Archive for June, 2012


Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Music, News, Newsletter, Publications, Reggae, Short Story, Television, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by










Sometimes you have to be apart from the people you love, but that doesn’t mean you love them any less. Sometimes it even makes you love them more.


Greetings and Welcome to PANTHER NEWSLETTER ISSUE 23.



PANTHER NEWSLETTER is taking a sabbatical so this is the final issue for a while. It will be decided during its rest period how many issues will be published each year from 2013 onwards. PANTHER NEWSLETTER will remain on-line for you to continue viewing, to catch up, to enjoy to share the link with your family and friends and post your comments. For the remainder of this year PANTHER NEWSLETTER (Echo) will occasionally fly the PANTHER NEWSLETTER flag during its absence.


I would like to take this opportunity and thank each and every one of you, at home and abroad, for taking an interest, reading, contributing and passing the PANTHER NEWSLETTER link to your family and friends, and for making the newsletter a success over its 31 month journey. PANTHER NEWSLETTER will be back to resume sharing.

Until then – Everyting Bless


We don’t have a SPECIAL GUEST in this final issue, but we have: THE HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY where talent at home and abroad show their genius. We concentrate on African history and chronicle the colonial creation of Uganda in the FEATURED ARTICLE. We salute two of reggae music’s late all time great female singers in THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET. My bredrin Beresford Callum returns with another fascinating tale of his true experience with the paranormal in the FEATURED STORY. Birmingham’s multi-talented author, article writer, radio presenter and teacher Ava Ming blesses us with her debut appearance and her engaging SPECIAL FEATURED ARTICLE; and of course we have everybody’s favourite THE CULTURE CORNER.






The boss of RBS has confirmed that a software change was responsible for the widespread computer problems affecting millions of customers’ bank accounts; more…


England footballers who missed penalties at the European Championship quarter-final clash against Italy at the Olympic Stadium Kiev, Ukraine, are allegedly racially abused on-line; read more here…


“RULE, BRITANNIA! Britannia, rule the waves! Britons never, never, never shall be slaves!” Britain sang it loud and proud during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The self-congratulation was intoxicating. The air was thick with patriotism and there was little room for dissenting thought. It was one hell of a terrible weekend for ‘fans’ of democracy and meritocracy; more…


THE VOICE of Sport, Rodney Hinds, talks to Birmingham radio presenter L J about London 2012; watch the interview here…





Several high-ranking Syrian military figures have defected to Turkey, reports in Turkish media say. A general, two colonels, two majors and about 30 other soldiers are said to have crossed into Hatay province on Sunday night; more…


Egypt’s president-elect, Mohammed Mursi, has moved into his new office in the presidential palace and begun work forming a government he says will represent all of the people; more…


Many people are feared dead after a landslide struck three villages in a mountainous region of eastern Uganda; here…






Sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett, known for her politically-charged artwork, has died aged 96. The US artist was renowned for harnessing art to highlight better rights for black people and women; read more here…


Read more about her here…



Jamaican double bassist Lloyd Brevett, whose band The Skatalites pioneered ska music and paved the way for reggae, has died at the age of 80; more here…




Hot Stuff singer Donna Summer died aged 63 after a battle with cancer. The Boston-born star, known as the Queen of Disco, passed away in Florida; Read more here…



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, Music, News, Newsletter, Poem, Publications, Reggae, Short Story, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by





With Chloe Redmond

For more details of her classes, click on the poster or check out Chloe’s website here…




All your Balloon decorations for Parties, Weddings and Corporate Events
Or give me a call on 0790 480 4419  – 0121 250 4466
Congratulations to Birmingham’s home-grown Naomi Spencer the creator of CANDY BUBBLES, for being awarded West Midlands Ambassador of the year November 2011. She then went on to the finals in London where she won the National Young Ambassador of the Year Award 2012 at The Prince’s Trust and L’Oréal Paris, Celebrate Success Awards. So check out the link and view her accepting her award from HRH Prince Charles; here…




Check out and subscribe to Afro-Caribbean Global Voices the on-line Directory of all of the African Caribbean (Black) community current affairs centered  mediums across the diaspora; here…



Check out Mama Ife’s food for thought blog. Where she feeds you with common sense and old school wisdom for our time; here…



If you fancy listening to Hip Hop Reggae with a sprinkle of the taste of Africa; then check out Brother Chaz Walker’s brilliant CD album Wisdom and Knowledge released on Inersa Records and available for you to purchase here…

Me long time bredrin and ARTIST OF THE MONTH/January 2011; Brotha Chaz Walker hails from Oakland California. He is a musician, poet, conscious rapper, producer and educator and has been hailed as “the High Priest of Hip Hop”.






By Norman Smith

Published by New Beacon Books

£ 12.00

ISBN: 9780901241603

Format:  Hardback


First published in 1982 (Trinity Arts; Birmingham), short-listed for the Young Observer Fiction Prize the same year and republished in 1985 by New Beacon Books; London/Port of SpainBAD FRIDAY is the ground breaking novel, written by the UK’s first black British born novelist Norman Samuda Smith.

Set in the mid 1970s, BAD FRIDAY follows the fortunes of Delroy Bell, a young black school-leaver and his friends. The prospects for them look grim. Will Delroy realise his dream and become a professional basketball player; or will he end up hustling and gambling on the streets like his cousin Peter says? BAD FRIDAY tells how each are searching for a future, an identity and respect they feel was denied their parents; and the predicament in which Faye, young and pregnant finds herself – anxious about the possible rejection of her family and the baby’s father. A compelling page turning novel and exceptionally well written.


