Archive for February, 2010


Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Newsletter with tags , , on February 28, 2010 by

Welcome to Issue 4 of Panther News Letter; and special greetings goes out to our new readers in Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and Sierra Leone.  Yes Kings and Queens, Panther News Letter gone outer-national! – Give Thanks.

This month we have our usual suspects: ARTIST OF THE MONTH, THE FEATURED STORY, NORMSKIS ARTICLE and everybody’s favourite, THE CULTURE CORNER.


Although Haiti has drifted from being national headline news, our brothers and sisters are still in our thoughts and prayers.  Haiti was once the richest Island in the Caribbean; so what happened?  This interesting article The Hate and the Quake written by Professor Hilary Beckles (University of the West Indies) gives us an insight.

African-American Sophia Stewart, author of The Matrix will finally receive her just due from the copyright infringement of her original work.   This little known story has met a just conclusion.  Read more here…

Cy Grant, the Guyanese actor, singer and writer who was the first black person to be seen regularly on British TV, has died at the age of 90.  For those of you who don’t have a clue who Cy Grant is; to the readers who are say 35 and over, cast your minds back to the days of Stingray, Thunderbirds and especially Captain Scarlet.  Cy Grant was the voice of Lieutenant Green in Captain Scarlet.  Read more here…

In Issue 5 of Panther News Letter, I’ll be hooking up with and interviewing my long time brethren from school days Marcus Simeon.  Remember his name.  His new conscious album Rasta4Life (Old School meets Nu Skool) will be released May 25 2010.  Look out for it!

Meanwhile – enjoy Issue 4 of Panther News Letter


Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by

He is described as not just an artist but also a cultural anthropologist and dub-griot.  He uses his skills as a singer/songwriter and a dub-poet to capture his audience, whilst taking them on a cultural, spiritual and political journey.  His multi-disciplinary skills as a performer have landed him roles in plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Birmingham Rep. Theatre; and his work is currently being studied by Dr. Eric Doumerc, a French academic who is conducting ongoing research on Black British Performance Poets with Caribbean heritage.  On top of that he is featured in a recently published poetry anthology; RED: Peepal Tree Press.

Photo by Dood Lette

Panther News Letter ARTIST OF THE MONTH is Kokumo.  I hooked up with Kokumo to talk about him and his works.  Read his interview here…      


Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by

“Who Can’t Hear Must Feel!”

© 2006 Norman Samuda-Smith

“Who Can’t Hear Must Feel!” is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

WHO CAN’T HEAR MUST FEEL!”  How much time yuh hear yuh mom and dad seh dat to you when you was a yout?  Nuff time enit?  Do you remember when they used to tell you; “DON’T DO DIS! – DON’T DO DAT! – DON’T TOUCH DIS! – DON’T TOUCH DAT!” and you, the mischievous child, run off and do the complete opposite to what dem tell you?  Well sekkle steady, warm and easy, and listen to dis likkle tale…

In the inner-city suburb of Small Heath Birmingham, live two likkle yout man name Wendell and Leroy, they were born in England of Jamaican parents.  They live in a flat above their mother’s hair boutique, which she and her younger sister Maud, work hard to run six days a week.  Now her shop stand up on one busy main road where bus and car run up and down day and night; and in fear of de boys being killed by one of dem vehicle, their mother always seh to dem…

            “Don’t play out on the street, play in de back yard where it safe yuh understand?”

            “Well how come our friends can go to the park by demself and kick football Mom?”

            “Me nuh care what yuh friend dem do.  Dat is fe dem and dem parent’s bizniz!  What me and yuh Father seh goes yuh understand?”

            “Ah Mom!  That ain’t fare man!”

Dis backyard have a history.  Wendell and Leroy’s parents move in dis house twelve months before when they was six and seven.  The neighbours on each side of dem own an Alsatian dog; one name Prince, the other one call Rover and  bwoy, the way they used to bark and carry on, was like they just come out the wild the other day!  Anyway, when the boys first come out to explore their new garden, Prince and Rover jump pon the six foot fence barkin and growlin, it come like, if they did scale the fence, they woulda nyam up the poor pickney dem. Yuh shoulda see Wendell and Leroy run to their back door faster than Don Quarrie yellin and baalin…

            “Mommy, Mommy the daagy dem gwine bite us!”

