Echoes of the past now resonate loud and clear where aspirations of freedom were once reduced to hushed tones and secret drumbeats. Welcome to Museo Tula at Landhuis Kenepa.
Landhuis Kenepa, in Bandabou in the western part of the island, is a sprawling country estate constructed in 1693. Its buildings were fully restored in 2005 by the government’s Monument Foundation. Though once one of Curaçao’s largest and wealthiest plantations, this location is best known in the island’s history as the place where the seeds of slave emancipation first took root.
On August 17, 1795, a slave named Tula informed Kenepa landowner Casper Lodewyck van Uytrecht that the African captives refused to continue working the plantation. He was told to take his complaint to the Lieutenant Governor at Fort Amsterdam, but knowing what fate probably awaited him there, Tula and other leaders of the revolt spread out into the countryside to convince slaves from other plantations to join them in an armed fight for freedom. The sporadic battles against the Dutch in power lasted almost two months, but by October 3, the ringleaders, including Tula, were captured and publicly executed to deter any further insurrection. Though slavery was not officially abolished on Curaçao until 1863, the road to emancipation began at Landhuis Kenepa.
In 2007, a museum displaying rituals, customs, history, and culture from an Afro-Curaçaoan point of view was established at Landhuis Kenepa called Museo Tula. The enlightening permanent and revolving exhibits can be viewed independently or with a guide for groups. Also on site is a gift shop with local crafts and the Creole Kitchen, a unique café featuring Creole-Caribbean-African cuisine. Guided eco-tours of the surrounding countryside, including a 17th-century garden, are also available.
For more information call 888-6396..