Wonderful Women: Kowsilla

On March 6th, 1964, Kowsilla (1920), also known as Alice, of Leonora, was part of a group of peaceful women protesters at the estate who was opposed to the breaking of a strike when she was killed. Her body was severed in two when a sugar estate scab, Felix Ross, drove a tractor through her. He was later acquitted. Born of poor and hard working parentage, this strong-willed woman from Seafield, Leonora, worked as a huckster on, what was then, Plantation Leonora on the West Demerara. She was actively involved in the struggle for liberation from colonial oppression and the imposition of a company union on the sugar workers by the expatriate company, Bookers. A mother of four at the time, and the sole breadwinner of her family, Kowsilla was an executive of the Leonora branch of the WPO and, as a leader, she paid the ultimate price by displaying the highest order of resistance for her belief in adequate wage for adequate work. Despite her struggle for her people, Kowsilla’s story has rarely been documented.

This is part of a series I did for S4 Foundation during Women’s History Month. 

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