Nuff time, Jean would go roun and complain to her neighbours, bout how dem could allow dem dog to grow wild; and it was reveal in one ah dem cussin session dat Prince was never take fe a walk since it was a puppy!  So all Jean’s cussin was in vain.

After a couple of weeks of livin in fear, the bwoys come to realise dat Prince and Rover can’t jump the fence like their pet cat Smokey.  Coz it so happm dat one day, when they was lookin out dem dining-room window, which have a clear view of Prince back yard; they see Smokey creep cross the yard while Prince was busy chewin him bone.  When Prince see Smokey, he rush at him.  Now most cat woulda run fe cover, but no, not Smokey, he just stand firm and stare Prince in him eye.  Then like Mohammed Ali, Smokey side step him wid ease.  Prince run past him slippin and slidin as he try fe turn himself aroun and do another run; but by the time he was ready fe come again, Smokey done scurry up the fence leavin him standin.  Now wid dat bit of inspiration guidin dem, Wendell and Leroy start to play in their yard again.

In the back yard, they used to play Batman and Robin, Superman, imitated Spiderman by climbin the tree nuff time, and when they get bored wid playin super-heroes; they would sometime kick their neighbours fences, teasin Prince and Rover to jump, bark and growl; then they would throw stones at dem head when they appear, hittin their targets most of the time.  Then the neighbours would come round and complain to Jean bout the cuts and bruises Prince and Rover have, and they would accuse her sons of throwin stones.

            “Listen me now.  My bwoys don’t trow stones!  They know if I catch dem doin dat, I would give dem a good hidin’!  Guh blame it pon the other neighbour pickney, it must be dem who doin it, not my bwoys!”

Now when Wendell and Leroy turn seven and eight years old, they was gettin fed up of bein lock up in the back yard all the time.  Sometime Jean would send dem to the shop two doors away so dat they could buy some sweets and ting, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy dem.  What they really want to do was go to the corner shop dat was closer to Grange Road Park where their friends usually hang out and play football.  So they decide dat a way of gettin out was to scrounge more pocket money from Jean and persuade her to let dem go ah the corner shop by demself.

            “No, I will go wid yuh!”

            “But mom, we know how t’cross the road by ourself.”

            “Me seh no!”

            “Aahh go on Mom please!”

            “Alright, but be careful fe God sake!”


Now we know how mischievous yout and yout can be, these two was no exception.  They would use these trips to the corner shop as cover fe visitin Grange Road Park.  Dis coulda turn out to be a serious ting if they didn’t watch the time.  Usually they would get away wid half-an-hour or so, but sometime the attractions of the park would lead dem to be careless.  Like one time right, Jean give dem some money fe go ah the corner shop and she seh to dem…

            “Mind how unu cross de road yuh hear me? And after unu buy unu sweets, come straight home, yuh understand me?”

            “Yes Mommy,” they seh to her.

And they run gone ah the shop.  On their way back, they decide fe make a detour through the park in the hope of seein some their friends fe a likkle while.  Once inside the park, dem jump pon the swing, dem spin pon the roundabout, dilly-dally pon the see-saw and they kick a likkle football til they realise dat…

            “OH KNOW!  Is two hours since we leave home.  Mommy must be wonderin where we deh!”

So in dem panic, they run home expectin Jean to be there waitin fe give dem a spankin.  Lucky fe dem, she was too busy workin in the shop to realise how long they was gone.  Sometime they would get some serious licks for goin to the park without Jean permission, but the growin urge fe freedom mek the risks seem small yuh nuh.

So, ah so it go.  Nearly every day durin school holiday and weekends when the sun decide fe smile pon Birmingham, and their sweet shop escape route was cut off; they climb the one tree nuff time, play super-heroes and trow stones at Prince and Rover.

