Ils] lui attachent aux reins des peaux de bête (sempele), lui fixent sur la tête le chapeau de sorcier (nkaka)." (83)
Translation :
"[They] tie him to the skins of the beast (sempele), and place on his head the sorcerer's hat (nkaka)."
This hat is called Nkaka which means "Grandparent" in Kikongo (Kaakù in Ciluba language) :

"GRANDPARENT, great, n., nkaka." (84)
But the similarity between the macandalists' hats and those of great Baluba officiants does not stop there. Similar to Macandal's practices, the Baluba also inserted magic ingredients (such as bones) inside those hats :
"Inside a Kasya (gazelle) horn they put a man's bone and black magic paste like that of Kilambo ; a bead in old rags close the opening; on this bead, they braid a kind of little hat. This horn is worn around the neck. If they want to harm crops, they will suspend the night bwanga in the field of cassava, corn, etc. It must dry." (Transl.) (85)
This Baluba magic is usually placed in a receptacle that is also worn on the head, as was the case in Saint Domingue ; in relation with vital knots :
"As such, a fetish may be an object in the form of a receptacle for receiving other elements or ingredients, which are chosen according to the category of fetish and, perhaps also of place, as evidenced, in Zaire, Teke, Lari, Yaka, Luba, Nkamu and Dikidi fetishes, where resin or earth predominates. In which case the receptacle will be placed in the abdomen, navel, back, top (of the head), that is to say, at the places considered as vital knots, the center of gravity of the being's vital forces. In addition to the ingredients introduced into the receptacle, the external appearance of a fetish can be reinforced by a constellation of heterogeneous objects." (Transl.) (86)
The magic of the macandalists and that of the Baluba match quite well. Too well for it to be due to mere coincidence.

7- Macandal and the magic words

In describing the use of the great officiants hat, Judge Sebastien Courtin unveiled a song sang by the Macandalists which contains unknown words :
"They still use the macandal, by consulting it or even like a simple game, by making it move and dance in the inverted hat over one's head while singing in creole, this song :

ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué (bis)
zanmi, moin mourir
moi aller mourir 
ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué." (Transl.) (87)
From this excerpt, 2 words are to be considered : a) "Ouaie" and b) "Mayangangué". These 2 words, would they be indicative of François Macandal's affiliation to the Luba ethnic group?

7.1- Ouaie

The meaning of "Ouaie" escapes Judge Courtin who confessed :
"The word "ouaie "is a mysterious word, of which only the greatest sorcerers know the virtue, and we have not yet been able to find either the literal or the figurative meaning of it." (Transl.) (88)
Where does "Ouaie" come from? According to historian David Geggus, "Ouaie" comes from "Wáayi", a Congo word that means "Slave". (89) But Geggus is mistaken. Because "Ouaie", a word so mysterious for Judge Courtin and foreign researchers, is however so familiar to the average Haitian. "Ouaie" or "Way", as they say in modern Creole, is an interjection that marks a surprise, mainly the negative kind. "Ouaie" symbolizes the cries of sorrow usually brought about by the death of a loved one. That's why, it fits the nature of that Macandalist song, which is actually a lament, that translates as follows :

Ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué (bis)
my friend is dead
I'm going to die
ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué.

To the question whether "Ouaie" or "Way" is of Luba origin, the answer is categorical. And it is no. One of the clues to the origin of "Way" lies in the fact that Haitians associate "Way" with Gede, their Lwa, Jany or Spirit of Death. And this Lwa does not come from the Congo or even from Central "Africa", but rather from Benin, in Western "Africa".
"Ouaie" or "Way" comes from the cult of Gede, the main Spirit of the Gedevi people of the former Kingdom of Dahomey. That is to say, the country named Benin nowadays. In fact, this Gedevi people, whose name means "Children of Gede", occupied the territory before the conquest by the Fon or Aja people who have built the so-called Dahomey Kingdom.
"Ghedèvi is the name of the main tribes that occupied the Abomey plateau at the moment when the Aladahonou, the founders of Danhome, arrived there." (Transl.) (90)
After their conquest, not displaced, the Ghedèvi specialized in the profession of gravedigging from which derives the Gede cult or the cult of death in Saint Domingue. Their necromantic magic practices (similar to Macandal's Luba practices) were badly seen by their conquerors :
"In the early days of the Dahomey dynasty, the ghedèvi, a native tribe, used to bury their dead after separating the head from the trunk. King Ouègbadja (seventeenth century) forbade them to do so, for a purpose that seems to interest the country's police more than religion. History tells that frequent brawls broke out because of the gravediggers, who were unearthing the skulls to make amulets. The ban on beheading corpses was certainly very popular, if one judges by praises in honor of Ouègbadja. "The king has bought our heads on our necks," still sing the Dahomeans during their customs.
However, to prevent any further mutilation, Ouègbadja created in each village the "dokpegan", sort of funeral agents. Their mission was to monitor the deaths and attend funerals. Their service was almost free of charge : the king, desirous of suppressing all the abuses occasioned by the bargaining with the gravediggers, allowed the dokepegans only the collection of a loincloth and some cowries from the gifts offered at burials." (Transl.) (91)
"Ouaie, ouaie" remains in the Haitian ritual as the nasal (mourning and sexual) cry emblematic of the  great supporters of "tafia", the Lwa Gede Family, in which Gedevi exists as a Lwa. Even after Haiti's independence, this cry was retained in the heritage of the Ghedèvi gravediggers/magicians from Dahomey :
"Second story. A certain Lèghèdè [name retained in the Haitian Creole] Tonikèze Adankpodji, came to die. The gravediggers who buried him stole his loincloths and his tafia, instead of placing them near him in the tomb. They carried the tafia [name retained in the Haitian Creole] to the house of a certain Bôgnon Kèdè who was very badly ill, and sold it to him as a good remedy. But scarcely had Bôgnon drunk a few mouthfuls of it that he cried, "Ouê! hê!" and died. And at the same moment the gravediggers also shouted "Ouê! hê!" and died. Bôgnon resuscitated the next day, just as they were about to bury him. "I saw King Kpëngla in the land of the dead, he said. He put the gravediggers in jail, because of their conduct towards Lèghèdè greatly displeased him." (Transl.) (92)
So, the partial translation of the Macandalist's song takes on this form :

ouaie, ouaie (from "ouè hê!" mourning cry of the Ghedèvi gravediggers) Mayangangué (bis)
my friend is dead
I'm going to die
ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué.*****

