A Lie Dem a Tell Pon Lady Musgrave?

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.

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

Inna 1988, Gleaner publish one story wid dis ya headline: Lady Musgrave Road – born out of hatred and envy’. Di smaddy weh write it name Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe. Dat sound like one name from Liberia. Fi man. Mi no know if Tarpeh-Doe born a Africa or if im born a Jamaica an gi imself dat deh name. Mi know nuff smaddy dash weh dem slave name an tek up African name. Dem a emancipate demself from mental slavery.

PORTRAIT OF SAM SHARPE BY BARRINGTON WATSON

Same like how whole heap a people a lik out gainst di statue dem weh a big up di white people dem weh did try dem best fi tek black people mek slave. Nuff a fi wi long-time people dem did fight hard, hard, hard gainst slavery. Hear weh all Sam Sharpe im did seh: “I would rather die upon yonders [sic] gallows than live my life in slavery, than live a slave.” Mi wonder wat Sam Sharpe real-real African name was. Still for all, im did sharp laka machete fi true.

Anyhow, mi google Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe fi find out a weh im did get dat deh story bout Lady Musgrave. Mi find im pon LinkedIn. Im did work a Gleaner from March 1986 to October 1989. From November 1995 to today, im suppose fi a work wid di Massachusetts Department of Transportation. So mi call dem. Di woman mi talk to seh shi can’t tell mi if im work deh. Mi do understand. Security! So mi aks har, if im work deh, shi fi mek im know wa mek mi a try find im. An mi email im Gleaner article to har. Mi a wait fi hear back.

NATIONAL LIBRARY A SPREAD RUMOUR

DEVON HOUSE

Then all National Library of Jamaica put up di said same bad-mind story bout Lady Musgrave pon fi dem website: “Though unconfirmed, it is believed that Lady Musgrave Road was built at her request to bypass Hope Road and the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel.” Wa mek National Library a spread rumour? Eena dat deh same story, dis a wa mi find out:

“Lady Musgrave founded ‘The Lady Musgrave Self-Help Society’ in 1879 on Church Street. It was the first society of its kind in Jamaica for the encouragement of arts & crafts and their marketing. The Society provided work for people all over the island.” Mi a wonder if a woman weh believe seh Jamaica people fi help wiself wuda grudge one man weh go a foreign fi mek life an come back wid nuff money. Mi done know seh certain people wi help yu fi step up inna life, but dem no want yu fi fly pass dem. Wi no know if Lady Musgrave did bad mind fi true.

Misa Stiebel did all turn custos fi St Andrew. An im wuda entitle fi go a King’s House. Lady Musgrave kuda never get fi her husband fi stop Misa Stiebel from drive eena King’s House eena im big vehicle. An it must sweet her duppy fi see all a di art an craft fair weh keep up a Devon House. Misa Stiebel yard! Lady Musgrave did have vision. Wi fi stop tear her down.

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

Ina 1988, Gleaner poblish wan stuori wid dis ya edlain: ‘Lady Musgrave Road – born out of hatred and envy’. Di smadi we rait it niem Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe. Dat soun laik wan niem fram Laibiiriya. Fi man. Mi no nuo if Tarpeh-Doe baan a Afrika ar if im baan a Jamieka an gi imself dat de niem. Mi nuo nof smadi dash we dem sliev niem an tek op Afrikan niem. Dem a imansipiet demself fram mental slievri.

Siem laik ou uol iip a piipl a lik out gens di statyu dem we a big op di wait piipl dem we did chrai dem bes fi tek blak piipl mek sliev. Nof a fi wi lang-taim piipl dem did fait aad, aad, aad gens slievri. Ier we aal Sam Sharpe im did se: “I would rather die upon yonders [sic] gallows than live my life in slavery, than live a slave”. Mi wonda wat Sam Sharpe riil-riil Afrikan niem woz. Stil far aal, im did shaap laka mashet fi chruu.

Eni ou, mi guugl Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe fi fain out a we im did get dat de stuori bout Lady Musgrave. Mi fain im pan LinkedIn. Im did work a Gleaner fram Maach 1986 tu Aktuoba 1989. Fram Novemba 1995 tu tide im sopuoz fi a work wid di Massachusetts Department of Transportation. So mi kaal dem. Di uman mi taak tu se shi kyaa tel mi if im work de. Mi du andastan. Sikuoriti! So mi aks ar, if im work de, shi fi mek im nuo wa mek mi a chrai fain im. An mi iimiel im Gleaner aatikl tu ar. Mi a wiet fi ier bak.