“Bad Friday is the first novel to come out of the black British working class experience; and it confronts in an artistic form, the life of black youth in Britain today.” John La Rose, New Beacon Books (1985)


Norman Samuda Smith with John La Rose @ the Bad Friday book launch; Finsbury Park, London: April 1985


“I read Bad Friday before I met Norman and felt it was good then: a novel about school leavers set in inner-city Small Heath Birmingham (UK) among the Afro-Caribbean community in the 1970s. It uses the dialogue of the community skilfully to tell an affecting story. What’s amazing (to me) about it is the author’s youth when he wrote it. He was in his early twenties, but he shows a mastery of narrative…” Alan Beard, goodreads (January, 2001)



Buy a copy here…





                                            SHADOW PEOPLE                                                                                


                                    UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS                                                                                                









Jenniece Anderson is an artist, art teacher and art dealer. Born in Jamaica, Jenniece currently lives and works in London. A prolific painter, Jenniece is renowned as a colourist and an expressionist but she also experiments with a range of processes and techniques. Her work conveys a narrative of colours, textures, patterns and the rhythms of the Caribbean vibe. She is committed to celebrating and promoting Caribbean art which was the driving force for establishing “Bingy” Art Gallery for which she was the art director; check out her recently launched website here…


Fluid Space Arts is an art company working with all aspects of the arts by widening and developing new opportunities for children, young people and emerging artists by providing an environment and platform for their skills and talents to be nurtured and expressed. They specialise in organizing and delivering tailor-made events and training programmes which can be adapted to the client group that they work with. Why not check them out and see what they can do for you; here…







For all connoisseurs who prefer less chat and more music: Tune into Majestic Radio launched on the earthstrong of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie July 23 2011; here…





My SPECIAL GUEST in July 2011JOANNE ‘BLACKPOET’ STEPHEN who hails from Brooklyn, New York, and is of Guyanese roots; shares her new video with you and thanks y’all for your continued support. Tune in  here…

Friday 10th August 2012 @ The Rainbow Warehouse ONEDUB & Dubwisefesitval bring you the mighty son of JAH SHAKA in Birmingham for the very first time with his full sound system for heavyweight dub vibrations! – Catch the details here…

If you promote Dub/Roots/Reggae/Revival/Bashment /Dancehall events just register as a promoter and post your events on the site here… You can also buy/sell event tickets direct from the event listings via: 


Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, News, Newsletter, Publications, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by



(Part One)



Buganda: 19th century AD

Uganda, on the equator and surrounded by the great lakes of central Africa, is one of the last parts of the continent to be reached by outsiders. Arab traders in search of slaves and ivory arrive in the 1840s, soon followed by two British explorers. Speke was there in 1862. Stanley followed in 1875. The ruler visited by both Speke and Stanley is Mutesa, the king (or kabaka) of Buganda. His kingdom is one of four in this region which have become firmly established by the mid-nineteenth century. The others, lying to the west, are Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro.

The existence of these African kingdoms has a profound influence on the development of Uganda during the colonial period. But when the scramble for Africa begins, in the 1880s, this remote interior region is not immediately in the sights of any of the colonial predators.

It is seen at the time merely as a distant place lying beyond the territories of the sultan of Zanzibar, which are in dispute between Britain and Germany. When separate spheres of interest are agreed, in 1886, the area of modern Kenya falls to Britain. Beyond it, round the north shore of Lake Victoria, lies Buganda. Britain expects this to be little more than the far corner of its new colony. Events prove otherwise.

British East Africa Company: AD 1888-1895

As with the areas being colonized by Rhodes at this same period in southern Africa, the British government is reluctant to take active responsibility for the region of east Africa which is now its acknowledged sphere of interest. Instead it assigns to a commercial company the right to administer and develop the territory. The Imperial British East Africa Company is set up for the purpose in 1888, a year ahead of Rhodes’s British South Africa Company.

The region given into the company’s care stretches all the way from the east coast to the kingdom of Buganda, on the northwest shore of Lake Victoria

It is evident to all that the development of this region depends on the construction of a railway from the coast to Lake Victoria, but circumstances conspire to make this task far beyond the abilities of the East Africa Company. The running sore which saps their energy and their funds is Buganda.

Being in a sense beyond Lake Victoria, Germany is able to argue that this region (the most powerful kingdom within the territory of Uganda) is not covered by the territorial agreement with Britain. Moreover the irrepressible Karl Peters now forces the issue. In 1890 he arrives at Kampala and persuades the kabaka (the king of Buganda) to sign a treaty accepting a German protectorate over his kingdom.

A possibly dangerous confrontation between the imperial powers is averted when the British prime minister, Lord Salisbury, proposes a deal which Berlin, remarkably, accepts. Salisbury offers the tiny and apparently useless island of Heligoland (in British possession since 1814) in return for German recognition of British protectorates in Zanzibar, Uganda and Equatoria (the southern province of Sudan). But Germany derives her own benefit from the deal. Heligoland subsequently proves an invaluable naval base in two world wars.

Meanwhile the East Africa Company faces further problems in Buganda, where civil war breaks out between factions led by British Protestant missionaries and their French Catholic rivals.

In January 1892 there is heavy gunfire between and among the four hills which form Kampala. On the top of one hill is the palace of the kabaka. On another the French have completed a Catholic cathedral of wooden poles and reeds. On a third the Protestants are building their church. On the fourth is the fort established for the company by Frederick Lugard, who is the only combatant with the advantage of a Maxim machine gun.

Lugard prevails. But the loss of life and destruction of property in this unseemly European squabble makes it plain that the East Africa Company is incapable of fulfilling its duties.

In 1894 the British government declares a protectorate over Buganda. Two years later British control is extended to cover the western kingdoms of Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro – to form, together with Buganda, the Uganda Protectorate.

Meanwhile the much larger region of Kenya has been relatively calm, even if the East Africa Company has achieved little of value there. But in taking responsibility for Uganda, the British government needs to be sure of the new protectorate’s access to the sea. So in 1895 the company’s charter is revoked (with compensation of £250,000). Kenya becomes another new responsibility of the British government, as the East Africa Protectorate.