So, conquered and sold to slavers, the Gedevi found themselves in large numbers in the Americas, including in the colony of Saint Domingue, now Haiti. They brought their necromantic Gede worship with them. And it took little time for the Gedevi and Baluba necromancers to rub shoulders at night, roaming around the Saint Domingue cemeteries. Given the very similarity of their respective ethnic cults, a Gedevi-Baluba syncretism came naturally. The Haitian tradition retains from this syncretism that Gede, the Lwa of Death, was adopted and integrated into the Congolese cult, (93) of which the Baluba are a part, because they are technically from the Congo.

Much more than a mere hypothesis, from the Judge Sebastien Courtin text has emerged a multitude of clues of this Gedevi-Baluba syncretism ; notably :
  • Brigitte, Macandal's wife, who, like her husband, died by fire in 1758, became Grann Brijit or Manman Brijit, the Lwa/Jany of Death, and the Mistress of Cemeteries, in the Gede rite.
  • All Macandalists worshiped Charlot whom they placed directly after God. Charlot was the name of the amulets which were of 2 sizes : the Grand Charlot (Big Charlot) was reserved for the great officiants, while the Petit Charlot (Little Charlot) was accessible and sold to the general public. And nowadays, Ti Chalo (Little Charlot) remains a Lwa or Jany of the Gede family.
  • Finally, Judge Courtin described the food offered to the "Macandals" amulets as "boiled chicken with rice, cod, tafia." (Transl.) (94) And still to this day, cod with tafia (tafya in Creole) is the favorite food of Lwa Gede and Grann Brijit. Because, according to the writing of A. Le Hérissé, in Dahomey, tafia, a Dahomean or fongbe word meaning brandy or strong alcohol, was so appreciated by the Gedevi gravediggers : "The gravediggers who buried him stole his loincloths and his tafia, instead of placing them near him in the tomb.". (Transl.) (95)
An ultimate proof of the magico-religious Gedevi-Baluba alliance lies in the existence of Lwa /Jany Gede Mazaka, to whom belongs this vèvè (ritual-drawing) :

(Vèvè of Gede Mazaka)
Source : Milo Rigaud. Ve-Ve : Diagrammes Rituels du Voudou. New York, 1974. p.337.

The creolized name of Gede "Mazaka" derives from the Ciluba "Madyaka" which means "gluttony, greed". (Transl.) (96) Thus, the Baluba call "Mwena madyaka", the "father or uncle who keeps for himself the dowry given to his daughter or niece, when the dowry should be used to provide a wife to his son or to another family member". (Transl.) (97) This "greed" matches the character of several Gede, including Gede Mazaka, the androgynous cemetery supervisor.

(Ritual flag depicting Mazaka at work)
Source : "Mazaka" Joseph Silva ; NCSU Librairies. Design Library Image Collection. URL:;sort:WORKTITLE,AGENTSORTNAME,IMAGEID,TITLETEXT;lc:NCSULIB~1~1,NCSULIB~2~2&mi=4&trs=11

Thus, like the Ghedèvi gravediggers in Dahomey, the Luba origined Lwa/Jany of Death, Mazaka, aka Mazaka Lakwa (not to be confused with the agrarian Lwa/Jany Azaka, aka Kouzen Zaka, from Savalou in Benin), has the reputation of grabbing offerings made to the dead. (98) This is why, in Saint Domingue/Haiti, he/she is syncretized in Gede Mazaka.
So much for the anteriority of the word Ouaie or Way. Let's see now for the word "Mayangangué".

7.2- Mayangangué

The Ciluba dictionary (99) reveals that "Mayangangue" is not a single word, as interpreted by Judge Courtin who does not speak Ciluba or another Bantu language. "Mayangangué" is actually a short 3-word sentence : "Manya Ngàngà Wê".
  1. Manya means "To know", "Knowledge", "To think or to Believe.
  2. Ngàngà means "Healer". 
  3. means "Eh".
Thus, "Mayangangué", in the language of the Baluba means "Manya Ngàngà Wê", that is to say : "To know the Healer Eh" or "To believe in the Healer Eh". In other words : Consult a Nganga or Healer/Sorcerer, called gangan in the Haitian ritual.

So the song by Macandal and his colleagues went like this in Creole :

Ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué (bis)
Mon ami est mort
Je vais mourir
ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué.

The final translation is as follows :

Ouaie, ouaie ("ouè hê!" Cry of mourning) Mayangangué (Know the Healer eh) (bis)
my friend is dead
I'm going to die
ouaie, ouaie, Mayangangué (Know the Healer eh).

This hybrid song (half "African" or "langaj", half Creole) is typical of the traditional Haitian religion. It symbolizes the synthesis of ethnic rites (Dahomean (Ghedèvi) + Congolese (Baluba)) already well anchored during the time of François Macandal. This hybrid song attested in 1758, 33 years before the Bois Caïman ceremony and the August 1791 general uprising, belies the Haitian chauvinists. These, ill-informed, keep on proclaiming that the Saint Domingue captives (slaves) were divided physically, linguistically and spiritually, and that at the Bois Caïman ceremony, they created the Creole language and traditional religion in an effort to unify.

