Place of memory

Monument to commemorate the 1811 slave uprising

Location: Saint-Leu – Place de la Mairie
Date: 2011
Artist: Richard Vildeman
Stone and brickwork

Inaugurated on 8th November 2011, this monument pays tribute to the slaves of the uprising in Saint-Leu. This revolt, which took place from 5th to 8th November 1811, was the only major slave revolt in Reunion Island. It was harshly repressed by the island’s authorities: fifteen rebels were publicly beheaded in April 1812: two in Saint-Denis, four in Saint-Paul, five in Saint-Leu, two in Saint-Pierre and two in Saint-Benoît.

Artist Richard Vildeman dug cavities into an arched wall. In each of them there is a head, one for each of the slaves sentenced to death following the revolt.
One of the two plaques lists the names of the slaves who took part in the revolt, and the other bears the following inscription: “In memory of the slaves who took part in the revolt of 8th November 2011 in Saint-Leu. Twenty-five of them were sentenced to death by French colonial justice in March 1812. Two hundred years later, the people of Reunion Island remember and pay tribute to all freedom fighters.”

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