Now tings come to a point where they was desperate fe ideas fe games and was gettin sick of the sight of each other, when on Wendell’s ninth birthday, Uncle Isaac buy him a cricket bat and wickets, but not a real cricket ball.  He seh to dem…

            “Unu gwine strike the ball like Gary Sobers one day yuh nuh, and unu might break a few window, so me buy unu a tennis ball instead.  Hee, ketch!”

So every day dem play cricket, Leroy bein the older one, always win.

One summer mornin, their Auntie Maud, come round to the house dwellin in fits of hysterical cryin.  It so happm dat her fourteen year old daughter Jennifer decide to run away from home due to one domestic argument.  Jean decide dat the conversation which was about to take place, was not for Wendell and Leroy to sit in and listen to…

            “Unu guh play outside,” she seh to dem.

The bwoys leave the room and they decide fe listen at the door as their grievin Auntie Maud describe the events leadin up to Cousin Jennifer’s disappearance…

            “Lord me God Jean, me nuh know wha fe do!” Auntie Maud sniffle.

            “Is alright Maud, don’t fret yuhself.  Come we guh use the car and see if we can find her.”

Auntie Maud agreed wid dat.  So Jean grab her car keys then open the dining room window and shout to the bwoys…

            “WENDELL AND LEROY!”

            “YES MOMMY!”

            “UNU COME INSIDE NOW!”

When Wendell and Leroy reach inside, Jean seh to dem.

            “You two stay inside, me and yuh Aunt Maud is goin out fe bout an hour.”

            “Can we play outside then mom?”

            “No!” Jean reply.

            “Why not?”

            “In case unu hurt unu self out deh.”

            “We won’t.”

            “Me seh stay inside til me come back, and don’t answer the door to any stranger!”  Jean and Auntie Maud leave the house fe guh find Jennifer.

Now Wendell and Leroy was in the middle of one grippin cricket game the day before, but play was abandoned coz they had to come in for dinner.  Wendell wanted desperately to finish off the game coz he was a couple of runs behind Leroy on him last innings; whereas Leroy had no innings leave and had two more overs to bowl.  Dis was the first time dat Wendell have the chance to beat him bigger brother, so yuh nuh, pride was at stake.  After careful reasonin bout whether they should resume play or not, they take a chance and go outside to finish off the game…

Leroy bowl him first over wickedly, forcin Wendell to make defensive strokes – maiden over.  On the third ball of his last over, he catch Wendell leg before wicket.

            “OWWZZAT!” Leroy bawl.

            “NO WAY…!” Wendell rebel.

            “Ah c’mon man yuh out!”

            “No I ain’t, that was way off target man!”

            “Yuh cheatin now Wendell.”

            “Cha, jus bowl man!”

            “No, yuh out, new game, my innins now!”

Wendell get vex now, he trow down the bat and run to the back door.  He decide dat he was goin to lock Leroy out.  Leroy suss what him likkle brother was goin to do and start chase him.  When Wendell run inside, he let down de latch of the lock, and in him vexation and anxiety to stop Leroy gettin in, he slam de door shut.  When he do dat, his right hand went straight through one of the frosted glass panes.  Leroy see de glass break, it scare him.

            “Open the door Wendell.”

Wendell open the door, Leroy walk in the house careful and stare at the broken fragments of glass, wonderin how tings was goin to be explain. Wendell was busy starin at the cuts on him wrist dat was stingin him some bad way.

            “You alright?”

            “No it stings.”

            “Put some water on it.”

Wendell put him wrist under the pipe of cold runnin water.  The cut dem start to bleed and Wendell start cry coz he never see so much blood before. Leroy start cry too when all him effort to try and calm Wendell down was in vain.  Jean walk through de door exactly on de hour as promise.  Leroy have guilt write all over him face, but Wendell was well please to see her.

            “What happen?” Jean ask slappin the two of dem.

A tearful Wendell and Leroy explain to her wha gwaan…

            “Didn’t I tell unu not to play outside til me come back?”