8- François Macandal and Luba poisons

As convincing as the preceding arguments may be, they remain incomplete, if the use of poison, François Macandal's emblematic element, does not find an echo in Baluba culture. The documentation supports our arguments. For, poison, François Macandal's favorite coercive tool, were also used by the Baluba to punish : a) theft (not caught in the act) ; and b) casting spells. 

a) Charge of theft (not caught in the act)
"Following a large number of charges, the preliminary investigation often leads to the poison test, imposed by a sorcerer or voluntarily offered by the accused.
The charge of theft, for example, is almost always followed by the poison test. I remember a fact dating back to the first days of my arrival in the country. We had been there for five or six days ; we had planted our tent in the chief's yard, which was there alone with his wives; all his people lived temporarily in the middle of the fields. One of the women was in charge of some pieces of iron. The chief one day wanted to go and take a piece of iron, but... the whole supply was gone. Without hesitation he said to this woman : "You stole". — "No", replies the other; I ask for the poison test".
Immediately another woman prepares the poison. She goes to Pungwe, the chief's protective fetish, leaning against a tree trunk nearby. There, on the fire, she prepares a decoction of mwavi bark.
That's it. She decants. The poison is ready. It was done very quickly." (Transl.) (100)
The accused who vomits the poison will be considered innocent and compensated. But there is no tomorrow for the culprit.

b) Charge of casting spells on others :
"The poison test is administered in many ways (...) for example, against a man accused of casting a spell.
The official preparing the poison is dressed in his suit of circumstance (...) the accused squats, hands tied on the back, almost naked, and willy-nilly, attend the preparer's operation. He crushes and piles the red bark of the poison tree, and throws these crushed fragments into a jar of boiling water; when the liquid has taken the desired shade, it is decanted, and presented to the patient. This unfortunate must swallow a good liter of this sad drink; then they give him so much hot water. If he can render the poison, as they know, the accusation is untrue; the accusing sorcerer has only to speed up as much as possible because the parents of the victim have the right to cut him off during the operation ; the defendant will receive as payment from the opposing family two slaves or the equivalent in pearls and fabrics. If he cannot vomit the drink quickly enough, and this is the case, his body collapses on itself, obvious proof that he is guilty. At this moment, the parents of the deceased by spells rush to the "culprit", slice his head, then the arms and legs, and the throbbing members are thrown into a big fire; they do this to completely destroy this evil being. Most often there is some cannibal who buys the body cut into pieces and carries it to the next saturnalia, where he and his companions will devour the flesh, burn until the last debris all that is not eaten, reserving for himself only some bones and the skull to make talismans and magical amulets." (Transl.)
In view of sanctions' severity in Luba country, it is clearer why, in January 1758, the captives (slaves) were not impressed by the burning at the stake of Macandal and his accomplices. And their poisonous conspiracies had not ceased. The French colonists, believing by this exemplary spectacle to instill fear in the heart of the "Africans", did not know that the latter, in their country (among the Baluba and by extension all the peoples of Angola-Congo), used to rush to attend such events :
"Then they take a piece of mwavi bark, which they pulverize, and throw in boiling water to make a deadly herbal tea, from where they go into the bush carrying the bowl and the poison. The crowd usually follows them to the place of the trial. Let's go with them." (Transl.) (102)
And far from fearing them, these Luba captives (slaves) found French sanctions to be lenient. Because justice administration in their countries was of unparalleled severity, and most of the offenses were punished by mutilation, by death accompanied by fire, followed by the enslavement of the offender's family members. (103)
Thus, the administration of poison by François Macandal, an extraordinary and even satanic act for the colonists, was only the administration of ordinary Luba justice. Moreover, "take the poison" or "take a wanga" for someone persists in the Haitian tradition. It happens, in extreme cases, that people ask magicians to make them drink poison (Wanga). The condition being that if the person willingly drinking the poison is innocent, he will survive. And then, the culprit will perish (at a distance) in his place. This is a distortion of the Baluba custom in which the poison only acted on the accused person who drunk it. And being innocent did not necessarily condemn the accuser who was only obliged to pay reparation in goods and gifts.

9- Macandal and Baluba morality

Was François Macandal a moral person? Apart from considerations of resistance to slavery, observing the ease with which François Macandal and his colleagues spread poisons that affected Whites and Blacks in Saint Domingue, the impression emerges that Macandal was devoid of moral sense. Having the proof that François Macandal was of Baluba ethnicity, the analysis of the moral code of this people (if moral code there is) will allow us to answer the question asked.
To our astonishment, the Baluba, a seemingly cruel, uncompromising and even savage people, possesses a refined spiritual and moral code derived entirely from the Baluba culture :
"In the traditional texts, we will see that the Muluba at the end founds morality on the authority of God, considered as Supreme Judge, source of all authority and foundation of all legality. (...) The moral rules seem to borrow their obligatory character from the common good of the groups... All this is true, but does not exhaust the problem. Group morality, morality according to the social group structure, individual morality, all this rests on a more solid, deeper basis, on a single basis : the Muluba's natural religion." (Transl.) (104)
This Baluba moral code, respected by the whole group, is based essentially on these 5 commandments of God :
"In a story God gives to men, through a poor man, the following five commandments : 
  1. Do not kill anyone from Bende for no reason.
  2. Do not commit adultery.
  3. Do not covet the wife of others.
  4. Do not violate any prohibition.
  5. A man who simply passes by the road and does not have a palaver does not require a pledge." (Transl.) (105)
The first of these divine Baluba commands being not to kill anyone without a reason, François Macandal therefore had no moral or religious concern to poison any element supporting the maintenance of the genocidal system in force in the Saint Domingue colony.

9.1- Macandal and the last judgment of the Baluba

In addition to the life commandments, the Baluba believe in the judgment from beyond the grave, that is to say that their actions will be judged by the Divine after their death. And only the souls deemed worthy (Bakishi Bimpe), for the good they did in their lifetime, and not having broken the divine commandments, will enter the ancestral Paradise or the Sweet Banana Village.