The Uganda Protectorate: AD 1896

Recent events in Uganda have made evident the difficulties likely to be faced by any colonial power. As a result the British government appoints in 1899 a seasoned administrator, Harry Johnston, as special commissioner to Uganda. His brief is to recommend the most effective form of administration.

The evident power of the local African kings convinces Johnston that control must be exercised through them. Buganda is by far the most significant of the kingdoms. The Johnston policy becomes effective with the Buganda Agreement of 1900.

Under the terms of this agreement the kabaka’s status is recognized by Britain, as is the authority of his council of chiefs. The chiefs’ collective approval of the British protectorate over the region is eased by Johnston’s acknowledgement of their freehold right to their lands (a concept alien to African tribal traditions, but nevertheless extremely welcome to the chiefs themselves).

Johnston subsequently makes similar agreements with the rulers of Toro (in 1900) and of Ankole (in 1901). With this much achieved, and a clear pattern set for the Uganda Protectorate, Johnston returns to Britain

Later commissioners develop Johnston’s solution for Uganda into a clear-cut distinction between it and neighbouring Kenya. White settlers are actively encouraged to move into Kenya’s highlands, a region to the immediate southeast of Uganda. But Johnston’s successor declares that Uganda is not suitable for European settlement.

Many disagree, and pressure builds to allow the establishment of European farms and plantations – until another commissioner, still in the years before World War I, makes it a point of principle that Uganda is to be an African state. The economics of the protectorate support this policy. Uganda grows prosperous as cotton, introduced by the British, is grown with great success by African peasant farmers.

But a federal system of semi-independent monarchies proves less appropriate in the years after World War II, when all African colonies are moving towards independence. Young educated Africans, the likely leaders of the future, are out of sympathy with feudal Uganda. And the dominant position of Buganda, by far the most powerful of the kingdoms, causes an imbalance in Ugandan politics – with much talk of possible secession by the kabaka and his council of chiefs.

By the early 1960s the leading Ugandan politician is Milton Obote, founder of the UPC (Uganda People’s Congress), a party drawing its support from the northern regions of the country. Its main political platform is opposition to the hegemony of the southern kingdom of Buganda.

Britain grants Uganda full internal self-government in March 1962. In the following month Obote is elected prime minister. It is he who negotiates the terms of the constitution under which Uganda becomes independent in October 1962.

Confronted by the problem of Buganda, Obote accepts a constitution which gives federal status and a degree of autonomy to four traditional kingdoms, of which Buganda is by far the most powerful. In the same spirit Obote approves the election in 1963 of the kabaka, Mutesa II, to the largely ceremonial role of president and head of state. It proves to be a short-lived collaboration.


Read THE HISTORY OF UGANDA (part two) here…


‘Til 2013 – Everyting Bless



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Music, News, Newsletter, Publications, Reggae, Television, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by


“One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.”

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981)

Music has always played an important role in all our lives, especially Reggae, the music genre first developed in Jamaica, strongly influenced by traditional African, American jazz and old-time rhythm and blues. Reggae owes its direct origins to the progressive development of Ska and Rocksteady in 1960s Jamaica. Each month, THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET will salute the legendary artists and recording studios from out of Jamaica that have placed reggae on the musical global map.




SUNRISE: 1 January 1948   SUNSET: 15 April 2004


Phyllis Dillon was born in 1948 in Linstead, St. Catherine, Jamaica. Influenced by American singers Connie Francis, Patti Page and Dionne Warwick, she began singing in talent contests. It was during a performance at the Glass Bucket Club in Kingston, Jamaica with the group The Vulcans, where Duke Reid’s session guitarist Lynn Taitt discovered her.

She was 19 when she recorded her first record for Duke Reid. In 1967, Reid released Don’t Stay Away. While most of her subsequent recordings would be covers of popular and obscure American songs including Bettye Swann’s Make Me Yours, Perry Como’s Tulips and HeatherMidnight Confessions, and Stephen Stills’s Love the One You’re With; Don’t Stay Away was an original composition featuring Tommy McCook and the Supersonics as the backing band.

Another original song, It’s Rocking Time would later be turned into the Alton Ellis’ hit Rocksteady. While these early recordings demonstrate Dillon’s mastery of the rocksteady sound, a much slower, soulful, response to the sultry weather that made ska’s upbeat rhythm and tempo undesirable even impracticable, it was no indication of her greatest performance, 1967’s Perfidia. Popularized by the American surf rock band The Ventures. Perfidia is a 1940 song written by Alberto Domínguez and made popular by the Cuban bandleader, Xavier Cugat. At the end of 1967, Dillon moved to New York. The following five years, she spent living a double life. She had a family and career in the United States, flying frequently back to Kingston, Jamaica to continue recording for Reid. After a number of singles and an album entitled Living in Love, Dillon ended her recording career in 1971. She was 23 years of age.

In 1991, Michael Bonnet, the entertainment director for the Oceanea Hotel in Kingston approached Dillon inviting her to sing. Her refusal at first was later rescinded and sparked a revitalized interest in performing and recording. In the years following, Dillion would tour the UK, Germany and Japan. In 1998 Phyllis Dillon returned to the recording studio with Lynn Taitt, marked by reinterest in ska music in the United States. She remained active until illness took hold.

Phyllis Dillon passed away on 15 April 2004 in New York, after a two year battle with cancer, at the age of 56. Tune into more of the classics of Phyllis Dillon.

DISCOGRAPHY: One Life to Live; Woman of the Ghetto; Perfidia; Picture on the Wall; Don’t Stay Away; Love Was All I Had; Don’t Touch Me Tomato; Long Time No Nice Time; Get On the Right Track (Original Version)Right Track; The Love That A Woman; We Belong Together.





SUNRISE: 23 March 1953  SUNSET: 11 June 2005


Veteran female singer and Studio One recording artiste Jennifer Lara pasted away aged just 52 years of age in the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) Jamaica on Saturday June 11 2005, from a brain haemorrhage and high blood pressure. She is survived by her two children Ika and Sheka.

