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The Gombey "Tree of Life" - The Kapok Tree (Silk Cotton Tree)


Ceiba Pentandra

Touba1.gifThe Bermuda Sea Mount is populated with a strategic collection of introduced Kapok trees which are native to Mexico, Central and tropical South America, the Caribbean and West Africa. The Kapok Tree mirrors the trans-Atlantic lineage of the Gombey idiom, which is not limited by racial frontiers but reflects the cosmic energy of the tropical environments where life is still untamed. The Kapok Tree is universally revered as the fabled "Tree of Life" which is a bridge between the sacred world of the Creator and the mystical presence of the Creation.
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Touba3.gifThe Kapok "nation" of Bermuda dates to the Victorian era of the British Empire in the mid-19th century, as anglo-saxon sea-captains attempted to project their monumental vision of territorial entitlement onto the local landscape. The tallest of these grows to some 80' tall with immense buttress-like roots.

In 2001, a young wajimbe warrior named Taariq was exploring the most majestic kapok in Bermuda situated on the grounds of the Botanical Gardens at Camden, when he noticed a formation in the upper branches that closely resembled the face of an elephant descending from the sky. From that moment on the Botanical kapok was dubbed as the "Caesar" of Bermuda's floral environment in tribute to the Moorish word for "elephant" and the year 2001 was named the "Year of the Elephant". The Caesar kapok was vested with the Coptic name "Tobi" which means "happiness".taariq.jpg.

In 2003 the Kapok nation of Bermuda was elevated with the designation of the "Silk Caliphate" connecting Bermuda's Gombey tradition with the sovereignty of the ancient Moorish kingdoms that were built upon the majesty, strength and wisdom of the elephant.