Category Archives: Africa

Rituals of grief

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 26, 2022

“The glories of our blood and state, Are shadows, not substantial things; There is no armour against fate, Death lays his icy hands on kings. Sceptre and crown must tumble down, And, in the dust, be equal made with the poor crooked scythe and spade.”

—James Shirley

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI didn’t expect to spend so much time looking at the funeral of Elizabeth II. I was intrigued by the spectacle made of death (a display put on for its visual effect and impact) and the ritual of grief (a solemn ceremony performed according to a prescribed order) that was enacted before millions of people.

It took 20 years of planning to stage this event. It was the responsibility of Edward Fitzalan-Howard, who inherited the role of Earl Marshal of England when his father died in 2002. He “descended from the same family that has planned royal funerals and coronations since 1672”. He takes his responsibility seriously. He did not earn a cent for the tireless work he did for the Queen’s funeral.
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Deluded Children of Empire

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 19, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn a sunny day in February of 1952 I was an eight-year-old schoolboy made to attend a memorial service for King George VI, the father of the late Elizabeth II. On that day I remembered the “Taps” played by the Police Band or the Tacarigua Orphan Home Band, as the bugles rattled through the bamboos on the banks of the Tacarigua River that flowed on the western side of the church.
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Getting world history right: real African history

By Dr Kwame Nantambu
June 27, 2022

Dr. Kwame NantambuYears after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2011 as “The International Year for People of African Descent”, it must be realized that the European enslavement of African people or the “MAAFA” (“great disaster”) only represents .01 per cent of the history of African people on this planet. Put another way, for the 99.9 per cent of their history, Africans were a free people.
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The Slave Bible

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 18, 2022

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1970 while I was a faculty member at Fordham University, New York, I taught a course on the development of Afro-American literature. One of the books I used was William Wells Brown, Clotel or the President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States, published in England in 1853.

The novel told the story of Clotel, a daughter of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, who fathered three children by his slave, Sally Hemmings. Although the white power structure denied this incident for two centuries, in November 1998 the truth of this claim was authenticated by DNA evidence.
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Suffer the little children

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 27, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMy mother, Carmen Cudjoe (nee Batson), was born in Belmont in 1909. After spending her childhood years there, she moved to San Juan where she met my dad, married him, and moved to Tacarigua. Although my mother attended only primary school, she read constantly and wrote with eloquence and grace. In Tacarigua she was the secretary of most of the voluntary organisations there, such as the Garden Club and the Village Council.
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GLORIOUS DAYS OF THE HAPPY AND THE FREE

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 09, 2021

PART II

“Pas de six ans, Point de six ans!” (“No to Six Years. No more six years!”)

—The chant of the ex-slaves on Emancipation Day

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMore apprentices came to Government House on Saturday, August 2, to assert their freedom. There was “a visible increase of insolence in the behaviour of the Negroes. The muster around Government House continued, and His Excellency again attempted to persuade them to return to their work, but his efforts were fruitless. They first laughed at, and then hooted [we would say heckled] him” (PoS Gazette, August 5, 1834).
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Kamla Persad Bissessar’s Emancipation Day Statement

By Kamla Persad Bissessar
Opposition Leader and Leader of the UNC Party
August 01, 2021 – Facebook

Kamla Persad-BissessarToday our nation celebrates Emancipation Day, a day that marks the abolition of the vile practice of chattel slavery. It is a day for both celebration of the liberation of enslaved Africans and an opportunity to reflect on, and learn from, the lessons of this dark period in our history.

The enslavement of Africans throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, is perhaps the greatest crime against humanity in the history of mankind.
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Dr Keith Rowley’s Emancipation Day Statement

By Dr Keith Rowley
Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago
August 01, 2021 – Facebook

PM Dr Keith RowleyHappy Emancipation Day to all the people of Trinidad and Tobago, from the Government, my own family and myself on the occasion of Emancipation Day 2021.

Today, we recognise not just the horrific experience of our African ancestors – but the impact it continues to have on the lives of millions of their descendants.
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PNM: Avoiding the Pitfall of Decline

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 19, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTwo weeks ago South Africa’s Constitutional Court sentenced Jacob Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court. He refused to appear at a government enquiry committee that was looking into the corruption that took place during his nine-year rule. The party (ANC) began to run the state as though it was just another arm of the party, and therein lay its downfall.
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