She was the cousin of Derrick Lara of The Tamlins and joined Studio One in 1969 after leaving school when Studio One keyboard player Richard Ace brought her to Studio One owner Coxsone Dodd and she never left. Her single solo album for the label was Studio One Presents Jennifer Lara; however she was featured on a number of the label’s compilations including, Christmas Greetings, Feel Like Jumping and Studio One Classics.

Her best known single was an original titled, Consider Me, which was recorded on the rhythm track of Delroy Wilson’s huge hit, I Don’t Know Why. She also did back up vocals for a number of top artistes at the label including The Ethiopians, Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor and The Jays. Her last song Ordinary People was recorded two weeks before she died at Studio One, a duet with guitarist Dalton Browne, who said that Jennifer Lara’s death came as a surprise to him, she didn’t show any sign of illness when they were recording.

Jennifer Lara has been described as an “under-exposed” singer by her peers, who had much talent, but never got the chance to fully expose it. There have been successful female singers in the Jamaican music scene; for the most part they are used as backup singers. Jennifer Lara did exactly that for her entire career. But when an occasional single like the 1981 classic I Am In Love was released, one had to wonder why more wasn’t done with her. Maybe she didn’t want that. She was a mom and raised two children. Maybe she was happy making a living as a studio singer. She was at Studio One for 35 years so obviously Coxsone Dodd and the other musicians loved her work and I’m sure you will too. So kick back and tune into the late great Jennifer Lara classics.

DISCOGRAPHY: Consider Me; A Change is Gonna Come; Suki Yaki; I’m in Love; Music by the Score; What Is It; My Man; Jah Will Lead Us Home; Too Long Will Be Too Late; Rocking Tonight; Do His Work; Do It To Me One More Time; Tell Me Where (original)Tell Me Where; Impossible; Love and Harmony; I’ll Give You Love; Mr DJ; Hand To Mouth; Hurt So Good; Missing My Baby; Ain’t No Love; I Can’t Take It Anymore; To Long Will Be Too Late; A Woman; Close To You; Natural Misty.



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, News, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by



(The Boy)

© 2012 Beresford Callum



For me, the Jamaican 500 dollar bill, with its artist impression of national heroin, Nanny, has a very special significance. It triggers memories of an untouched Jamaica. Untouched as in not the utopian dream imagined by tourists (i.e. exotic cuisine, endless sunshine punctuated by cool breezes, white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, limestone caverns and fertile alluvial plains) but forested valleys so deep their mists don’t clear until after 9 am. Where there are no direct rays of the sun until midday. Where days are cool, nights are bone chilling, the air is clean, no carbohydrates grow there, and the only human sustenance is wild boar, fish, and wild honey. Thus was the environment I found myself in the summer of 1991.

It was not my first time in the upper valleys of Portland’s Rio Grande and Back River. The History Department of the University of the West Indies had initiated the Maroon Archaeological Research Project (UMARP). In 1990, three classmates and I spent three days here, conducting a site reconnaissance survey. This time I was among an international body of students dropped by helicopter into Nanny Town or “Old Nanny Town” as it is referred to today, for a six week stay.

Like all battlefields where the disenfranchised have triumphed over superior forces; Little Bighorn or Greasy Grass for the American Indians of Montana, Thermopylae for the Greek and Palmares (Angola Janga) for the Brazilian maroons, “Old Nanny Town” is considered hallowed ground and the most sacred place on earth to Jamaica’s Windward Maroons. The original home to one of the most notorious band of runaway slave freedom fighters, the village always took the name of their heroin leader, Nanny.

The temporary British Barrack at Old Nanny Town was situated on three terraces. Mr. Leopold Shelton and the three West brothers – Grassy, Clinton and Raldi ; our maroon guides, built our camp on the two lower terraces, roughly 20 meters from the assumed boundaries ruins and main upper terrace.[1] Three tents enclosed a central cooking and a general multi-purpose area. Two tents were located on the lower horizontal terrace acting as informal barriers between the site and the 50 meters of steep, thick scrub land before the Back River Grande. Littered with sharp protruding rocks and precipitous falls, locals say, “Woe is unto the stranger who tries to descend these slopes after nightfall.”

There was a series of unexplained phenomena that field season. The following are my accounts of the two by which I was directly impacted.

Off the beaten path to the south west of our camp was a creek housing a seasonal stream known to wild boar hunters as Nanny Falls. One morning before breakfast, a female friend and I decided to do our morning hygiene at “Nanny Falls” stream. As we began ascending the creek, we heard a series of strange noises and a heavy rustling in the thick dried foliage all around us. We looked enquiringly in all directions. Nothing! Assuming it was a hunting dog; we shrugged our shoulders and moved on. The sound escalating and foliage moving more vigorously, we were interrupted two times more, in quick succession. After the second time hearing what sounded like the flapping of a dog’s ears as he is shaking his head, we not only scanned our surroundings, we threw a few rocks in the general area and then different directions hoping to hear or see some immediate response. Nothing!! The third time was so loud; it made the hairs at the back of my head uncurl. It was as though the eyes of a predator were trained on me. The fear of God was driven into us. We stopped, scanned our surroundings, stared at each other and without saying a word, simultaneously turned and quick stepped it back to the camp.  Back at camp not a word was uttered to our peers and for the weeks that followed neither of us looked in that direction.

As if my Nanny Falls experience were not enough, about two weeks later, I was chased out of my tent. That Friday night after the usual campfire joke session, group members returned to their respective tents. With members of our tent being of the more worldly persuasion, we spent another hour living it up. Some people were smoking and everyone had been taking more than a few shots of Appleton Estate’s finest.

