The Significance of African Heritage in Trinidad and Tobago

A Lecture by Maureen Warner-Lewis

Wednesday March 7th 2007

Time: 7pm

Venue: National Library, Port of Spain

AfricansBio: Born in Tobago, Warner-Lewis grew up in Trinidad where she received her early education. In 1962, she won a Trinidad and Tobago Scholarship to study English Literature at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. In 1970 she returned to Jamaica to lecture at the Univeristy of the West Indies and dedicated her life to studying the connections between Central Africa and the Caribbean that were forged through slavery.

She is the author of:

Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time, Transforming Cultures

Guinea’s Other Suns: The African Dynamic in Trinidad Culture

Trinidad Yoruba: From Mother Tongue To Memory

Abstract of Lecture

Caribbean societies inherit the legacy of unpaid and paid labour contributed by Africans in constructing the physical infrastructure on these islands, as well as through subsistence and commercial agriculture and fishery.

African influence is also apparent in several crops and food types used in the past and in the present, in musical rhythms, in traditional and innovative musical instrumentation, in dance motifs, in song structures, as well as in the grammar, idioms, and vocabulary of the languages developed in the Caribbean. Concepts of the interaction between the human and spirit worlds and the maintenance of some African religious rituals are among aspects of the African heritage still apparent.

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