– Even cooperation against COVID is impossible?
While at my own book signing event at the Austin Book Service two Fridays I came across a few village tales in the store. And I had time to renew my academic, historical and practical interest in this category of local history.
You see, having taught in the classroom that I participated, as a teacher-editor-editor – from 1971 in producing quite local educational supplement readers for Forbes Burnham’s foresight to “revolutionize” education for national development. And our earliest publications included coloring books (history), village histories and profiles – some “authored” by young primary students – and some striking wall posters depicting dramatic historical events. From those seventies / eighties I was a convert to our national and community histories. Even producing published cartoon stories featuring Kofi and Quamina.
In Austin’s you’ll find village tales by Eusi Kwayana, who I interviewed for my account of “Bux-ton people stop train” circa 1973/74. Kwayana’s history of Victoria is preceded by the story of William Arno. And there are others. Their presence has inspired my most succinct but pointed appeal below.
More Kwayana / Granger anecdotes, less politics
After schoolboy history, I had the good fortune of having Vere T. Daly teach me Guyanese history for two years in a teacher training program. For those of us immersed in “homeland history” through colonial history books, Daly’s nocturnal interpretations were revelations of true origins and their psychological transgressions. At the same time we found pride, revealed from his research and evidence-based findings and data.
I read Rodney and many others after the Daly foundations. Joel Benjamin even tried to teach me professional research. But unfortunately …
A Lesley Potter- (British Lady?) – produced an insightful, analytical paper on “the settlement patterns of Guyanese Indian and African villages and intergroup relationships (1871-1921)” which caught my attention. But I remembered Kwayana.
For decades, I screamed at the fact that the free slaves (1838) had named their newly founded villages after their British oppressors at one time! It was Kwayana’s story of the free men’s governance system and the acumen of local government, which included exactly why they had chosen Queen Victoria and Buxton. They were strategic in winning over “local” British governors. It didn’t really work but that’s why they didn’t name their new communities after their own African Rebellion Heroes.
Brother Kwayana should conclude with a few more anecdotes. No matter what “politics” he writes these days, for those old enough he will always be the colorful and controversial “Sidney King”. From 1953 PPP minister to GMC Chairman to Champion of Partition before Independence during the Race Riots of the sixties. The late Stanley Cooke taught me that being “ethnic specific” is not meant to be racist. Eusi Very Brother?
In 2017 someone claiming to know informed me that Brigadier Granger does not like to be described as an historian. (He also dislikes Kweh-kweh songs. What !?)
Granger has produced his own stories. His Guyana Review publications were most valuable. His gazettes on coins, periodicals and others are useful records of historical aspects. As with his franchising magazines.
So I plead: Write a comprehensive history of the church, for example, Comrade Granger. Ease off the politics and politics. Thanks in advance Sir.
Hope – and hope for Co-operation
Rev. Nuff Brother Dave Martins. Does hope keep us alive and carry on / carry on. Quite frankly, those of us who never emigrated probably survived on hope. Right here!
But often these days my hope lives on in me. Me myself! I experience opposition spokesmen scolding the new government for flaws in managing the COVID-19 pandemic here. No suggestion of cooperation to fight the common public health enemy. “Indian” names and faces replacing “others.” Hope tends to fade as I wonder if the skills, abilities, intelligence of those who have been made redundant will no longer be available to the nation.
Then my hope suddenly gets reborn on the best side! The Government and opposition of St Lucia have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding “Reclaiming St. Lucia ”to cooperate fully in the battle of that small island against the Corona ho-ho-ho virus!
Spare your thoughts…
● 1) The Belgian Guyana cocaine caper cheated even the American DEA of Georgetown?
● 2) “Hundreds” of Afro Guyanese expired in three (3) months?
● 2b) Ministers Bharrat and Ashni: How about a few goodwill bonuses for us over 65 government pensioners like COVID relief and a “Christmas” gesture?
● 3) So will thousands come to occupy all those new hotel rooms? The casinos?
● 4) Are there other active cricket boards besides the one at Berbice?
● 5) “Authorities”! Upgrade the National Water Center. And also the upgrade and expansion of Parc D’Urban – as originally envisaged. Even if it has to be renamed the “People’s Pleasure Park” – PPP!
`Until next week!