There is something rejuvenating about the fresh clean air when you are 2,256 meters (7,402 ft.) above sea level and surrounded by miles and miles of untouched rain forest. I rarely sleep straight though the night. Lying on my back, I often just keep my eyes closed until I return to deep slumber. This particular night was no different. Awake in the middle of the night, within my sleeping bag, I curled into a semi-fetal position to harness my body heat. Eyes closed I breathed deeply, taking full advantage of the mountain air.

Suddenly, I was overcome by the smell of a heavy smoke. For those familiar with wood fires you know this can be a very pleasant smell. I assumed the wind direction had changed and the logs on the campfire were still going. I grew suspicious when the smell of pure smoke changed to a musky smell of sweat, something similar to an odor carried by char-coaler who had spent days in the hills disassembling a burnt kiln.

I opened my eyes. Standing at the entrance to our tent was “The Boy.” From my position he could have been roughly 5’ 6” tall, burry soot black hair, with wide shoulders and a muscular wedge like torso. Spear in hand, shirtless, and only wearing torn pants from waist to just below the knee, he was looking directly at me. Most noticeable were his huge bulbous eyes that stared at me menacingly. Against his obsidian skin they were most pronounced, a smoky white with enlarged capillaries around the pupils, somewhat similar to varicose veins.

He didn’t move or utter a word, but I was sure he had come to get me. In one swift adrenalin filled motion, I flew out of my bag and stormed through my ghost, unconsciously downhill. It could have been only through the mercy of God or Granny Nanny herself who could have assisted in my navigating the treacherous path toward the river. I was very fortunate. I have heard stories where Red Coats and militia men having had the same experience, ran aimlessly throwing themselves over the precipice which littered the this mountain landscape. Skin torn, flesh bruised and torn from my right big toe in my flight. I was taken to the University medical center where strips of skin were surgically removed and the wound cleaned and bandaged. Up until this day; more than two decades after, I walk with a slight limp.

I was sure of what I had seen, yet when others inquired as to the source of my sudden uproar and the subsequent accident, I said it was a rat or something like one. When things calmed down our four Maroon guides and the five other individuals with whom I shared the same tent quickly covered their heads with their blankets and never uttered a word to refute my explanation. I knew they didn’t believe a word. I have no doubt that my tent mates, all the Jamaican students, were thinking duppy but scared stiff themselves, they dared not say it.

The next day, my peers schemed and plotted, quickly applying their academic and creative skills using my unfortunate situation to modify the popular 1974 hit Duppy Gunman by Jamaican singer Ernie Smith. Duppy Gunman tells the tale of a romantic liaison that went bad. It opens:

I an I man forward

Pon a different scene

I an I man collie weed

I an I man queen

Everything was irie

Getting in the groove

We jus’ a come dung to movement

When someone sey don’t move

It mus be a duppy or a gunman

I man no fin’ out yet

(“Quarrie [2]was a bway to I man las’ night, him coulden falla me”)


I have forgotten all the words but, keeping the tune the modified chorus like the original was especially catchy.

Callum no fin’ out yet

“Quarrie was a bway to Callum that’ night, him coulden falla him”

A day or two later, I described what happened to the maroon guides and a few friends. The guides were not surprised; they had suspected what had happened all along. They then surprised me by telling me about the experience of a young college student (who by coincidence happened to be the father of my University roommate) who decide to take a casual hike to the site in the mid-1960s. The word is he was lost, supposedly led away by ghosts for a week.

Fuelled by the aforementioned song, I became the camp’s source of laughs for the rest of that field season and the History Department’s most popular joke the following fall semester.


Fascinated by my experiences at Nanny Town, I developed a special interest in Maroon heritage and culture. As fate would have it, I was later hired by The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) as an Archaeologist. Somewhat similar to America’s National Park Service and England’s English Heritage, the JNHT houses artifacts and is responsible for maintaining Jamaica’s historic sites. Being intimately involved with the material culture over the next three years further stimulated my interest. By the time I began graduate school, I was reading any material associated with Jamaica’s Maroons.

In this relatively short paper, along with his site description, Alan Tuelon gave an account of the experiences of a few other unsuspecting and skeptic adventurers dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, when British Red Coats abandoned the site. So powerful is the folklore that shrouds Old Nanny Town, that since the end of the nineteenth century, only maroon boar hunters have dared to visit the site. Among the many phenomena to which hunters have attested are hearing strange unexplainable noises, clearly not associated with the physical environment of the forest. There are stories of huts spontaneously combusting after being visited by an unclassified speckled, red tailed bird. Others tell of a vocal monster – the whooping boy. Even more outrageous are the stories of a legless dog, floating across waterfalls and through the mist of dark ravines. Hunters say, “that when either of the aforementioned gives tongue the hunter regardful of safety had better make tracks for his home.”

I was dumbstruck! Turns out what I had experienced in Old Nanny Town were just two more events to be added to a long line of unexplainable phenomena to have occurred at the Nanny Town site. Among the more noteworthy are: In 1898 two white men attempted to journey to the site alone, losing their bearings. Fortunately for them they were found close to dying from foot sores and starvation. In the 1930s nine boys from Jamaica College (a high school located in Kingston), somehow after setting eyes upon the site, were lost in the rain forest for two weeks, later found by a Mr. Sebert Mackenzie, a local farmer working in his fields. The local newspaper (Daily Gleaner), contemporaneous with that year, carried some interesting accounts of the efforts of search parties to locate the boys. The most tragic incident associated with the site is probably that of 1965 when a party of geologists working in the area supposedly came too close to the site. They too were lost, one of them dying as a result.

My college roommate swears that until this day his father refuses to talk about his experience. To tell the truth, if it had not been for Alan Tuelons’ paper, I wouldn’t be writing this story either.


[1] In 1991 Mr. Leopold Shelton was the only surviving guide of Alan Tuelon’s 1967 team.

[2] The Quarrie mentioned in the original song was Jamaica’s, Donald Quarrie one of the world top sprinters in the 1970s.

