Archive for April, 2010

TRIBUTE

Posted in Newsletter with tags on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

This month’s PANTHER NEWSLETTER is dedicated to Agnes Weekes (My children’s Grandmother) who sadly passed away earlier this month.

Sunrise: June 28 1931  Sunset: April 18 2010.

She will be sorely missed by her family.  R.I.P Momma Agnes; your worldly advice will continually shout out loud in the hearts and minds of your children, grandchildren and your great-grandchildren.

JAH BLESS

GREETINGS & NEWS

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

Greetings and welcome to PANTHER NEWSLETTER: ISSUE 6

ISSUE 5 of PANTHER NEWSLETTER has seen a record number of hits pon top of hits.  I give thanks to y’all for logging on, reading and enjoying.  Keep on doing what yah doing.  A big shout goes out to our new readers here in the UK, in Spain, South Africa and Brazil.  Welcome aboard: “Rock and come in!”

This month we have the ARTIST OF THE MONTH, the FEATURED STORY, a special FEATURED ARTICLE by guest Denise-Anthea; and everybody’s favourite THE CULTURE CORNER.

There’s a lot of news to get through in this issue, so less chat more vibes.  “So grab a beer, pull up a chair and get some cultural vibes inna yuh ear.”

Enjoy PANTHER NEWSLETTER: ISSUE 6.

 

NEWS

HAITI’S FOUNDING DOCUMENT FOUND IN LONDON

There is no prouder moment in Haiti’s history than January 1, 1804, when a band of statesmen-warriors declared independence from France, casting off colonialism and slavery to become the world’s first black republic.  Read the full article here… 

US CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER DOROTHY HEIGHT DIES AGED 98.

One of the pioneering voices of the US civil rights movement, Dorothy Height, has died at the age of 98.  The leader of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, Ms Height was an advocate for gender equality and the desegregation of the US armed forces.  More…

UNITED STATES VISA WOES WILL COST JAMAICAN ENTERTAINERS BIG

Local dancehall stars Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Aidonia, as well as selector Ricky Trooper, are set to lose millions of dollars in earnings based on United States decision to revoke their visas.  Continue… 

OVERCOMING AN ANGRY VAGINA

IF YOUR vagina could speak to you, what would she say? Have you ever thought what your vagina may be feeling?  Read on…

 Unfortunately we will not see these stories on the evening news or in the national newspapers

BRITAINS BRAINIEST FAMILY

Paula and Peter Imafidon are just like any other 9-year-olds. They love laughing, playing on the computer and fighting with each other. What sets these twins apart from their peers, though, is that they are, hands down, prodigies; Continued…

BLACK YOUTH INVENTS SURGICAL TECHNIQUE AT 14.

Tony Hansberry II isn’t waiting to finish medical school to contribute to improve medical care.  He has already developed a stitching technique that can be used to reduce surgical complications; read on.

CRIMINOLOGIST AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS TRAVEL FELLOWSHIP

Finally: My bredrin Martin Glynn, Poet, Writer, Criminologist and Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University in the Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious ‘Winston Churchill International Travel Fellowship’; read more about that here…

ARTIST OF THE MONTH

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

He is currently touring his one man show Blackheart Man.  He was born and raised in Birmingham England of Jamaican parents and has been performing his spoken words on stage since 1984.  He selected and deejayed on sound systems Earthquake and Jah Shanti from outta the Small Heath area of the city back in the day.  His unique style encompasses a cultural richness and wisdom that is literally mind blowing…

PANTHER NEWSLETTER ARTIST OF THE MONTH is international dub-poet Moqapi Selassie (Son of Small Heath).  I linked up with Moqapi to reason with him and about his works.  This is how his story goes…

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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Rasta Love (part one)

 © 2001 Norman Samuda-Smith

Rasta Love is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

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Errol see her every week, rocking in her regular place, near to de light opposite Ital Nyah control tower. As usual, she stand up wid her two older sista dem, laughing, dancing and joking, her sista dem smoking.  In Errol’s eyes, she outclass dem in every way. She was a natural beauty. Nuff man love her off. Like most girls, she was going through a transition from being a regular churchgoer, to accepting de roots and culture. Her name was Lorraine.