(Potential paths of the judged Soul and Paradise among the Baluba)
Source : J.A. Tiarko Fourche, Henri Morlighem. Une bible noire. Bruxelles, 1973. p.262.

The final judgment of the Baluba (and other so-called Bantu peoples) stands at the Crossroad of the Milky Way, of Life and Death, the Four Ways Crossroad, represented by the following design :

(Symbol of the Sacred Crossroad, among the Baluba)
Source : J.A. Tiarko Fourche, Henri Morlighem. Une bible noire. Bruxelles, 1973. p.208.  

However, among the Baluba (and Lulua), the Crossroad is double. It is celestial for the last judgment, and terrestrial for the reception of the offerings made to the spirits. (106) The terrestrial Crossroad is represented in this way by the Baluba :
(Symbol of the terrestrial Crossroad among the Baluba)
Source : J.A. Tiarko Fourche, Henri Morlighem. "Architecture et analogies des plans des mondes, d’après les conceptions des indigènes du Kasai et d’autres régions." In : Bulletin des séances. Bruxelles, 1938. pp.612-677. 

This Crossroad symbol, for the Baluba, also takes the form "X" resembling the cross of St. Andrew :
"From there, everyone goes to a crossroad of paths. With sacred white earth, they mark on the face a cross St. Andrew shaped mark..." (Transl.) (107)
This sacred Crossroad is called Kafou or Kalfou, a major Lwa or Jany in the Haitian ancestral religion, where its dual function (celestial and terrestrial) is preserved. Here is a vèvè (Haitian ritual drawing) of Lwa Kafou combining the celestial and terrestrial symbols of the sacred Baluba Crossroad :

(Kafou's Vèvè in the Haitian ritual)
Source : Milo Rigaud. Ve-Ve : Diagrammes Rituels du Voudou. New York, 1974. p.192.

This sacred song also mentions Kafou's dual function which is inscribed in the name of a Lwa : 

Kafou Tengendeng, mi wo, mi ba...
Translation :
Carrefour Tengendeng, both high and low... 

This is a duality of Sky - Earth, High - Low, which is inscribed in the names of Lwa/Jany such as Kafou Louvenmba, Mavangou Loupenmba, Penmba Loupenmba, Loupenmba Penmba Kita, Zila Loupenmba, Zila Penmba, Zile Penmba, etc. This name comes from the Congo Luvemba, Lupemba or Mpemba, which designates the ceremonial white earth. In the Congo, Luvemba forms with Kala the duality of the High and the Low, Life and Death, Good and Evil, Growth and Decline, etc. But far from being binary, this Kala-Luvemba duality is cyclical and complementary. (108)
(Kafou Louvenmba's Vèvè, in the Haitian ritual)
Source : Milo Rigaud. Ve-Ve : Diagrammes Rituels du Voudou. New York, 1974. p.201.

Thus, Macandal's actions, radical as they appear, were in perfect harmony with Luba cosmogony. Because, in this traditionalist vision, good and evil do not oppose each other in an absolute manner. On the contrary, these two entities interact continuously in a balance of cosmic forces that the slave system disturbed. The poisoning acts by Macandal were thus aimed at restoring the cosmic equilibrium. And these decried acts have opened for him the way to ancestral paradise.

* The Dikanda (singular of Makanda) as a Congo (or Yombé) matriarchal, clan focused and social concept leaves traces in the Haitian consciousness. In Congoland, the individual deprived of this matriarchal link is greatly devalued. It is almost the equivalent of the Creole term "san manman" (that is to say to be without a mother) which designates a socially devalued and despicable individual. However, the absence of Kanda or Dikanda (or established matriarchal link) in the Congo world is clearly more prejudicial to an individual who is more in a slave state. 
** Bila is also the name of an ethnic group present in Saint Domingue :

"Toussaint de nation Bila, de petite taille, étampé illisiblement sur le côté droit du sein, ayant des marques de son pays sur chaque côté du sein." (109)
Translation :
"Toussaint of Bila nation, small, illegally stamped on the right side of the breast, having marks of his country on each side of the breast."
And this Bila ethnic group, as much as the word Mbila, came from the Congo Kingdom. (110)
*** The Kikongo word Nkawu is perpetuated in the Haitian ritual through Èzili Freda Kawoulo, the female Lwa/Jany of lightning and thunder. If in Kikongo, the lightning itself is said to be Nzazi , (111) - word also present in the Haitian ritual - "Kawoulo", in Èzili Freda Kawoulo, is a pictorial description of the lightning as it appears when it strikes at a place. Because, in Kikongo language, Kawoulo breaks down into Nkawu + Lo ; that is, "a bright red (walking) stick with a strident yell". "Nkawu" meaning a (walking) stick and a strident yell ; while "Lo" means bright red.
**** Moyo or Mooyo, life among the so-called Bantu peoples (of which Baluba and Bakongo belong), is not unknown to the traditional Haitian ritual. It is found in the names of Divinities, Lwa/Jany such as Zinga Moyo, Benga Moyo, Zenzen Moyo, and especially Zila Moyo, a feminine Divinity whose name (Nzila + Moyo) means "The Path of Life" in Kikongo. 
***** In the last sentence, "Mayangangué" was substituted by "Mayanzangué". But it is a typographical error on the part of Judge Courtin who was dealing with an unfamiliar language.