[3] Alan Tuelon, “Nanny – Maroon Chieftainess,” Caribbean Quarterly 19, no. 4 (1973): 20-27.

See Also


*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 Beresford Callum.*



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, News, Newsletter, Publications, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by



© 2012 Ava Ming


“Nothing in this world obstructs you, unless you believe it to be so,”


I am forever amazed at people who say no when they could just as easily say yes. Fretful men and women cut themselves off from life’s fortuity, mistakenly convinced that declining is their safest option. But in reality life is for living, not for sitting on the sidelines watching the courageous few take chances, so why not leave the people-gazing to the paparazzi and take action?

Not wishing to come all over ecumenical, but wasn’t it Jesus who went on about ‘life more abundantly?’ Personally I think he was on to something. In heaven, or wherever you believe you’ll end up, there’ll be no lovely shoes to collect. Okay so you can only wear one pair at a time, but just imagine shiny stilettos lined up waiting for your soft, newly pedicured feet? And, I guarantee there’ll definitely be no money to spend simply for the sake of it. No credit cards to max out, no challenges to overcome, mental, physical or emotional, no mountains to climb. There’ll be no new worlds to conquer, no children to raise, no marriages to make. In fact no life to live, just a harp to strum and a pasture to laze in till you’re sick of looking at grass! Is that really what you’re waiting for?

I have an ironic sense that the people who casually follow wherever the wind blows would amaze us if they only said yes, so why treat life as if it were a rehearsal, promising to do more next time around?

Consider; Rum and raisin ice-cream versus dull, rice cakes? Sexy salsa dancing or sitting at home watching re-runs of CSI? Belting out disco karaoke, feeling like a fool but having a great time, versus watching American Idol with a wistful sigh of ‘if only that was me following my dreams?’

Your heartbeat is fast enough to keep you motivated but slow enough to keep you alive. Your senses absorb and create rich, wonderful, kaleidoscopic fantasies every minute of the day. Imagine if you never acted on them?

Years ago I had the pleasure of being a backing singer for late, great, Motown soul man, Edwin Starr. One of the first things he said to his audience was; “y’all get up and dance, don’t worry about what your friends say ’cos they’re gonna talk about you anyway.” He was right of course. People will think whatever they’re going to think, so why worry about them? Edwin loved life. He squeezed more into his sixty-one years than most people do in thirty-five. He treated each day as a new adventure and this rubbed off onto the people around him. He’d tease me for being tired at eleven pm as we were about to go on stage whilst he was wide awake, excited and ready to entertain. Edwin’s talent and hard work brought him fame and riches borne from his determination to get the most out of life.

You have a fantastic brain and great ideas. Every day your plans and dreams, hopes and fears surface in your quiet slumber or your private daydreams willing you to take a chance and do something outside of your comfort zone.

You can fall in love and enjoy romance after romance after romance, after more romance…if you’re lucky. You can get your heart broken and don’t forget the hearts that you’ll break too. You can try anything and fail, you can try anything and succeed, but the main thing is that you try.

If you get knocked back, take a minute to re-group and carry on. In the long-run will it really matter? You can create fabulous true stories to tell your grandchildren and make them want to be you. You can write a book, enjoy a symphony, design a new swimsuit, dye your hair! You can eat, sleep, make love, cry, laugh, rant, rave and dance every night of the week.

As a warm, sentient, fantastic human being, the life that you were born into is actually un-limited, don’t let your thoughts tell you otherwise. You can wink at strangers, pick grapes in Greece, learn ballet in Bologna, jump-up in Trinidad. You can make new friends from the tribes of Timbuctoo. You can surf the oceans, fly high in the sky or hurtle below the sea on a train through the channel tunnel. Whatever you want to do, it’s all there, just choose!

If you’re thinking well that all sounds great, but how? Sorry but you’ll have to conjure up your own magic method. Walk the road less travelled where there’s loads of space to explore your thoughts.

The next time you find yourself automatically saying no to something new, think about the marvellous, glorious exciting new everything you’ll open yourself up to if you just say yes!

Go for it!


You can read more of Ava’s inspiring articles on Hubpages; here…

Check out her novel: ONCE UPON A LIE; here…


*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 Ava Ming.*



Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Music, News, Newsletter, Poem, Poems, Publications, Short Story, Television, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 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.


“…And I ask why am I black? –  They say I was born in sin, and shamed inequity. One of the main songs we used to sing in church makes me sick, ‘love wash me and I shall be whiter than snow’.”

Peter Tosh

(October 19, 1944 – September 11, 1987)


Blacks in Britain (Part eleven)


Not widely known – But true…


1973 – The international oil crisis of 1973 heralded the end of Britain’s need for post-colonial labourers. Sociologist Maureen Cain published Society and the Policeman’s Role, in which she posited that racism now coloured all relations between the police and the black community. Stereotypes and racial epithets were part of the standard equipment police used to “control” blacks, whom Cain believes the police saw as “different, separate, incomprehensible. There was, therefore, no good reason for not being violent if the occasion arose.”

1974 – 1976 – Between 1974 and 1976, four “Political and Economic Planning Reports” were published, which outlined the levels of discrimination faced by West Indians and Asians. In conclusions written in the “coldly objective language of the statistician and the scholar,” the reports maintained that most of the two-million people of African heritage in Britain were subjected to discrimination in employment, housing, education, and areas of law enforcement.

1975 – After discovering in 1974 that official statistics charting the emigration of Commonwealth subjects were inaccurate, only the number of immigrants have been recorded after this date.

Late 1970’s – A huge wave of the Jamaican middle-class emigrate to Britain due to governmental unrest in their homeland.