Errol step closer to de control tower, tek de microphone off his bredrin Pedro and start chat…

          “Yes crowd a people, as dat musical disc steps away, is lover’s rock time! I tell yuh say, come in selecta Beres!”

De lover’s rock start to play and all de bredrin dem find a girl to dance wid. It seem like nobody ah talk, jus de music inna de air. Errol continued, “As we stop to start again, tell her not to go away, cah here come de dub side wid my original lyrics as I would say . . .

            You’re my days, you’re my nights

           I hope your kisses will make me feel so bright

           I can see your natural beauty girl

           My heart skip a beat

           You turn my world

           Pour your love over my heart

           Make me live a likkle longer

           Pour your love over my heart

           You make me feel stronger . . .”

          “WHOY!” was de deafening cry dat come from de dance-hall crowd, as de bredrin dem leggo dem dance partner.  Errol could see Lorraine and de crowd now, punching de air wid delight, drowning his voice wid dem chanting.

          “GO INNA IT ERROL!”

“GWAAN SOOPA!”

“AH WHO SEH?” Errol ask.

“GO DEH!” de crowd reply.

          “Operator, I beg yuh jus get dere and stay dere!” Errol seh, as he watch Pedro mix and blend dem back inna easy skanking and more of him honey-sweet lyrics.

          “AH LOVE ME AH DEAL WID!” Errol wailed over de microphone as de forty-five come to an end.

Likkle did Lorraine know how special she did grow in Errol eyes.  Pedro bus’ out laughing. “Is where dem deh lyrics come from yout’ man? If yuh like de girl, grab her fe a dance and lyrics her while yuh dancing man! She nuh know seh yuh like her.”

Errol pass de microphone back to Pedro, keeping his eyes on Lorraine de whole time. He start to mek him way through de crowd of lovers wrapped around each other, locked tight together on de dance floor.  Lorraine smile at him, her pretty eyes beckoning.

Fe a yout’ of seventeen, Errol was regarded as de best yout’ toaster inna Birmingham, de baby of de Ital Nyah sound.  When he was fourteen, he used to loaf around outside all ah de dance dat Ital Nyah did play. As Pedro, Beres and Robbo carried in de big speaker box, Errol would offer to carry de small tweeter box dem.  It come a habit dat dem never refuse him help, so soon him start get inna Ital Nyah dance free. Den dem start call Errol dem likkle box bwoy, till him learn to master de art of microphone chanting. At school, him mek sure him educate himself well, him mommy and daddy see to dat. He leave school wid four O-Level and den him start search fe a job.

As him popularity grow even more, Errol get de opportunity fe mek guest appearance wid some ah de big man sound, like Studio City at de Chequers Night Club inna Small Heath pon a Wednesday night. Quaker City at de Rainbow Suite deh ah de city centre every Thursday, and Duke Alloy at de Tyburn House pub over inna Erdington every Sunday. He was like a magnet, wid de talent fe turning an ailing dance into a success.

Dese big man sound try fe coax him away from Ital Nyah fe join dem, giving him de chance to travel nationwide to London, Manchester and Leeds; and to appear at nuff bank holiday dance in and outta town and ting. But Errol remain loyal to him bredrins Pedro, Robbo and Beres, who nurture him rise to success.

Wid dis popularity come de admirers of de feminine gender. Ital Nyah, mainly coz of Errol, have a strong female following.  Him soon change him name to Pa-Pa Errol to fit de romantic side of him lyrics.  Pedro, de oldest sound member, warn him bout de possible jealous man who fah woman might fancy him coz him ah mic chanter. Dese was de times when a man fear de knife as oppose to de gun.  More time still, Errol being shy, despite all dat front him never mek him head swell.

Dat Friday night, when Errol leave de dance, dere was a full moon shining a silver light dat bright up de clear night sky and Jah stars. Him feel nice, like how him did get a dance wid Lorraine. De dance did sweet him. It was winter, 1974, minus six degrees and still dropping rapid, while de heavy frost dat sekkle pon de pavement was glistening. De dustman dem deh pon strike fe well over a week now. Nobody believe how much rubbish can accumulate in nine days. Every street yuh walk down, all yuh see is jus pile ah rubbish everywhere. De miner dem a seh dem want to guh pon strike too, dat gwine lead to power cuts again; and we all know wha dat mean – no dance!