10- Appendix : Origin of the Petro rite

We believe it pertinent to here establish the origin of the Haitian ancestral rite called Petro. Because there is too much confusion on this topic.
The traditional Haitian modern ritual is formed, roughly speaking, of the fusion of two major rites, namely the Rada and the Petro. The Rada, clumsily called "Vaudoux" in colonial times, and in which homage is paid to the Celestial Snake (Danmbala in Haiti, Dangbe among the Beninese), was brought, according to colonist historian Moreau de Saint-Méry, by the "Arada" captives (slaves) from Ouidah, in present-day Benin :
"It is very natural to believe that Vaudoux owes its origin to the snake cult, to which the inhabitants of Juida [Ouidah], are particularly devoted, and who say it originated from the kingdom of Ardra [said Arada or Rada in the Haitian ritual], from the same Slave Coast..." (Transl.)  (112)
As for the Petro rite (also called Don Pedro, Dom Pedro, Don Pètre, Dan Petro, Donmpèt, etc.), historians agree that it is Saint Domingue's oldest, and that it is Creole, that is to say having originated on the island. Some dare even claim that the Petro was born from the contact of black captives (slaves) with the island's first inhabitants, the Taino, who however were decimated centuries before the arrival of the ancestors of the Haitians. Moreover, these historians base their arguments on the precedence of the Petro in the text of Moreau de Saint-Méry who nevertheless traces "the invention" of Don Pèdre back to the year 1768, which is only 10 years after Macandal 's execution, and barely 23 years before the general insurrection of 1791 :
"In 1768, a negro from Petit-Goave, Spanish by origin, abusing of the negroes credulity, by superstitious practices, had given them the idea of a dance analogous to that of the Vaudoux, but where the motions are more precipitated. To make it produce even more effect, the negroes put well crushed gunpowder in the tafia that they drink while dancing. We saw this dance called Danse à Don Pèdre, or simply Don Pèdre, give death to negroes ; and the spectators themselves, electrified by the spectacle of this convulsive exercise, share the actors's intoxication, and accelerate by their singing and a pressing measure, a crisis which is, in a way, common to them. It was necessary to forbid to dance Don Pèdre under severe and sometimes ineffective penalties." (Transl.) (113)
The Moreau de Saint-Méry description is indeed close to the general character of the Petro. However, the origin of this rite is quite different. The Petro arrived in Saint Domingue in 1679, with the first wave of captives (slaves) brought by force into this French colony. This rite bears the name of His Majesty Dom Pedro III (1668-1683), King of the northern region of Congo dia Lemba or Mbula-Lemba, today a commune of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (114)

(Lemba nineteenth century Congo)
Source : "A sketch of Stanley Pool (Pool Malebo)".

The word "Lemba", name of the Lemba-Mbula region, is not to be confused with the Lenmba rite of the Haitian ritual. However, the name Mbula (Boula), presumably provided the sacred Nation Boula or Nanchon Boula who continues to be venerated in the Haitian ritual.
Dom Pedro, this Western formulation, comes from the long contact between the Congo elite and Portugal. Dom, in Dom Pedro (Dona, for a woman) is what the syncretized Congolese named "zina dia santu", "santu" or "Ndumbululu". In other words, "Dom" was a "holy name" a) hat a nganga (traditionalist official) attributed to a young child, (115) ; b) a name of nobility that one gave self in adulthood. (116) In the case of Dom Pedro III, it served as a royal title. Because the real name of King Dom Pedro III was Nsimba or Nzimba Tumba. A name also saved in Haiti via the great Lwa Simba.

But where does the Petro rite's aggressive attitude come from?
The Petro rite's bellicose character goes back to King Dom Pedro III's use of a mercenary group, cruel and bloodthirsty mercenaries named Jaga by the Portuguese :
"The Jagas were said to have sold human flesh like meat in the public market when Pedro III led them in the final cataclysmic sack of the ancient capital of Sao Salvador in 1678. [1 year prior to the arrival of the captives (slaves) in Saint Domingue] They were also unrepetant pagans who sacked, destroyed, and desecrated Sao Salvador's dozen churches that day." (117)
In Congo-Angola, these ferocious Jaga profaners were known under various names :
"1. Jaga (in the manuscript : Giaqua). There are many other forms of this name : Giachas, Giacs, Giachi, Giaki, Giagas, Jagos, Jacas, Aiac(a)as, Aiacchi, Majaca, Mujac for Mujaca (Planquaert, 52 sqq. ; Cuvelier, p. 341; Cuvelier, Documents sur une Mission française au Kabongo, p. 8). The Jaga, always presented as cruel warriors and cannibals, are a constant in most of the stories about Angola and Congo in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." (Transl.) (118)
In Saint Domingue, we found the Jaga under the name Yaka (Yaca) or Mayaca. Here is a runaway ad for a Jaga named Tambour, identified to be of the Mayaca Nation :

"Tambour, Mayaca ; Sanga, Congo, étampés BOIDON, le premier est parti marron le mois dernier de l'habitation Boidon à la Grande-Rivière, l'autre le 5 du courant de l'habitation Boidon aux Gonaïves." (119)
Translation :
"Tambour, Mayaca ; Sanga, Congo, stamped BOIDON, the first went  maroon last month from the Boidon residence in Grande-Rivière, the other the fifth of the current from the Boidon residence in Gonaïves."
This ad issued by the Jérémie jail identifies a new captive (slave) from the Mayaca Nation :

"Un idem [Nouveau], nation Mayaca, étampé sur le sein droit MB, au-dessous A. BAINET, âgé de 25 ans, taille de 5 pieds 1 pouce, ne pouvant dire son nom ni celui de son maître." (120)
Translation :
"One similar [New], of Mayaca nation, stamped on the right breast MB, below A. BAINET, 25 years old, 5 feet 1 inch tall, unable to say his name or that of his master."
And the Jaga were known in Saint Domingue under many other names, such as : Niiac, Niaqua, Miaca (Myaca), Mayoca, Mayaga, Mayaque, Mouillac, Mouyaca, Monyaqua, Mouxaqua or Congo-Mouyaca.  This ad deals with the escape of a Jaga captive (slave) identified ethnically as a Congo-Mouyaca :

