Joseph Zobel was born on 26 April 1915 at the Lapalun Plantation in the small community of Petit-Morne, near the town of Rivière-Salée in south-west Martinique, a French Caribbean island. Zobel was the illegitimate son of Berthe Rocher, who was more commonly known as Man Célia. Zobel’s father, Richard-Eugène Zobel, worked as a carriage driver on the same plantation and was largely absent. For much of his childhood, Joseph was raised on the plantation by his maternal grandmother Marie Rocher, known as Man Marie, who like her daughter also worked on the Lapalun plantation.
In 1922, at the age of seven, Zobel began primary school in the small nearby village of Petit-Bourg. The ruins of the modest two-room school can still be seen next to the village church. Archival photographs from the
Citation: Hardwick, Louise . "Joseph Zobel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 June 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=13762, accessed 06 December 2023.]