NATIONAL LIBRARY A SPRED RUUMA

Den aal National Library of Jamaica put op di sed siem bad-main stuori bout Lady Musgrave pan fi dem websait: “Though unconfirmed, it is believed that Lady Musgrave Road was built at her request to bypass Hope Road and the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel”. Wa mek National Library a spred ruuma? Iina dat de siem stuori, dis a wa mi fain out:

“Lady Musgrave founded ‘The Lady Musgrave Self – Help Society’ in 1879 on Church Street. It was the first society of its kind in Jamaica for the encouragement of arts & crafts and their marketing. The Society provided work for people all over the island”. Mi a wonda if a uman we biliiv se Jamieka piipl fi elp wiself wuda groj wan man we go a farin fi mek laif an kom bak wid nof moni. Mi don nuo se sortn piipl wi elp yu fi step op ina laif, bot dem no waan yu fi flai paas dem. Wi no nuo if Lady Musgrave did bad main fi chruu.

Misa Stiebel did aal ton kostos fi St. Andrew. An im wuda entaikl fi go a King’s House. Lady Musgrave kuda neva get fi ar ozban fi stap Misa Stiebel fram jraiv iina King’s House iina im big viikl. An it mos swiit ar dopi fi si aal a di aat an kraaf fier we kip op a Devon House. Misa Stiebel yaad! Lady Musgrave did av vijan. Wi fi stap tier ar dong.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

In 1988, The Gleaner published a report by Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe with this headline, “Lady Musgrave Road – born out of hatred and envy.”   The name sounds Liberian and male. I don’t know if Tarpeh-Doe was born in Africa or in Jamaica and gave himself that name.  I know lots of people who have rejected their slave names and chosen African names.  They are emancipating themselves from mental slavery.

It’s the same way that a whole host of people are hitting out against those statues of white people who tried their best to turn black people into slaves. A lot of our ancestors fought vigorously against slavery.  This is what Sam Sharpe said:  “I would rather die upon yonders [sic] gallows than live my life in slavery, than live a slave”. I wonder what Sam Sharpe’s original African name would have been. All the same, he really was as sharp as a machete.

Anyhow, I googled Nyenpan Tarpeh-Doe to find out where he got that story about Lady Musgrave.  I found him on LinkedIn.  He worked for The Gleaner from March 1986 to October 1989. He’s supposed to be currently working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, since November 1995. So I called.  The woman I spoke with said she couldn’t confirm that he worked there.   I did understand.  It’s a matter of security!  So I asked her to let him know why I was trying to get in touch, if he does work there. And I emailed his Gleaner article to her.  I’m waiting to hear back.

NATIONAL LIBRARY SPREADING RUMOURS

Then even the National Library of Jamaica has posted on their website the same malicious story about Lady Musgrave:  “Though unconfirmed, it is believed that Lady Musgrave Road was built at her request to bypass Hope Road and the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel”. Why is the National Library spreading rumours? In that same post, this is what I found out:

“Lady Musgrave founded ‘The Lady Musgrave Self – Help Society’ in 1879 on Church Street. It was the first society of its kind in Jamaica for the encouragement of arts & crafts and their marketing. The Society provided work for people all over the island”.  I wonder if a woman who believed that Jamaicans should help ourselves would begrudge a man who went abroad to seek his fortune and returned quite wealthy. I do know there are people who will help you to advance in life but they don’t want you to surpass them. But we don’t know for sure that Lady Musgrave was like that.

PORTRAIT OF GEORGE STIEBEL BY PHILLIP THOMAS

Mr Stiebel even became the custos of St. Andrew.  And he would have been entitled to visit King’s House. Lady Musgrave couldn’t have gotten her husband to stop Mr Stiebel from driving into King’s House in his grand carriage. And it must please her spirit to see all the art and craft fairs that are held at Devon House.  Mr Stiebel’s grounds! Lady Musgrave had vision.  We should stop tearing her down.

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