"Un nègre nouveau, Congo-Mouyaca, étampé sur les seins C BOULET, âgé d'environ 20 ans, taille de 5 pieds 2 pouces, n'ayant point de barbe, bien pris dans la taille, parti marron le 25 juin dernier. En donner avis à M. Fiques, marchand, au Port-au-Prince." (121)
Translation :
"A new Negro, Congo-Mouyaca, stamped on the breasts C BOULET, about 20 years old, height of 5 feet 2 inches, has no beard, well taken in size, gone marooned on June 25th. Give notice to Mr. Fiques, merchant, in Port-au-Prince."
And according to the Bantu custom of using the prefix "Ba" to specify any population, for example, the word BaLuba means the Luba people, BaKongo refers to the Kongo people, etc., so, naturally, in Saint Domingue, we found Bayaqua (BaYaka) :

"Au Cap, le 7 du courant, Jean-Louis, Bayaqua, étampé sur le sein droit PATUREL, ayant des marques de son pays sur la poitrine, arrêté en ville, se disant à M. Paturel." (122)
Translation :
"At Le Cap, the 7th of the current, Jean-Louis, Bayaqua, stamped on the right breast PATUREL, has his country's marks on his breast, arrested in town, said he belonged to M. Paturel."
Similarly, there were in this colony captives (slaves) of Congo origin bearing the ethnically sounding name of Bajaca :

"Deux Nègres, dont l'un Congo, nommé Bajaca, étampé sur le sein droit M. LANIER, âgé d'environ 24 ans, est maron depuis environ 6 mois ; et l'autre nommé François, étampé GOUVION, est maron depuis 5 mois. Ceux qui les reconnaîtront, sont priés de les faire arrêter et d'en donner avis à M. Gouvion, au Cap." (123)
Translation :
"Two Negroes, one Congo, named Bajaca, stamped on the right breast M. LANIER, about 24 years old, is marooned for about 6 months, and the other named François, stamped GOUVION, is marooned since 5 months. Those who recognize them are requested to have them arrested and to give notice to Mr. Gouvion in Le Cap."
So, in Saint Domingue, the Jaga captives (slaves), with the complicity of other Congo captives from Mbula, established in 1679 the intransigent worship of Dom Pedro III, their venerated sovereign warrior. Name retained in Haiti in Dan Petro or Wa Dangòl (King of Angola), and also in N'kosi Danpetro ; because Ne-Nkosi (Nenkosi) means "King" in Kikongo. (124) Moreover, Haitian traditionalists still worship the Jaga under the name Yagaza. Mbula/Lemba, their point of origin, forms Nanchon Boula, that is to say the sacred Boula Nation.

The thesis of the Antonius influence in the Haitian Revolution

We conclude by pointing out that author John Thornton, a Christian revisionist, advocates that the Haitian Revolution results from the essential role of the Congo disciples of the Christian Antonius movement lead by the reformist Dona Béatriz Kimpa Vita. However, the establishment in Saint Domingue of the violent Jaga and their worship of King Dom Pedro III, said Petro, dates back to 1679, so at the beginning of the Black presence in the French part of the island. Thus, the root of Petro in Saint Domingue (1679) precedes the Antonius movement (1704-1706). It even preceded by 5 years the birth of Dona Béatriz Kimpa Vita in 1684, that is 1 year after the violent death of Dom Pedro III. (125)
Moreover, Dom Pedro III's violent death also remains alive in the Haitian memory. Because, as part of the royal Kinlaza clan, Dom Pedro III, by way of reconciliation, had agreed to marry a woman from the rival Kimpanzu clan. Unfortunately, under the veil, instead of the bride, was Manuel de Nobrega, brother of King Daniel I whom Dom Pedro III had killed. The surprise was fatal for Dom Pedro III, when the assassin pulled out a pistol and took his revenge. And from this Congo royal assassination comes the Creole expression "pran nan panzou" (that is to say, to be caught in a panzou), an expression describing the fact of being surprised and trapped by an unexpected misfortune. (126) 
In addition, King João II (1683-1716), Dom Pedro III's younger brother who succeeded him, and who also allied the Jaga, his name persists in the Haitian memory. João II, King of Mbula/Lemba (real name Nzuzi to Ntamba) is honored in Haiti through the Divinity Zawo Lenmba, Zawo Danpetro or Zawou Penmba. Naturally, Kimpa Vita, whom he refused to help and who made noise for barely 2 years, is absent from the Haitian memory ; as much as "Ngunza", her title of prophet, by the way.

