Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Africa - Creative Arts, African History, Feminism, Poetry, Slavery

Anastácia Escrava, Muzzled wounds of slavery

Santa Anastacia, Anastácia Escrava, an Angolian princess, kidnapped and forced to become the mistress of her white master in Brazil.  There are no words for the horrors and torture, Anastacia had to bear for resisting her capture, her rape and abuse and for that she was forced to wear a metal muzzle – common practice in Brazil and the Caribbean. Muzzles were used to prevent slaves from eating the sugar cane and as a general punishment for acts of resistance. Anastacia contracted gangrene from the muzzle and eventually it killed her. Below is a sculpture by  Matt Branson, of Anastacia muzzled.



A wounded body is one who turns day into night
one who returns to the womb
A wounded body is one who turns laughter into tears
one who weeps under blue skies
A wounded body is one who faces the wall
one who no longer smiles
A wounded body is one who bleeds from inside
one who can no longer dream
A wounded body is one who reaches out
but finds only silence and nothingness
A wounded body is one who cannot smell the roses
one who only feels the pain of thorns.

For some the wounds are timeless, stretching back in history
for others they are but moments in the present
Listen to my wounds, feel my wounds
taste the wounds of my ancestors, if you dare
Do not deny my wounded body
do not mistake my wounds for weakness
on the contrary, my wounds are my strength

© Sokari Ekine

Links: Quilombo Country



  1. oh, god, what a heartbreaking enraging story.

    thank you for sharing it.

  2. The poem is lovely and disturbing. And the sculpture is stunning. The gold muzzle, making it violent but valuable at the same time–valuable to the master because he can do that or valuable to Anastacia because it symbolizes her resistance? I dunno…

    Very striking post.

  3. Comment by post author


    hmm – not sure about the poem, i just woke up thinking of slavery and started writing. while i was writing i thought of the story of Anastacia and Matt’s sculptures. i never thought of the gold and why he used that colour but maybe to heighten the horror of someone beautiful or as you say to symbolise the the value of Anastacia. I will ask. Yes the poem is disturbing but so is slavery and the cruelty faced by Anastacia and millions of others. For those who believe we should forget, I post this as a reminder that no we must never forget – there are so many stories yet untold and i for one want to hear them and feel them because they are stories of Africa’s ancestors.

  4. How incredibly barbaric! The close-mindedness is astounding… let’s all strive to be more tolerant, accepting of and inspired by other cultures and by people who are “different.”

  5. OG

    They lynched Black men if they looked at a White female the wrong way and now all is supposed to be forgiven.They have wealth not lottery winnings but WEALTH from they free labor for 400 years , but all is to be forgiven. My God

  6. cherynne

    the sculptures and the poem are very powerful. especially i think because they connect our individual present day pain with our historical collective is so important to reclaim our her-stories ones which white male european “civilization” has tried to erase. one of the most powerful and damaging tools of colonialism was and continues to be the negation of our pasts, languages, cultures and ancestors.we must keep the memories alive , the dignity of a past,the right to exist in all our diversity.

  7. cherynne

    Karasch, Mary C. “Anastacia and the Slave Women of Rio de Janeiro” in Paul Lovejoy (ed.), Africans in Bondange. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986.

  8. Sculpure about black women slavery
    I have found in Black looks blog an article about Anastácia Escrava, an Angolian princess, who was kidnapped and forced to become the mistress of …

  9. ana

    Great tribute to Anastacia. Many Afro Brazilians venerate Anastacia. I visited Salvador, Bahia years ago and noticed that many Afro Brazilians keep an altar in honor of their beloved saint. Afro Brazilinas really don’t care if the church accepts Anastacia or not. They also keep at the entrance of their door statues of elderly blacks referred to as the ancestors. Many of the homes have altars with candles always burning to the ancestors and the African deities.

    The stories of our ancestors remained hidden in the memories of the people of the African Diaspora.My very own spirituality not only comes from God but is also reinforced by the strength and power of the Atlantic Ocean, the very place where our ancestors travailed and perished on their voyage to the Americas(the Middle Passage).Too many of us are unaware of the many places where we can gather forces and strength to win vitory not only for ourselves but for our beloved ancestors.The will of God and our ancestors are one now. We are never alone.

    Cordiales Saludos.