Manchioneal, Portland, December 10, 2018. Mama Africa Arise & Unite, a community development program and cultural showcase was recently staged on November 24, 2018 at Di Atlantic Entertainment Centre in Manchioneal, Portland, Jamaica. The Theme, “One Perfect Love” forms the foundation of its mission to facilitate community development and empower communities, with a special focus on youth and girls.
On hand were community persons, eager number of students from local all age schools, musicians, members of Rastafari houses and visitors bringing greetings from St. Thomas, St. Ann, Kensington, Kingston and surrounding environs. Brother Heru Ishakamusa Menelik JP, High Commissioner UNIA & ACL President Division 439 and President for Marcus Garvey People's Political Party gave a passionate speech and history on Marcus Garvey while Jerry Smalls, Social Historian, captured the event on video. The professional delivery of the programme was noted by Mr. Cordinal Beckford, Special Assistant, to Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Member of Parliament and Opposition Spokesman on Agriculture, Land & Rural Development.
Having spent the last four months doing the research, accessing and building the social & human capital of communities in Portland and St. Thomas, Elissa Issachar, founder of this initiative was rewarded with the following commendation from Mayor and Councillor, Paul Thompson “This Mama Africa Arise & Unite project is fully endorsed by the Portland Municipal Corporation as a good move, which has the potential to increase the consciousness of our citizens about their history and their roots through exposure to African cultural expressions…It is projects like these which will help create the development of the social capital needed at the community level to enhance the national development process.”
The Mayor recalled a Jamaica of yesteryear where peace, love and respect abounded. Today “love is missing” he said and we need to “get love in the hearts of the youth. We need Jah to take us out of these problems.” The Rastafari message and Livity of ‘One Love’ brings the Father down to earth as we awaken the Divinity within each one of us. The Mayor called for divine intervention by invoking a song by Berris Hammond “Come down Father”. The vision of Mama Africa Arise & Unite of uniting Africans to Rise in Liberation, Self-Reliance, Peace, Truth and Love will find its way into Jamaica’s schools and communities to help bring about a kinder and gentler Jamaica, that is more culturally and historically aware of its roots. To bring the message home, Mayor Thompson recited a quote by Mwalimu Marcus Mosiah Garvey, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Speakers included Oronde McNish, CEO, Makabee Enterprise, a family-owned beekeeping business, that cultivates value added products: honey wine, honey vinegar, body butter oil etc. Stoneman of Culture Yard, Trench Town, motivated the audience with nature’s stones & minerals (Themes included: Bob Marley, Footprints in the Sand, etc.)
Dr. Fenton Ferguson, Member of Parliament from Eastern St. Thomas was represented by the very able Cordinal Beckford, Special Assistant, who shared a message of full support. He came, saw, observed and stayed for the opening ceremony that awakened in his consciousness new respect for the Rastafari culture. Beckford said “I have never witnessed this kind of celebration, but having waited, I feel good to share the holy sacrament with you. My history tells me that your religion or practice suffered long and hard during the Coral Gardens event. I am now happy to be a part of your ceremony this morning, to see the cold pot, the drum, to see the real thing that the Rastaman is sending out that mystic vibration and I am happy for it and glad to be in your midst.” He said further “Dr. Ferguson is aware that you have been in this constituency doing some work with the brethren and sistren in the community and he wants to encourage you that he will be on board to give you the necessary support.” Mr. Beckford closed his presentation with a sacred quote by Sharon Parris-Chambers: “I pledge to Love, Trust, and Respect myself, my country and others. In so doing, I heal myself, my country and the world with One Love, one heart at a time.” At the end of his presentation, Mr. Beckford informed the group that Dr. Ferguson pledged J$50,000.
Founder, Elissa Issachar in her opening presentation said “The programme has registered a series of projects for development, for example: The Manchioneal Fisherfolks Benevolent Society first Bathroom infrastructure, Manchioneal Community Center Renovation to aid Manchioneal Football Association and Manchioneal Police Youth Club. The Restoration of the RZION Tabernacle in Johnson Mountain, St. Thomas, Trophies for Bath Community Center Football Association Upcoming League. Some of the School Projects are: fencing for Johnson Mountain Primary School, lighting for Johnson Mountain Infant School, musical instruments for Boundbrook Infant School and Fair Prospect High in Portland.”
Special thanks to the indigenous groups and all artists that supported the event. Some of which are: Prophecy, Natty King, Nicky Silk, Dvoice, Literal & Spotless. Mr. Derby, director of the Manchioneal Cultural group, caused great excitement due to the group’s excellent performance which left the audience wanting more.
Media sponsors on hand were also greatly appreciated: Stteppin Out Loud TV, Stylz FM, Television Jamaica, Black Wave Radio, Caribnewsroom and other media who pledged their support.
Children played games on the expansive property while they waited for the Bounce About to arrive. Soon long lines formed and their joyful laughter abounded all around. Engaging, guiding and protecting the children is very important as our future is in their hands. We are reminded of the words of Kay Redfield Jamison “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”
Lf. to Rt. Elissa Issachar, Founder Mama Africa Arise & Unite, Portland Mayor Paul Thompson and Sharon Oshun Parris-Chambers, PR Consultant & Author
Mama Africa Arise & Unite