(1) Prophète Joseph. Diksyonè Sinonim lang Ayisyen. Montréal, 2002. p.255. 
(2) Moreau de Saint-Méry. Notes historiques sur Saint-Domingue (A.M. G.. F3 136, p. 198). Cité par Pierre de Vaissières. Saint-Domingue : la société et la vie créole sous l'ancien régime (1629-1789). Paris, 1909. pp. 247. 
(3) Ernest Trouillot. "De Jean Price Mars, critique littéraire et scientifique". In : Conjonction, No 110 (1969). pp. 8-17.
(4) Linstant Pradine. Les codes haïtiens annotés : Code d'instruction criminelle et Code Pénal. Paris, 1883. p.185. 
(5) Arsène Francoeur Nganga. "Les racines bantu de Haïti". [online] URL : ; Retrieved on April 15, 2017  
(6) Nathalis Lembe Masiala. Dictionnaires Kikongo ya létà-français. Paris, 2011. p.14. 
(7) Carolyn E. Fick. Haïti : Naissance d'une nation. La Révolution de Saint-Domingue vue d'en bas. (Trad. Frantz Voltaire) Montréal, 2014. p.142.
(8-9) Ndompey Nvita Nkanga Amun. "Makandal ou Makunda : Ne Makandal, Grand Unificateur et combattant de la liberté aux méthodes proprement africaines". Sept. 10, 2012. [online] URL : ; Retrieved on Oct. 19, 2017.
(10) Jean Robert Cadely. "Le statut des voyelles nasales en Créole haïtien". In : Lingua 112 2002). pp.435-464. ; Renauld Govain. "La nasalisation en créole haïtien : entre autonomisation et apports substratiques". Séminaire, Paris, 18 décembre 2017. [online] URL :
(11) Comhaire-Sylvain. "Survivances africaines dans le vocabulaire religieux d'Haïti". In: Études Dahoméennes, Vol. 14 (1955). pp.5-20.
(12) François Bontinck. Diaire congolais (1690-1701) de Fra Luca da Caltanisetta. Louvain-Paris, 1970. pp.131, 185.
(13) Ọbádélé Kambon, PhD. Dictionnaire (Lexique) Kikongo-Français. [online] URL : ; Retrieved on July 30, 2017. 
(14) David Geggus. "Marronage, voodoo and the Saint-Domingue slave revolt of 1791". In: Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society. New York, 1992. pp.22-35.
(15-16) Wyatt MacGaffey. Kongo Political Culture : The Conceptual Challenge of the Particular. Bloomington, 2000. p.94.
(17) Hein Vanhee. "Central African popular Christianity and the making of Haitian Vodou religion". In :  Central Africans and Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora. Cambridge, 2002. pp.243-264.
(18) Wyatt MacGaffey. Kongo Political Culture : The conceptual challenge of the particular. Bloomington, 2000. p.139. 
(19) Wyatt MacGaffey. Custom and Government in the Lower Congo. Berkeley, 1970. p.18.
(20-23) Leo Bittremieux, Mayombsch Idioticon. Ghent, 1922. pp.350, 886, 110, 112. 
(24) France. "Interrogatoire de la Négresse Assam, du 27 septembre 1757. Extrait des minutes du greffe du Tribunal du Cap." AN, Arch. Col. C9A 102. Annexed in Carolyn E. Fick. Haïti : Naissance d'une Nation... Montréal, 2014. pp.463-471.
(25-26) Christina F. Mobley. The Kongolese Atlantic-Central African Slavery & Culture from Mayombe to Haiti. (Thèse). Durham, 2015. p.224.
(27) Supplément aux Affiches Américaines of Saturday August 21, 1770. Issue No.16, p.192. 
(28) Les Affiches Américaines of Saturday April 25, 1789. Issue No.22, p.842. 
(29) Les Affiches Américaines of Saturday July 3, 1773. Issue No.26, p.312. 
(30-31) Carolyn E. Fick. The Making of Haiti : The Saint Domingue Revolution from below. Knoxville, 1990. pp.61, 291.
(32) Carolyn E. Fick. Haïti : Naissance d'une nation. Op. Cit. p.142. 
(33) David Geggus. "Marronage, voodoo and the Saint-Domingue slave revolt of 1791". In : Proceedings of the Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society. New York, 1992. pp.22-35.
(34) Christina F. Mobley. The Kongolese... Op. Cit. p.224. 
(35) M. de C. "Makandal, Histoire véritable" In : Mercure de France No.37, du Samedi 15 septembre 1787. Paris, pp.107-108.
(36-37) M.L.E. Moreau de Saint-Méry. Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie française de l'isle Saint-Domingue. Tome 1. Philadelphie, 1997. pp.274-275, 53-54.
(38) Henry Louis-Jeune. Ouvrage (inédit?) de l'Association Maîtres Bâton Artibonite 1992 ; cité par "Orientation du bâton". [online] URL : ; posted Oct. 2, 2012 ; Retrieved on Oct. 2, 2018.
(39) Harold Courlander. The Drum and the Hoe : Life and lore of  the Haitian people. Columbia, 1960. pp.131-132. ; Cité par Thomas J. Desch Obi. Fighting for Honor : The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World. Columbia, 2008. pp.282-283.
(40) Henry Louis-Jeune. Ouvrage (inédit?) de l'Association Maîtres Bâton Artibonite (AMBA) 1992 ; cité par "La mystique du bâton". [online] URL : ; posted Oct. 1, 2012 ; Retrieved on Oct. 2, 2018. 
(41) Dictionnaire Kikongo/Français [online] URL : ; Retrieved on Sept. 21, 2018.
(42-43) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba (Congo Belge). Tome 2. Bruxelles, 1913. p.584. 
(44) Dictionnaire Kikongo/Français. Op. Cit. 
(45) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire sur les pratiques magiques et empoisonnements prouvés aux procès instruits et jugés au Cap contre plusieurs Nègres et Négresses dont le chef, nommé François Macandal, a été condamné au feu et exécuté le vingt janvier 1758. (A.N. COLONIES F3. 88). 
(46-47) M.L.E. Moreau de St. Méry. Loix et constitutions des colonies françoises de l'Amerique Sous le Vent, Vol 4. Paris, 1784. pp.223-224, 225-229.
(48) Les Affiches Américaines of Tuesday May 8, 1781. Issue No.19, p.176.
(49) M.L.E. Moreau de Saint Méry. Description topographique... Tome 1. Op. Cit. p.653.
(50) Les Affiches Américaines of Wednesday April 2, 1766. Issue No.14, p.124.
(51) Michel Étienne Descourtilz. Voyages d’un naturaliste et ses observations..., Tome 3. Paris, 1809. p.177.
(52) Trouillot, Henock. "La guerre de I'independance d'Haiti: II. Les hommes des troupes coloniales contre les grands prêtres de Vodou". In : Revista de Historia de América, No. 73/74 (Jan. - Dec., 1972), pp. 75-130. 