Nuff bredrin and sistren file out the dance hall on St Oswald’s Road.  De bredrin dem sporting dem ites, gold and green crowns scarves and belts as dem bop wid pride along de icy pavement inna dem Clarke’s boots and ting. De sistren dem majestically wearing dem head-wraps in various shape, size and colour, wid dem long skirt, full-length sheepskin coat and fe dem Clarke’s boots, glide ’longside de bredrin dem. Every Friday night nuff ah dem would get off de number 8 bus at de Golden Hillock Road, Coventry Road junction inna Small Heath around eight. Dem destination: St Oswald’s Road dance hall to hear de musical bible of Rastafari featuring Small Heath’s baddess yout’ sound, Ital Nyah.  Dere was pure vibes every week.

De following Friday, St Oswald’s was ram.  Members of other yout’ sounds gather to learn how fe entertain de people wid pure dub-wise and pre-release roots music.  While dem listen and learn, de treble section ring inna dem ears, de bass shake dem trouziz and rattle dem ches’; de lyrics educate and mek dem meditate. Pure peace and love inna de dance as de congregation rock cool and easy to every rhythm dat touch down. De Ital Nyah followers stand up surrounding dem amp-case as Pedro, de operator at de control tower, mix and blend de music, teasing de crowd wid pure treble.  Halfway through a tune, him give dem a full dose ah bass and it shake everyting in its path. De selector dem, Beres and Robbo, dig deep inna de record box to find a nex’ hypnotizing tune, and Errol, cool and easy, chat him owna lyrics inna style and fashion dat taste like milk and honey to de dance-hall crowd…

          “Yes crowd ah people, yuh tune into de baddess yout’ sound, Ital Nyah sound and we nuh wear no frown! Don’t f’get, tomorrow night all roads lead to St Agatha’s church hall, right down dere inna Sparkbrook way! In tune to de mighty Jah Shaka from London town versus Mafia Tone Hi-Fi from Lozells! Is one fifty pon de door, security, tight! So mek it a date and don’t be late cah Shaka gwine trow down dub plate dat no other sound can imitate, seen? So nuh worry bout de energy crisis, nuh worry bout unemployment and redundancy.  Don’t yuh know, Jah will work it out seen?  JAH!”

          “RASTAFARI!” de crowd reply.

          “Selassie I, ever sure, ever pure. Right about now, hol’ on to de one yuh love de bes’ wid out any contes’. Dis yah tune is one cut pon forty-five, stric’ly dub-wise, Gregory Isaacs, Your Smilin Face, trow it down, Robbo!”

De intensity calm down fe a likkle while as de bredrin dem search fe a sistren to hold a dance in de dim light.

          “OOPS, excuse me selecta Robbo! Tek it slow as de love grow inna de dance hall yuh know!  As we stop to start again, yuh got to grab a skirt and see what it’s wort’. Got to get inna de mood, but don’t be rude, jus get down and scrub . . . rub-a-dub!”

A couple of weeks go by, Errol try fe get to grips wid Lorraine.  Since de night weh him did hol’ her fe a dance, nutt’n nah gwaan. She was always talking to a bredda or two, cah she did know quite a few bredrins and she never find it hard fe chat wid any a dem. As a result, him get beat to de post when one bredrin decide seh him like her and want to go out wid her. Errol look pon de rocking crowd and he see her dancing wid her man. He decide seh him nuh done wid Lorraine yet…

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RASTA LOVE (Part two) – click here…

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*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.*

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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TV’s Black British Pioneers

{From the BBC 4 programme 13 April 2010}

© 2010 Denise Anthea

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When our parents and grandparents came over to the Mother Country back in the early to mid 1950’s from the West Indies, despite the careers and jobs they had back home, once here the only option was to work in menial roles.  The qualifications they had worked so hard for had no meaning once they were in England as they were to find out.  For some of them, this wouldn’t do.  They wanted the chance to express themselves creatively and so looked for roles in theatre and TV.

Here is an overview of the artistes that were mentioned in this all too brief but enlightening documentary.