1979 – Another account of police brutality, Police Against Black People, was submitted to the Royal Commission On Criminal Procedure. Again, listeners to the complaints turned “largely deaf ears.” The evidence, taken from “lawyer’s case files, legal and advisory centres, black self-help groups, and personal interviews,”  argued that Britain’s police “no longer merely reflected or reinforced popular morality: they re-create it – through stereotyping the black section of society as muggers and criminals and illegal immigrants.” By the end of the decade, black communities believed that despite the efforts of groups to provide documented proof of police brutality against blacks, few whites had listened. The presence of white people in black neighbourhoods became that of an “army of occupation charged with the task of keeping black people in their place.” Ironically, instead of tightening controls on blacks, “crisis management” tactics and police abuse only solidified the black community, resulting in an increased militancy. By the beginning of the 1980’s black youth swore they were not going to take any more abuse from police officers.

1981 – By 1981, the number of British persons born in the West Indies had increased from 15,000 in 1951 to 172,000 in 1961 t0 304,000 in 1981. At the time,  the total population of persons of West Indian ethnicity was between 500,000 and 550, 000 depending  upon the official source used.

The Education Act of 1981 gave parents the legal foundation to choose which schools their children could attend – local authorities could only resist when there were “clear grounds of economy and efficiency in the overall provision of education in their areas.” This Act paved the way to race-based educational segregation, where white parents removed their children from predominantly black or Asian  schools that didn’t reflect proper “British Culture.”  Read more here…

1985 – A British Home Office study reported that over 70,000 racially-motivated attacks happened in Great Britain yearly.

1988 – The 1988 Education Reform Act, driven by the so-called “market system”, built upon the new freedoms given parents in the 1981 Education Act to chose (within limits) their children’s schools. In the new Act, residual powers still retained local education to affect the distribution of children in schools within their areas, and the ability to prioritize finding to schools in “educationally and socially disadvantaged” areas, were eliminated.

1992 – John Patten, the secretary of state for education, published a White Paper that made it possible for more schools to “opt out” of local education control. This move made local education authorities powerless. Also, they were at the mercy of educational associations or “hit squads of retired headteachers and inspectors” whose purpose was to take over the management of inner-city schools.





Born:  19 December 1934, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies 

Aki Aleong’s career spanned almost 50 years as an actor, singer, writer, producer and activist. Aki has served on the National Boards of Screen Actors Guild and MANAA. He was the National Chair of the EEOC of SAG, a member of the President’s Diversity / Affirmative Action Task Force and the Executive Director of AIM (Asians in Media). He has starred and co-starred in more than 250 television Shows, and over 40 movies.

Aki started his acting career on Broadway in “Teahouse of the August Moon” and “The Interview.” He went on to star in several live television shows. He has worked with Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Roger Moore, Peter Lawford, Tony Randall, ‘Joanne Woodward’, Chuck Norris, Pierce Brosnan and many other notable stars. He has been signed to all three major networks. He also co-starred with Shirley Yamaguchi (a leading actress in Japan) in a film written by Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pearl S. Buck.

Aki has been a record executive/producer/artist. He was Chairman of The Fraternity of Recording Executives (FORE; an organization dedicated to bringing executives of colour into the music business), president of Pan World Records and Golden Dragon Publishing companies. He was the National Director of Promotion for Polydor/Polygram Records, Liberty/UA Records and Capitol Records. He also produced records for Columbia Records, Capitol, Liberty/UA, Artista and other labels. He has also produced videos and documentaries and was the first Asian-American to have a top-100 record on the national charts in the US, which he wrote and produced. He is also the Assistant National Director of R & B Productions. He is also the President of Mustard Seed Entertainment and MANAA (Media Action Network for Asian Americans).



When Alexander Bustamante began to make his presence felt in Jamaica, the country was still a Crown Colony. Under this system, the Governor had, the right to veto at all times, which he very often exercised against the wishes of the majority. Bustamante was quick to realise that the social and economic ills that such a system engendered, had to be countered by mobilisation of the working class.

Pay and working conditions were poor in the 1920s and 1930s. Failing harvests and the lay-off of workers resulted in an influx of unemployed people, moving from the rural areas into the city. This mass migration did little to alleviate the already tremendous unemployment problem. Bustamante first impressed his name on the society with a series of letters to The Gleaner and occasionally to British newspapers, calling attention to the social and economic problems of the poor and underprivileged in Jamaica.

The years 1937 and 1938 brought the outbreak of widespread discontent and social unrest. In advocating the cause of the masses, Bustamante became the undisputed champion of the working class. He also confronted the power of the Colonial Governor, declaring, “Long live the King! But Denham must go.”

During the troublesome days of 1938, the security forces were everywhere eyeball to eyeball with Bustamante and the workers. Labour unrests continued on and off. On September 8, 1940, Bustamante was detained at Up Park Camp, for alleged violation of the Defence of the Realm Act. He was released seventeen months later.

In 1943 he founded the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), with himself as head. The first general election under Universal Adult Suffrage came in 1944 and the JLP won 22 of the 32 seats. Sir Alexander became the first Prime Minister of Independent Jamaica in 1962. He retired from active politics in 1967. He died on August 6, 1977, at the age of 93. Read more about Alexander Bustamante here…

More about Sir Alexander Bustamante here…





ABENG means an animal horn or musical instrument in the Twi language of the Akan people of Ghana. The ABENG has had two historical uses in Jamaica. It was used by slave holders to summon slaves to the sugar fields. It was also used by the Maroon army as a method of communication. The Maroons used the ABENG to communicate with each other during the wars with the British between the 17th to 19th centuries. It is now used during traditional Maroon celebrations and gatherings. 



Carved in the early 16th century in the form of a King’s head, it was worn by the King of Benin because it was white; a colour appropriate to OLOKUN, King of water. It went on to be the symbol used for the 2nd Festival of Arts and Culture which was held in Lagos in 1977.



The BAMBARA is made of an indeterminate composition which includes clay, Beeswax and saliva on a framework of sticks caked in dry blood. The BAMBARA people have a sequence of male initiation cults, and each makes use of the altars such as this, made up of materials of symbolic value. The power of the cult is located on which blood sacrifices are made to generate direct power.



