Di ancestor dem a bawl

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.


imagesLast week Sunday, mi go a Stony Gut fi tek part eena di march go down a Morant Bay. Nuff a wi deh deh fi celebrate wa Paul Bogle do 150 year aback, pon October 11, fi lead im people dem outa sufferation. Governor Eyre kill dem off. An wi naah figet. African people teach wi seh, yu no dead, dead, dead so till nobody no member yu. An wi naah stop member fi wi warrior dem. Man an woman!

To tell di truth, mi never directly walk from Stony Gut to Morant Bay. Mi left town late, so by di time mi ketch pon di Stony Gut road, march left out already. Wen mi a go up, dem a come down. So mi wait till dem pass an mi go a Stony Gut fi see weh Paul Bogle did live. An mi drive back down eena motorcade, backa di marcher dem. One long line a vehicle.

Irie FM eena di motorcade a broadcast all wa a gwaan. Dem carry dem ‘Running African’ programme outa road. Mi seh, mi ha fi big up Kabu Ma’at Kheru. Andrea Williams Green change her name fi suit her livity. A 25 year now she a run ‘Running African’. It come een like church fi nuff a wi. Every Sunday morning wi ha fi tune een six o’clock fi hear wa a gwaan eena Africa – pon di continent an all over di world. It no easy fi keep up one radio programme fi so long. Respect due to Kabu!


Lickle before wi ketch pon di main road, rain start fall. Big rain. Di marcher dem wet up. Dat nah stop dem. Dem gwaan same way. An pon di radio, mi hear Prof Verene Shepherd seh, di rain a di tears a di ancestor dem. A true. Di ancestor dem a bawl. Fi joy an sorrow. Dem glad wi member dem. But dem sorry fi dem backward one dem weh no waan look back fi true. Dem dis waan move on an figet bout wa gwaan long time aback. Dem no business wid no talk bout reparation. Dem no waan fix up wa mash up.

Prof Shepherd a di chair fi di National Commission on Reparation fi 2012-2015. An a di Commission sponsor di IRIE FM outside broadcast. Next week Sunday, wi a go back a Morant Bay fi ‘The Trial Of Governor Eyre’. Dat a one play weh Bert Samuels write. Im a one lawyer an im deh pon di National Commission on Reparation. An a Michael Holgate direct di play. Im teach a University of the West Indies, Mona.

If unu cyaahn come a Morant Bay, unu cyan ketch di trial pon IRIE FM. It a go start eight o’clock a morning. An a di National Commission on Reparation a sponsor di play an di broadcast. Dem a do nuff work fi mek wi know bout reparation. But wi cyaahn siddung a wait pon Commission fi do evriting. Wi ha fi help wiself.

Wi ha fi send letter go a newspaper. Wi ha fi call radio station an mek di case fi reparation. Wi ha fi aks Govament an Opposition weh dem a seh an do bout di issue. Wi ha fi put reparation pon di election agenda. Wi naah vote fi who naah vote fi wi. An wi ha fi tell CARICOM fi send off di letter weh dem a siddung pon fi demands reparation. An wi ha fi go a British High Commission go demonstrate. Mek dem know seh wi know seh a fi wi people dem shoulda get reparation eena 1834. No fi dem. Wi naah joke. Time fi seckle di score.


Laas wiik Sonde, mi go a Stony Gut fi tek paat iina di maach go dong a Morant Bay. Nof a wi de de fi selibriet wa Paul Bogle du, 150 ier abak, pan October 11, fi liid im piipl dem outa sofarieshan. Govana Eyre kil dem aaf. An wi naa figet. Afrikan piipl tiich wi se, yu no ded, ded, ded so til nobadi no memba yu. An wi naa stap memba fi wi wariya dem. Man an uman!

jFJ0_rIRTu tel di chruut, mi neva dairekli waak fram Stony Gut tu Morant Bay. Mi lef toun liet, so bai di taim mi kech pan di Stony Gut ruod, maach lef out aredi. Wen mi a go op, dem a kom dong. So mi wiet til dem paas an mi go a Stony Gut fi si we Paul Bogle did liv. An mi jraiv bak dong iina muotakied, baka di maacha dem. Wan lang lain a viikl.

Irie FM iina di muotakied a braadkyaas aal wa a gwaahn. Dem kyari dem ‘Running African’ pruogram outa ruod. Mi se, mi a fi big op Kabu Ma’at Kheru. Andrea Williams Green chienj ar niem fi suut ar liviti. A 25 ier nou shi a ron ‘Running African’. It kom iin laik chorch fi nof a wi. Evri Sonde maanin wi a fi chuun iin 6 a’klak fi ier wa a gwaahn iina Afrika – pan di kantinent an aal uova di worl. It no iizi fi kip op wan riedyo pruogram fi so lang. Rispek juu tu Kabu!