            “Yes Mommy!”

            “Now look what you do to yuh hand.  Unu too hard ears!  WHO CAN’T HEAR MUST FEEL!”

After she finish cuss dem, Jean race Wendell to East Birmingham Hospital where he cry some more when he receive twelve painful stitches.

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*


Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by


Eternal Life

© 2010 Norman Samuda-Smith


Eternal life was always the subject of debate back in the day when I attended Sunday school; whether it exists and what happens to us when we die and go to heaven. A person can only receive eternal life as long as they follow certain rules and regulations: don’t live in sin, don’t tell lies, be good to one another etc, etc. We were taught to believe: you live, you die, you’re buried and then your soul rises out of your body-shell, ascends and knocks on the gates of heaven where God judges whether you’re worthy to enter heaven, or be doomed to hell – Frightening!  So I put the subject of eternal life to the back of my mind for it to be perhaps processed later. Then around ten years ago, the subject resurfaced under bizarre circumstances.

I was at work one day when I received a phone call from my son and daughter’s school teacher. In a solemn voice, she informed me she had to suspend my children from school for a day for them to cool off; that their suspensions stemmed from completely separate incidents.

            “Ok, thanks for letting me know.” I said. “Bye.” I placed the receiver back in its cradle and calmly drifted out the office to take a break and breathe some fresh air. I won’t go into the details about what they did, all I’m gonna say is they were minor incidents, but they were worthy of a cool-off period.

So I’m at work, outside, puffing a cigarette, vex first and foremost and cussing under my breath. Venting over, cigarette stubbed out, I began thinking logically. How do I sort out this problem in a firm but reasonable way and explain to my teenagers that being suspended from school ain’t cool? I returned to the office and phoned them and said we’ll discuss the issue when I come home from work.

When I got home that evening, my children were perched on the sofa waiting for me. They had a look of anticipation in their eyes and were ready for me to dive in hollering with all guns blazing. To their surprise I asked them to explain what happened. The second they opened their mouths, I knew I was in for a long evening. They immediately went on the defensive tip. It was everybody else’s fault why they got in trouble.

What seems completely trivial to an adult, for example something that might be said or done, (we can just brush it off); can be a big deal or the end of the world to a teenager. It soon became apparent to me while my children were beating off their gums; I was not going to get the truth.

            “ENOUGH!” I yelled; there was an immediate silence. “I send you to school to learn and not for me to receive a phone call from yuh teacher tellin’ me y’all been suspended. What’s the matter wid unnu?”

            “Sorry dad.”

            “Sorry?  Sorry is a comfort to a fool. Your grandparents never have the privileges you have right yah now and I’m sure they never come ah dis country fe sit back and watch unnu mess up yuh education. Y’all takin’ dis free education ting fe a joke. Your grandmother used to tell me: In the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty!” and: The greatest ting is to know what you don’t know.”

Usually at this point in a conversation in the past, this is where I would have stopped myself in mid sentence, taken a step back and said something like: “Oh-oh, I sound just like my mom and dad, scary!” – C’mon, we’ve all been there and dreaded the thought we’re transforming into our parents…

So while I was aware that thought was rolling around in my head, I continued to reprimand my children with words I wouldn’t have originally voiced and for the first time I embraced it. Here is where the mystic came into the mix. I became aware of a presence in the room while I was in full verbal flow and then I heard different voices whispering in my ears saying: “Yes son, tell dem.” – “I used to tell yuh great grandmother dat yuh nuh.” – “Me tell yuh father the same ting when he was twelve.” – “Lord, what a way yuh daughter favour yuh mother.” – It felt like my fore-parents were in the room, revolving around me and advising me what to express.  Then a final voice whispered: “Alright son, I think you make your point.”

I ended the lecture: “Do I make myself clear?”

            “Yes dad,” they replied.

            “Now disappear! I’m sick of the sight of unnu right now!”