Pearl & Edric Connor

Pearl Cynthia Nunez, theatrical and literary agent, actress and publisher: was born in Diego Martin, Trinidad 13 May 1924; she married Edric Connor in 1948 (died 1968; one son, one daughter), 1971 Joseph Mogotsi; died Johannesburg 11 February 2005.

Pearl Connor was instrumental in setting up the Negro Theatre Workshop in Britain in the early 1960’s and began law studies at London University.  She gave these up in order to assist in the management of her husband’s career. From 1956 until 1976, she ran the Edric Connor Agency, which later became known as the Afro Asian Caribbean Agency. “I had to become knowledgeable about a wide range of cultural experiences, not just Caribbean,” she said.

In London, in 1948, Pearl Nunez married the popular Trinidadian folk singer and actor Edric Connor. He was looked upon as a father figure in Britain’s post-war black community, and when performing artists came to Britain from Africa, Malaysia, India and the Caribbean, they would go straight to the London home of the Connor family.

They gave people like Floella Benjamin, Joan Armatrading and Patti Boulaye their first chances.

Pearl received the National Black Women’s Achievement Award in Britain in 1992.

George Harris – Actor

Born in Grenada George Harris came over to England when still a teenager.  He is an actor of film, stage, television and musical theatre.  He played Britain’s first-ever black TV detective in the ITV Mini series Wolcott in 1981 and was hailed as Britain’s answer to Sidney Poitier.  His name in the series was Winston Churchill Wolcott.  This was the first time black British people had been portrayed as middle-class.  Something rarely seen on TV and has yet to be seen in British cinema.

His other roles include Kingsley Shacklebolt in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Captain Simon Katanga in Raiders of the Lost Ark and real-life Somali warlord Osman Ali Atto in the 2001 film Black Hawk Down.

He has been acknowledged by the BBC Black Legends to be one of the inspirations for many present day performers.

Joan Hooley – Actress

Born in Jamaica in the late 1930’s Joan Hooley came from a middle class background.  She decided early on that she wanted to do something more than just work in hospitals and became an actress.  Her earliest credited role was in Emergency Ward 10 (1964) where she played Dr Louise Mahler.  Her character became involved with a white doctor and they had the first interracial on-screen kiss.  As a consequence of the upset it caused at the time, producers did not know where her character went from there and she was axed from the series.

Her last main role was as Josie McFarlane in Eastenders (1998 – 2000).  Disheartened with the weak storyline Joan Hooley would write scripts for her character which she took to the producers only to have them rejected.  In the end she left the show, fed up with the way her character was portrayed.  She is also and writer and wrote for the series Desmonds.

Earl Cameron – Actor

Born in Bermuda in 1917 at the beginning of World War II in 1939, Cameron moved to England where he worked at kitchen jobs and on merchant navy ships.  After falling ill with Pneumonia, he wanted to return to Bermuda but unable to do so arrived in England where he saw London West-End musical Chu Chin Chow, in which six black men played slaves. He asked if he could join them and went on to perform in theatre.

A highly respected actor of stage, film, radio, and television, Earl Cameron was the only well-known black British actor for most of the 1950s and 1960s during which time he was often heard and seen on the British Broadcasting Company’s (BBC’s) radio and television stations. He is best-known for his roles in Danger Man, Dr. Who, and The Prisoner, British television series that all became cult classics.  He also played a Bermudan police officer who assists James Bond in the 1965 film Thunderball.

Throughout his career Cameron insisted on portraying intelligent and dignified characters. If he was offered a script that he felt was insulting to blacks, he either refused the role or asked for script changes. Cameron, a member of the Bahá’í faith since 1963, has been a consistent advocate for better stories and roles for black actors.

Cy Grant – Singer, actor and broadcaster.

Cy Grant was born in Beterverwagting, a village in British Guiana (now Guyana), after the end of the First World War.  His mother was a talented pianist and he grew up surrounded by music, playing the guitar and singing folk songs.  He excelled at school and was keen to study law, but his parents lacked the funds.

Grant, was the first black person to appear regularly on British television; during the war he was also one of the few West Indian volunteers to be commissioned in the RAF and spent two years as a German prisoner-of-war.