The MABU MASK is for the runner who goes on behalf of the Kwi’fon Society to warn villagers of their approach. The Kwi’fon Society is the most powerful administrative body in Cameroon.



Rebecca J. Cole (March 16, 1846 – August 14, 1922), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second United States African American woman physician and was the first Black woman to graduate from the Woman’s Medical College in Pennsylvania. Rebecca Cole received her secondary education from the Institute for Coloured Youth (ICY – now Cheyney University). She graduated from ICY in 1863. Rebecca Cole received her medical degree from Woman’s Medical College in 1867 (Aside: Women’s Medical College now part of Allegheny University of the Health Sciences). She was appointed as a resident physician at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, which was a hospital owned and operated by women physicians, from 1972-1881. Dr. Rebecca Cole worked with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first white American woman physician to receive a medical degree. Dr. Blackwell assigned Dr. Cole to the post of sanitary visitor, a position in which a travelling physician would visit families in their homes in slum neighbourhoods and instruct them in family hygiene, prenatal and infant care. Read more about her here…

Amy Jacques Garvey (1896-1973), wife of Marcus Garvey, did not derive her legitimacy from the status of her husband. She was a leading Pan-Africanist and Black Nationalist in her own right. Standing by her man through thick and thin, always advancing the cause of black liberation, she played influential roles in the movement as journalist, feminist and race activist. Born in Jamaica, she moved to the USA in 1917 where she encountered the charismatic Marcus Garvey, who was the driving force for the movement instilling race pride and seeking race redemption for people of African descent. The United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) galvanized and energized Black people from Harlem, USA, to Capetown, South Africa. At this time, Marcus Garvey was in his glory, and after 1922, when he married Amy Jacques, they both personified the movement. Read more about her here…

“Queen Mother” Moore (1898-1997), was born Audley Moore in New Iberia, Louisiana, and acquired the appellation “Queen Mother” on her first trip to Ghana, where she attended the funeral of Kwame Nkrumah in 1972. She was in the forefront of the struggle for 77 years. Her family was scarred by virulent racism. Her great-grandmother was raped by her slave master and her grandfather was lynched. Forced to quit school in the fourth grade, she studied to be a hairdresser to take care of her sisters. In the 1920’s, she travelled around the country only to learn that racism was not confined to the South. She finally settled in Harlem where she organized, mobilized and demonstrated against racist oppression and imperialism directed towards Africa and people of African descent. She was locked into perpetual struggle against black oppression at all levels, joining numerous groups and founding a number of her own. Read more about her here…

Hazel Scott (1920 – 1981). Hailing from Port of Spain, Trinidad, under the guidance of her mother Alma; she began playing piano at the age of two. When she became a celebrity in the 1940s, and even when she had her own television show in 1950; movie producers offered African-American actors only stereotypical roles. Long before the civil rights movement made organized protest common for African-Americans to register their desire for equal rights, Hazel Scott, defied racial stereotypes, portraying a positive screen and stage image, thus improving the opportunities for other African-Americans in the entertainment industry. Even for a celebrity of her calibre, Scott, like most African-Americans during the 1950’s, was no stranger to Jim Crow segregation. She, however, acted with dignity while promoting American patriotism and racial integration, and denouncing communism. In short, Scott was an astonishing sultry song stylist who created her own concept of black pride and steadfastly adhered to it. Read more about her here…

Willie Mae Thornton (1926-1984), was an influential African American blues singer and songwriter whose career extended from the 1940s to the early 1980s. She was called “Big Mama” for both her size and her robust, powerful voice. She is best known for her gutsy 1952 rhythm and blues recording of “Hound Dog,” later covered by Elvis Presley, and for her original song “Ball and Chain,” made famous by Janis Joplin. Thornton’s compositions include more than 20 blues songs. Read more about her here…

Urabi Pasha (1842 – 1911), was an Egyptian soldier and politician. He was one of the first Egyptians of indigenous descent to rise to officer rank in the Egyptian army. In the 1870’s, Urabi denounced Anglo-French plans to occupy Egypt. During murderous riots against Christians in Alexandria, British ships bombarded Alexandria and Urabi declared war on Britain. He lost the war in 1882 and was banished to Ceylon, now Sri Lanka; read more about it here…

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 – 1912), was one of Britain’s most outstanding composers. His great composition, ‘HIAWATHA’S WEDDING FEAST’, was the most popular concert music of the time through which he achieved fame and recognition. His concern about the plight of black people in London helped many destitutes. Read more about him here…

C L R James (1901 – 1989), died in Brixton, South London. A writer and political activist, he was a unique figure of the 20th Century. His work in history, politics, literature, sport and aesthetics spans six decades. His books include his classic ‘Beyond a Boundary’, ‘Black Jacobins’and ‘Minty Alley.’  Read more about the legend here…

Dr. Harold Moody was the president of the British Christian Endeavour Union. He was a devout Christian and Physician and was well known for his skill in medicine. Dr. Harold was a native of the West Indies and was also a leader of The League Of Black People in London, England. Read more about Dr. Harold Moody, here…

Alex Haley whose book ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ won international acclaim, published ‘Roots’ , a story of how he traced his family history for nine generations in Africa in 1973. Roots was made into a T.V mini series and was shown worldwide in several languages. Check out his website; here…

Here ends your history lesson for this final issue.


Check out CULTURE CORNER ARCHIVES which is constantly updated here…


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER in the future ’til then remember…

Colour prejudice is at the root of most of the “Oriental incapacity” which bulks so largely in English literature … Anglo-Saxon educational achievement is accounted erudition, while Oriental educational attainments are indiscriminately labelled “educational veneer”, or “a veneer of Western culture”; and this applies not only to Orientals, but to all the coloured races of the world.

Duse Mohamed Ali

(1866 – 1946)

Everyting – Bless

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