In an atrocious and violent crime, African men and women were kidnapped and forcibly transported from one place to another. Enslaved people arrived on the new continent carrying their languages, cultural roots, music, ways of loving, ways of dreaming in the middle of the night, and ways of seeing, understanding, and relating to the world. The fight for freedom was also the search for their territory, a place to grow their food, where their customs flourished, and where they could autonomously exercise their vision of the world.
Freedom lives in the heart of memory. Kalabongó flies through the dark night, crossing swamps and river waters to protect himself, crossing undergrowth and forests, challenging the night that represses the light that emerges from his heart, Searching among the darkness for the union of many flickering lamps. They float among the dark nothingness, looking for a place to be light and free.
In 1599, Benkós Biohó ran in the middle of the night with four men, his wife, and three more women. They fled with thirty enslaved people from other places. They were looking for autonomy, territory, and freedom, as Fray Pedro Simón narrated. In some areas, they still remember that the maroons flew over the lands in times of fighting, confronting troops, and defending the residents who lived in mobile hamlets for years. After the confrontations with the Crown, in 1605 they were granted a year of peace, a treaty that is considered the first agreed upon in what is now Colombia. That year of peace was the seed of what is now Palenque.
Kalabongó constructs four moments in which the story develops, all based on the metaphor of a forest and its trees: roots without territory, the fight for a place, finding space, and bearing fruit. The images of plants are a metaphor for that fight for freedom and to find a territory where the roots take root. Bats and fireflies face each other in a battle throughout the story, where the brilliance of the fight for freedom is represented in the fireflies, the Kalabongó.
Family, memory, sueños, religion, and language fly among the light of day, remembering that the darkness of the night is the accomplice of freedom.