Although he qualified as a barrister in 1950, he struggled to get work.  In his own words, “this was Britain in peacetime and I was no longer useful”.  He became a recognisable voice on radio, singing folk songs, and recorded several albums.  He also hosted his own TV series, For Members Only, and successfully auditioned for Laurence Olivier and had stage appearances for Olivier’s Festival of Britain Company in London and New York.  In 1973 he founded Drum Arts Centre, in London, with the Zimbabwean actor, John Mapondera and others.  Cy Grant died on 13 February 2010 aged 90.

Mona Hammond OBE – Actress

Mona Hammond was born Mavis Chin to a Chinese father and Jamaican mother in Jamaica in 1931.  She came to Britain in 1959 on a scholarship to work with an architects firm but was soon involved in black theatre productions with contemporaries such as Lloyd and Barry Reckord and Charles Hyatt, under the name Mona Chin.  In 1959 she won a scholarship to RADA.  Initially known as a stage actress – she played Lady Macbeth in an all-black version of the Shakespeare play at London’s Roundhouse in 1970 – she went to co-find the Talawa Theatre Group with fellow actresses Yvonne Brewster and Carmen Munroe.  The group performs black versions of plays written for whites as well as staging original Afro-Caribbean productions.  In 2005 she was awarded an O.B.E. for services to drama.  Having played in the TV soap ‘Eastenders’ for some years she has a recurring occasional role as a white vicar’s outspoken ex-mother-in-law in radio soap ‘The Archers.’

Rudolph Walker OBE – Actor

Rudolph Walker broke many barriers as a performer, working extensively in theatre and becoming the first black person to star in a major television series. Walker, who arrived in Britain in 1960, established himself as a performer by working in repertory theatres across the country in the 1960s including the Mermaid Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse and the Malvern Theatre.

He got his big break in 1972 when he was cast as the main character in the television series, Love Thy Neighbour.  Although the show was considered controversial for its use of racist language, it was a popular series that was unprecedented on television at the time. As Rudolph Walker said of the show, his character “gave as good as he got” which was a first for programmes at that time featuring black people.

Walker continued to work in theatre, performing at the Tricycle, the Lyric Hammersmith, the Royal Court and the Young Vic.  He also appears regularly on the BBC television soap opera, Eastenders.  He was awarded the OBE in February 2006.

For more information about TV’s Black British Pioneers, check out this book: Black and White in Colour: Black People in British Television Since 1936 by Jim Pines.

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*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 Denise Anthea.*

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Give thanks to Denise Anthea for producing this informative article.

NORMSKI’S ARTICLE returns in the next issue.

Til next month – Everyting Bless

THE CULTURE CORNER

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Newsletter with tags , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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“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.

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Not widely known but true…

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The True Story of the Statue of Liberty

It’s hard to believe that after many years of schooling (secondary and post) the following facts about the Statue of Liberty were never taught. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people have visited the Statue of Liberty over the years but yet not one person knows the true history behind the Statue. So much important Black history (such as this) is hidden from us (Black and White).  What makes this even worse is the fact that the current twist on history perpetuates and promotes white supremacy at the expense of Black Pride. In France, the original Statue of Liberty resides.  However, there is a difference…the statue in France is BLACK!

“Yuh never know?  Well yuh know now.”  Read on…

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Did you know…? 

Through out history, African Americans have invented some important and fun devices? Here are seven examples…

Elijah McCoy

Image Credits: New York Public Library.

Elijah McCoy (1843–1929) invented an oil-dripping cup for trains. Other inventors tried to copy McCoy’s oil-dripping cup. But none of the other cups worked as well as his, so customers started asking for “the real McCoy.” That’s where the expression comes from.

Lewis Latimer

Image Credits: Queensborough Public Library, Long Island Division, http://www.blackinventor.com.

Lewis Latimer (1848–1928) invented an important part of the light bulb; the carbon filament.  Latimer worked in the laboratories of both Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger 

Image Credits: United Shoe Machinery Corporation, http://www.blackinventor.com.

Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889) invented a shoemaking machine that increased shoemaking speed by 900%!  In 1992, the U.S. made a postage stamp in honour of Matzeliger.