Likl bifuor wi kech pan di mien ruod, rien staat faal. Big rien. Di maacha dem wet op. Dat naa stap dem. Dem gwaahn siem wie. An pan di riedyo, mi ier Prof Verene Shepherd se, di rien a di tiirz a di ansesta dem. A true. Di ansesta dem a baal. Fi jai an saro. Dem glad wi memba dem. Bot dem sari fi dem bakwod wan dem we no waahn luk bak fi chruu. Dem dis waahn muov aan an figet bout wa gwaahn lang taim abak. Dem no bizniz wid no taak bout riparieshan. Dem no waahn fiks op wa mash op.

Prof. Shepherd a di chier fi di National Commission on Reparation fi 2012-2015. An a di Commission spansa di IRIE FM outsaid braadkyaas. Neks wiik Sonde, wi a go bak a Morant Bay fi ‘The Trial Of Governor Eyre’. Dat a wan plie we Bert Samuels rait. Im a wan laaya an im de pan di National Commission on Reparation. An a Michael Holgate direk di plie. Im tiich a University of the West Indies, Mona.

If unu kyaahn kom a Morant Bay, unu kyan kech di chraiyal pan IRIE FM. It a go staat 8 a’klak a maanin. An a di National Commission on Reparation a spansa di plie an di braadkyaas. Dem a du nof wok fi mek wi nuo bout riparieshan. Bot wi kyaan sidong a wiet pan Commmission fi du evriting. Wi a fi elp wiself.

Wi a fi sen leta gaa nyuuzpiepa. Wi a fi kaal riedyo stieshan an mek di kies fi riparieshan. Wi a fi aks Govament an Apazishan we dem a se an du bout di ishyu. Wi a fi put riparieshan pan di ilekshan agenda. Wi naa vuot fi uu naa vuot fi wi. An wi a fi tel CARICOM fi sen aaf di leta we dem a sidong pan fi dimaans riparieshan. An wi a fi go a British High Commission go demanstriet. Mek dem nuo se wi nuo se a fi wi piiipl dem shuda get ripariershan iina 1834. No fi dem. Wi naa juok. Taim fi sekl di skuor.



Last week Sunday, I went to Stony Gut to take part in the march down to Morant Bay. Lots of us were there to celebrate what Paul Bogle did 150 years ago, on October 11, to lead his people out of prolonged suffering. Governor Eyre executed them. And we’ll never forget. African wisdom teaches us that you never truly die until no one remembers you. And we will always remember our warriors. Men and women!


Kabu Ma’at Kheru

To tell the truth, I didn’t actually walk from Stony Gut to Morant Bay. I left town late, so by the time I got on the Stony Gut road, the marchers had already set off.  I was on my way up as they were coming down. So I waited until they passed and then went to  Stony Gut to see where Paul Bogle lived. And I drove back down in a motorcade, behind the marchers. A long line of vehicles.

Irie FM was in the motorcade broadcasting the event. They took their ‘Running African’ programme on the road. I tell you, I have to big up Kabu Ma’at Kheru. Andrea Williams Green has changed her name to reflect her way of life.  It’s now 25 years that she’s been running ‘Running African’. It’s like church for lots of us. Every Sunday morning we have to tune in at  six o’clock to hear what’s going on in Africa – on the continent and all over the world. It’s not easy to keep a radio programme going for so long. Respect is due to Kabu!


Just before we got to the main road, it started to rain.  A lot of rain. The marchers were drenched. That didn’t stop them. They just kept going. And on the radio, I heard Prof Verene Shepherd say, the rain is the tears of the ancestors. It’s true. The ancestors weeping. For joy and sorrow. They’re glad we remember them. But they are sorry for those backward ones who don’t want to look back in truth. They just want to move on and forget about what happened a long time ago. They can’t be bothered with any talk bout reparations. They don’t want to repair what has been damaged.

Prof Shepherd is the chair of the National Commission on Reparation for 2012-2015. And it’s the Commission that sponsored the IRIE FM outside broadcast. Next Sunday, we’re going back to Morant Bay for ‘The Trial Of Governor Eyre’. That’s a play written by Bert Samuels. He’s a lawyer and he’s on the National Commission on Reparation. And it’s Michael Holgate who’s directing the play. He teaches at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

If you can’t come to Morant Bay, you can catch the trial on IRIE FM. It’s going to start at eight o’clock in the morning. And it’s the National Commission on Reparation that’s sponsoring the play and the broadcast. They are doing a lots of work to educate us about reparation. But we can’t just sit back and wait on Commission to do everything. We have to help ourselves.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-01-at-8.09.23-PM-942x600We have to send letters to the newspapers. We have to call in to the radio stations and make the case for reparation. We have to ask the Govenment andOpposition what they are saying and doing about thei issue. We have to put reparation on the election agenda. We are not going to vote for those who are not voting forusi. And we have to tell CARICOM to send off the letter they’ve been sitting on, demanding reparation. And we have to go and demonstrate at the British High Commission.  We have to let them know that we know that it is our people who should have gotten reparation in 1834.  Not theirs.  We’re dead serious. It’s time to settle the score.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s