Calling all Rastafari Scribes
May 26, 2001
Rasta Board / Rastafari Speaks
By FARIKA BERHANE (email@example.com)
Greetings in the name of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie 1 and Her Imperial Majesty Empress Menen.
I am a Rastafari scribe. I have been writing since childhood and I am now in my sixties. I have a lot of information and isights that I wish to pass on to the coming generation. I see this as the main contribution that I can give as an elder mother within the Rastafari congregation.
I have a collective of over one hundred poems on the Rastafari way of life. These were ispired by reasoning with elders in the congregation, messages from the Almighty and his igels, and from ancestral voices who have trod iration over the ages. Many of these are matched with relevant ible quotations. I share these works with youths and others in many states in the USA and would ilike to share to the world wide movement of freedom. I have a book of poetry enetitled "Sing I a Song of Black Freedom," which is an abeng-binghi collection as I do works with the Maroon people also.
During the sixties I participated in two ground-breaking activities that affected the history of the island. I assisted with the student takeover of the Creative Arts centre of the Univesity of the West Indies and was community representative during the negotiations that followed between university administrators and students. I was the typesetter for the "Abeng" newspaper and the anchor person in that organization ie, the person who liasoned with all memebers and kept the offices open. I worked closely with Dr. Robert Hill during that time. I was the first paid member of the "Abeng" group until Hill got himself on the payroll. I quit typesetting the newspaper and being anchor person then as the money was not enough for us to share. I returned to working with the Jamaica INformation Serivce and was the Public Information Officer in charge odisseminating information for the change over of the island's currency from sterling to dollar.
In 1974 I attended the 6th Pan African Congress as a journalist to record events for the Pan African Secretariat, Jamaica. I was seated as a delegate to the congress on my arrival, much to my surprise. As I had not come with an agenda, I used my delegate status to allow US Africans to speak in the Congress as they had been unseated as delegates and were only granted observer status due to the infighiting they went to Africa with and their great numbers!!! The Tanzanian Government paid for my hotel expenses and gave me a chauffeur to drive me around. I shared my car with the US representatives who had not been athis privilege as they had no delegate status.
I am now the only surviving delegate from the Pan AFrican Secretariaot, Jamaica as the other two members have died. I have an archive of information on the Oan African struggle that I am willing to share with members of the faith so they do no reinvent the wheel. My documents are archived in Moorland Springarn Research Library at Howard University because I lost many of them while travelling around and some were also stolen by persons greedy for power and the information that would allow them to gain same.
My presence in the USA is a direct result of having attended 6th PAC and being seated as a delegate. My presence in the Maroon communities is a direct result of my needing protection form harrassment from th Jamaican Government and the Accompomg Maroons providing same in return for my assisting them to gain a voice in modern affairs and development programs that do not compromise their status.
My work in the Nyahbinghi Order in Jamaica has made me an exile in the USA and disrupted my career as a writer of prose. It has forwarded my work as a poet and learnalist. I now wish to share years of expertise in the art of media writing and Public Relations wit those willing to learn of same.
The final act that I did in Jamaica with regards to Rastafari empowerment was to arrange for the elders of the Nyahbinghi HOuse to be released form detention when they were detained illegally in 1976 under the state of Emergency !!! At this time my son Marcus GArvey Burrowes cannot obtain a birth certificate from Jamaica although he is here in the USA permananetly and had a birth certificate in the past. I regard this as a continuation of the pattern of harrassment I and my children have experienced at the hand of officials in the island because of the work that I do and have done for the movement. I have received no help or recognition from the leading "Rastafari" engertainers in the island but much yanks from the grass roots. Many of the entertianers know I personally and I have to watch out as they milk me of ideas, put them in songs, and do nothing to help.