Granville T. Woods

Image Credit: http://www.princeton.edu/~mcbrown/display/woods.html.

Granville T. Woods (1856–1910) invented a train-to-station communication system. Woods left school at age 10 to work and support his family.

George Washington Carver

Image Credits: AP/Wide World, Photo Disc. 

George Washington Carver (1860–1943) invented peanut butter and 400 plant products! Carver was born a slave.  He didn’t go to college until he was 30.

Madam C. J. Walker

Image Credits: Walker Collection of A’Lelia Perry Bundles.

Madam C. J. Walker (1867–1919) invented a hair-growing lotion. Walker grew up poor. But she became the first female African-American millionaire.

Garrett Morgan

Image Credits: AP/Wide World, Corbis.

Garrett Morgan (1877–1963) invented the gas mask. Morgan also invented the first traffic signal.

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More tributes to our S/Heroes

Jomo Kenyatta: {The Burning Spear} (1889 – 1978) served as the first Prime Minister (1963–1964) and President (1964–1978) of Kenya. He is considered the founding father of the Kenyan nation. As a boy, Kenyatta assisted his grandfather, who was a medicine man and took interest in Agikuyu culture and customs. He received his preliminary education at the Scottish Mission Centre at Thogoto and also received his elementary technical education there.

Louise Bennett: {OM, OJ, MBE} (1919 – 2006); was born in Kingston, Jamaica and was the celebrated and much-loved Jamaican folklorist, writer, and artiste. “Miss Lou“, as she was affectionately known, wrote her poems in the language of her people, known as Jamaican Patois or Creole, and helped to put this language on the map and to have it recognised as a language in its own right, thus influencing many poets and writers to do similar things. In 1974, she was appointed to the Order of Jamaica. On Jamaica’s Independence Day 2001, the Honorable Mrs. Louise Bennett-Coverley was appointed as a Member of the Jamaican Order of Merit for her invaluable and distinguished contribution to the development of the Arts and Culture. She died in Toronto Canada on July 26, 2006.

Winston Rodney (OD) also known as Burning Spear the Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician; was born March 1, 1948 in Saint Ann’s Bay, Saint Ann, Jamaica. Like many famous Jamaican reggae artists, Burning Spear is known for his Rastafari Movement messages. Marcus Garvey, the political activist had a great influence in his life. Rodney met Bob Marley in 1969, and having told him that he wanted to get into the music business, Marley advised him to start at Clement Dodd’s Studio One label. Burning Spear was originally Rodney’s group and is named after Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime Minister and President of an independent Kenya.

Abebe Bikila (1932 – 1973) was born August 7, 1932 in the village of Jato, 9 kilometers outside the town of Mendida, Ethiopia. His father was a shepherd. Abebe decided to join the Imperial Bodyguard to support his family, and walked to Addis Ababa where he started as a private. Onni Niskanen, a Finnish-born Swede, was hired by the Ethiopian government to train potential athletes. He soon spotted Bikila. He was the first black African in history to win a gold medal in the Olympics in the Marathon event which he won twice, Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964. A stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honour.

Kipchoge (“Kip”) Keino was born January 17, 1940 and is the chairman of the Kenyan Olympic Committee. Kip Keino was among the first in a long line of successful distance runners to come from Kenya and has helped and inspired many of his fellow countrymen and women to become the athletic force that they are today.

Merlene Ottey, born May 10, 1960 in Hanover, Jamaica. Ottey began her career representing Jamaica, but since 2002, she has represented Slovenia, where she now resides. She is ranked fourth on the all-time list of female performers in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters.  Ottey holds the record for being the oldest track medallist ever, for running the fastest Women’s Indoor 200 metres (in 21.87 seconds), for having the most Olympic appearances (seven) than any other track and field athlete, and for having the most women’s World Championships medals (fourteen). Her career achievements and longevity have led to her being called the “Queen of the Track”.

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Here ends your history lesson for this month.

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 Log on for more CULTURE CORNER next month and remember…

Live for yourself – you will live in vain
Live for others – you will live again
In the kingdom of JAH man shall reign
Pass it on…

Bunny Wailer

 

‘Til next month – Everyting Bless.

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