Daddy Rock, St. Mary Jamaica
As we walked, Clarence, our guide pointed out fruit trees, got down and picked leaves and vines and told us about the medicinal properties of each of them. Some of which he learnt from the Maroons. He showed us a steep secret pathway to Daddy’s Rock in the rural village of Woodside.
The quiet village of Woodside, St. Mary is replete with history. Once the largest coffee plantation in the area, many enslaved Africans labored there. Before the arrival of Africans, the town was a settlement for the Tainos. After learning about the historical connection Woodside had with Jamaica’s rich past, I was eager to embark on a walking tour of the village.
The link between the native Taino’s and the runaway slaves was also evident on with the “Arawak Steps” on the opposite side of Daddy Rock. The Taino’s laid these steps before enslaved Africans were brought to Jamaica.Slaves used to dodge from their Sunday processions to church and go plan revolts at that very spot. Talking drums were also played there before the British outlawed them. Daddy Rock touched as I marveled at the cunning of the slaves. Standing in the very spot where they planned revolts and kept African traditions alive was a powerful experience. There was something surreptitious in walking along the same path as they did hundreds of years ago. I felt as if I was about to get caught. It was through talking drums drums that messages were communicated across districts between enslaved Africans. In a drum ensemble, the talking drum would be the odd one out rhythmically. This is how famed Maroon, Tacky (Takyi) a captured African from Ghana was able to lead one of the most successful slave revolts in Jamaica. Tacky was able to avoid capture for a long time before, as part of a treaty with the Maroons, the British, with the help of the Maroons captured him.
I was a guest of Jamaica Cultural Tours. For more information on richly historic tours, please visit http://www.jaculture.com.