Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big Ups to Walter Rodney

Last week I attended one of the Institute of Caribbean Studies' lecture Series dedicated to the life and works of Walter Rodney.  It was titled, From RODNEY to RAGGA; From BLACK Power to GOLD Power: 'Who Will Sort out the Nation?' For those of you who aren't familiar with Walter Rodney he was a renowned activist and scholar during the Black Power Movement in the Caribbean in the late 1960's.  To say it in plain terms the brother was saying and doing things that were unprecedented in that region at that time, all to promote Black liberation.  Guyanese born, Rodney studied in Jamaica at UWI-Mona (whoop whoop!) where he earned a degree in History.  From there, he was awarded a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London at the young age of 24.  His research focused mainly on African slavery.  His most famous and groundbreaking work is How Europe Underdeveloped Africa in which he so wonderfully analyzes Western scholars' publications to refute the white-race ethnocentric approach used by most of these scholars to explain the developing 'backwardness' of Sub-Saharan African countries.

I was so humbled at this gathering.  One thing I'm beginning to love about UWI-Mona is the constant feeling that I am among greatness.  It truly is a privilege to- on a regular basis- interface with elders who not only write about the events and movements of the Caribbean that for so long have inspired me, but who have also lived them, reasoned with, marched beside, and fought with the greats like Walter Rodney, Mortimo Planno, Aime Cesaire and the list goes on.  They send the light.  I receive it with open arms.

One thing that disappointed me a bit by the lecture was the lack of youth present.  This was something addressed by a member of the audience who commented that at these lecture series he rarely sees the youth.  This led to a heated discussion on Jamaica's future.  In this man's opinion Jamaica has got tough times ahead if the country is to depend on a generation 'entranced' by the not-so-forward looking messages of Vybz Kartel and the like.

Anyhoo, being present at the meeting compelled me to write the following letter to the late Walter Rodney.  Yes, he's passed, but he'll get the message.

Dear Brother Rodney,

You were soooooooooooo dope!!

Peace and Love,

Your Daughter in another Life