(53) Les Affiches Américaines of Tuesday July 13, 1779. Issue No.28. p.0. 
(54) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(55-59) Théodore Theuws. "Croyance et culte chez les Baluba". In : Présence Africaine, Nouvelle Série, No18-19. (Février-Mai 1958), pp.23-32. 
(60-62) R. Van Caeneghem. La notion de Dieu chez les Baluba du Kasai. Bruxelles, 1956. pp.78-79, 79-80, 80, 93-94.
(63-67) Ibid. pp.80, 103-104, 80, 104, 86.
(68-70) C.E.P.SI : Centre d'étude des problèmes sociaux indigènes. Problèmes sociaux zaïrois. Vol 84-93. 1969. pp.131-32.
(71) R. Van Caeneghem.  La notion de Dieu... Op. Cit. p.62.
(72) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(73) Hilliard d'Auberteuil. Considérations sur l'état présent de la colonie française de Saint-Domingue. Paris, 1776. pp.137-138.
(74) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(75) TKM (Tulu Kia Mpansu) Buakasa. Lire la religion africaine. Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve, 1988. p.85.  
(76) R. Van Caeneghem. La notion de Dieu... Op. Cit. p.101.
(77) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(78) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba (Congo Belge), Tome 2. Bruxelles, 1913. pp.461-462.
(79) TKM (Tulu Kia Mpansu) Buakasa. Lire la religion... Op. Cit. p.85.
(80) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba... Op. Cit. p.472.
(81-82) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(83) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba... Op. Cit. p.566.
(84) Rev. W. Holman Bentley. Dictionary and grammar of the Kongo language, as spoken at San Salvador, the ancient capital of the old Kongo empire, West Africa. London, 1895. p.756.
(85) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba... Op. Cit. pp.470-471.
(86) TKM (Tulu Kia Mpansu) Buakasa. Lire la religion... Op. Cit. pp.85-86.
(87-88) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaires... Op. Cit.
(89) David Patrick Geggus. "Haitian Voodoo in the Eighteenth Century: Language, Culture, Resistance." In ; Jahrbuchfür Geschichte von Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas 28 (1991). pp.21-51.
(90-92) A. Le Hérissé. L'ancien Royaume du Dahomey, moeurs, religion, histoire. Paris, 1911. pp.60, 161-162, 99. 
(93) See Dany Danache's testimony in : Charles Najman. Haïti : Dieu seul me voît. Paris, 1995. pp.172-173. 
(94) Sébastien Jacques Courtin. Mémoire sommaire... Op. Cit.
(95) A. Le Hérissé. L'ancien Royaume... Op. Cit. p.160.
(96-97) Dictionnaire Cilubà - Français. [online] URL :
(98) Patrick Arthur Polk. Haitian Vodou Flags. Jackson, 2010. p.28. 
(99) Dictionnaire Cilubà - Français. Op. Cit.
(100-103) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba... Op. Cit. pp.812-813, 814-815, 560-561, 801-805.
(104) Frans Verstraelen. “La conscience morale des Baluba et de quelques autres peuplades dans le sud-est du Congo.” Anthropos, vol. 59, no. 3/4, 1964, pp. 361–399.
(105) L. De Brandt. Vertelling van de Baluba's, in : Congo, 2, 922, pp.50-64. Cité par Frans Verstraelen. “La conscience morale des Baluba.." Op. Cit. 
(106) J.A. Tiarko Fourche, Henri Morlighem. "Architecture et analogies des plans des mondes, d’après les conceptions des indigènes du Kasai et d’autres régions." In : Bulletin des séances. Bruxelles, 1938. pp.612-677.
(107) R.P. Colle. Les Baluba... Op. Cit. p.553.
(108) K. Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau. Self- Healing Power and Therapy. Baltimore, 1991. p.65. ; Note : We share the idea of a complementary duality as presented by this author. However, we disagree with his assertion that within the so-called Bantu peoples, Luvemba (the white color) represents evil, while Kala (the red color) symbolizes good. This is not the case, because for the so-called Bantu peoples, death in itself is not equivalent to evil, as it is considered in the Western world. And Luvemba, Lupemba, or Mpemba, the white earth which one spreads over his or her body, marks innocence in a litigation, happiness, good health, blessing, regenerative death, etc.
(109) Les Affiches Américaines of Saturday March 17, 1787. Issue No.11. p.730.
(110) International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Volume 1. (2nd edition). Oxford, 2003. p.108.
(111) Dictionnaire Kikongo/Français. Op. Cit.
(112-113) M.L.E. Moreau de St. Méry. Description topographique... Tome 1. Op. Cit. pp.50, 51.
(114) To learn more about King Dom Pedro III, see John Thornton. The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706. Cambridge, 1998. (2nd Ed, 2009). p.22.
(115) See Revue des questions scientifiques, Vol.69-70. Bruxelles, 1911. p.404.
(116) See Belgisch tijdschrift voor philologie en geschiedenis. Fondation universitaire (Éd). Bruxelles, 1987. p.808.
(117) John Thornton. The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706. Cambridge, 1998. (2nd Ed, 2009). p.23.
(118) Filippo Pigafetta, Duarte Lopes. Le Royaume de Congo & les contrées environnantes (1591). Paris, 2002. p.290.
(119) Les Affiches Américaines of Saturday March 12, 1791. Issue No.21. p.132.
(120) Les Affiches Américaines of Thursday May 22, 1788. Issue No.41. p.250.
(121) Les Affiches Américaines of Saturday July 24, 1790. Issue No.59. p.420. 
(122) Les Affiches Américaines of Wednesday October 25, 1786. Issue No.43. p.511.
(123) Les Affiches Américaines of Wednesday November 7, 1770. Issue No.46. p.436. 
(124) Nathalis Lembe Masiala. Quelques éléments de l'oralité dans la palabre Kinzonzi, en pays Kongo ( RDC). Paris, 2011. p.31.
(125) John Thornton. The Kongolese Saint Anthony... Op. Cit. p.2.
(126) See John Thornton. Ibid. p.79.

How to cite this article:
Rodney Salnave. "The origin of Macandal". November 2, 2018 ; Updated Aug. 8, 2020. [online] URL : ; Retrieved on [enter date]

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