Later that evening I sat and reflected on what I experienced and confronted the debate of eternal life. We are born of the seeds of our parents. The minute we’re first seen we look like our moms and dads, aunts and uncles and our grandparents. When we speak, we sound like them. We take on the way they walk, smile and frown. What they teach us when we are children; we process it and store their information in our minds, until one day we voice the wisdom of our elders when the need arises. Genetically, they are we, as we are they. One-ness. So when we leave Mother Earth in the physical, we continue to live in the hearts, minds and actions of our off-spring; and all that to me equals eternal life.

Til next month – Everyting Bless.


*All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*



Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by


“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”

 Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)

Every year in October we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Black history is with us every second, minute, hour, week, month and year. PANTHER NEWSLETTER’S CULTURE CORNER will attempt to enlighten you with what they never told you in your history class. Our story will be told right here – So enjoy the journey of clarification.




Not widely known but true…

Did you know?

  • Nyam: (nee-yam); to eat,  comes from the Fulani language of West Africa: nyama, nyamgo: to eat. In the Nilo-Saharan languages: Kaliko (Central Sudanic); nya: he eats; Tabi (Eastern Sudanic); nam: he eats.
  • Pickney: (pick-nee); derives from the word pickaninny: meaning child. It is traced to the Portuguese language: pequenino, which is also found in creoles of Sierra Leone, Cameroon, etc.
  • Su-su: (soo-soo); meaning gossip, the sound of whispering. Possibly originates from Ghana: asutu; whispering, or susuw kal; to utter suspicion, or su; to relate, tell.
  • Uno, or Unnu: (oo-noo); means: you-all. It is a pronoun from the Ibo, Midob (Nubian family) and Nilo-Saharan languages: unu and uuni; meaning, you and ye.



  • Jamaica has a variety of Traditional Dances: Maypole; Quadrille; Kumina and Jonkunnu.  Other Traditional Dances are: Gerreh and Dinki Mini; Revival; Ring Games; Ettu and Bruckins Party.



Septimus Severus arguably was the Roman Empire’s only African Emperor 193 – 211 AD. He was born in Tripolitania (North Africa); April 11, 145 AD in a continent usually at war with Rome.  Septimus spent most of his reign travelling.  In 211 AD, he came to Britain and conquered Scotland.  He died in York after a long illness.

Flavius Honorius arguably another of the Roman Empire’s African Emperors. He succeeded his father, Theodosius the Great in 395 AD.

Queen Phillipa (1314 – 1369) was England’s first black Queen and mother of the Black Prince. She was born in Valenciennes (then in Flanders, now France) and was the daughter of William I, Count of Hainaut and Joan of Valois, the granddaughter of Philip III of France.

Dido Elizabeth Belle (1762 – 1837) was the daughter of John Lindsay and an African slave woman known only as Belle. Very little is known about Belle only that she was black and a slave. Her daughter Dido lived in the household of the Earl of Mansfield who was her father’s Uncle and her Great-Uncle.

Nanny of the Maroons stands out in history as the only female among Jamaica’s national heroes. She possessed that fierce fighting spirit generally associated with the courage of men. In fact, Nanny is described as a fearless Asante warrior who used militarist techniques to foul and beguile the English.  Like the heroes of the pre Independence era, Nanny too met her untimely death at the instigation of the English sometime around 1734.  Yet, the spirit of Nanny of the Maroons remains today as a symbol of that domitable desire that will never yield to captivity.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940) founded America’s first major black nationalist movement.  One of the first anti-colonialists, he called for ‘Africa for Africans’ during the early 1920’s. The Jamaican-born Harlem-based activist gave black people a new sense of dignity and power. He died in 1940 without realising his dream.

H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I was the 111th descendant of Solomon and Sheba. The ‘Might of the Trinity’ was known as Rastafari Makonnen until crowned in 1930. His reign in Ethiopia has influenced thousands who believe he is the Messiah. His country’s economic decline pushed him out of power, ending the 3,000 year old Solomonic Dynasty.


Here ends your history lesson for this month.


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER next month and remember…

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

 H.I.M Haile Selassie I


‘Til next month – Everyting Bless.

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