Zulu name means “faith, hope, trust.”
There was a small group of Africans defined more by their active participation in maritime activites than by their enslavement experience. They had seafaring skills and a gift for intercultural negotiation.
Themba represents this group. I imagine him to be a ship mate of Nicholas Cartegna on their ventures into the Madagascar slade trade, where people could be bought for as litlle as thirty shillings, considerably less than West African slaves.
He was designed to dispell the notion that all enslaved Africans looked beragged. The scene on his back implies that he had a conscience, and by night aided individuals seeking freedom. Braille reads: “faith, hope, trust.” He stands upon a map of the western world, indicating the routes slave ships took around the world.