Mandeville, Jamaica – The Presence of Jessica Mbangeni, Imbongi, Praise Poet, at the fifteenth staging of the Marcus Garvey Fair on Sunday, February 25, 2018 and her stellar performance solidified the cultural and developmental connections with Valerie Dixon, producer of the Marcus Garvey Fair, the Cross Keys High School, Resource and extended tributary communities.
Following the official welcome by Master of Ceremony, Mr Ralph Nelson, Principal of Cross Keys High School, the programme proceeded with an overview of the “Life and Work of Marcus Garvey” written by Professor K’adamawe K’nife (UWI) presented and abridged by Valerie Dixon, Lady President – Universal Negro Improvement Association – African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Professor K’nife quoted Garvey in his overview: “The problems, which Jamaica face, are similar to those of many developing countries and that as Marcus Garvey warned, a country or nation which fails to establish solid commerce and industry, will remain economically dependent and at risk. Without commerce and industry, a people perish economically.”
In her closing statement, the Lady President offered other famous Garvey quotes: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” In 1925, Garvey published “African Fundamentalism” in “The Negro World,” in which he states, “The world today is indebted to us for the benefits of civilization. They stole our arts and sciences from Africa. Then why should we be ashamed of ourselves? Their modern improvements are but duplicates of a grander civilization that we as Black peoples reflected thousands of years ago.”
Diana McIntyre-Pike gave an overview of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) International Year of Community Tourism and Peace in collaboration with Countrystyle/Villages as Businesses, of which she is founder & president. She highlighted the 40th anniversary celebration of Community Tourism which was pioneered in Jamaica. She further declared the culmination of the year’s celebration will showcase a joint Conference & Trade Show in December 2018.
Greetings were presented by the Member of Parliament of South Manchester, Michael Stewart and Councillor Icyval Cherry Brown, from the Grove Town Division. As dusk approached, anticipation built amongst the selected students and teachers, with the Fashion Show assignment, for Ms Mbangeni’s performance.
The Praise Poet returned to the stage, greeted with warm applause and began with Africa’ – Tribute to Nelson Mandela from the Igoli album (Tribute to African Heroes). During this set, she praised Marcus Mosiah Garvey, first Pan African president and Jamaica’s first national hero. It was followed by Busisiwe (Tribute to African Heroines).
Sharon Parris-Chambers, Pan African Federalist Movement, RIC Deputy Coordinator for the Caribbean brought greetings on behalf of the Jamaica National Initiating Committee and presented to Jessica Mbangeni, an Honorary Certificate of Membership in the Jamaica NIC.
Ms Mbangeni was appointed PAFM Ambassador to South Africa in 2017 by Dr Joomaay Faye, Deputy Coordinator IPIC Senegal.
On the heels of the PAFM presentation, Ms McIntyre-Pike already on the stage, preceded to present Ambassador Certificates to Theo Chambers, Sharon Parris-Chambers, Jessica Mbangeni, Valerie Dixon, Joseph Patterson, Janos Beyer and Alvin Dixon from the IIPT Community Tourism Network.
Mr. Joseph Patterson, Founder/President of the YES Foundation, was the keynote speaker. He presented funding opportunities for development and facilitated the official launch of the Community Tourism Fund (COMTRUST).
The South African ethnic Fashion Show was the pièce de résistance performed by Cross Keys High School teachers and students. Their pride and performance catapulted the show into professional proportions rivalled only by the Paris runway. It demonstrated a joint commitment to deliver a creative and memorable fashion show, showcasing the ethnic and diverse traditional wear of South African peoples.
The Fashion Showcase featured Ms Mbangeni’s KwaNtu Afrocentric hand-crafted designs of exquisite beaded jewellery, headpieces, wraps with representations from the following ethnic groups: Ndebele, Zulu, Tsonga, Venda, Swatis, Tswana, Khoi San and Basotho. The evening’s transformation was magical, as the students and teachers became Kings and Queens of the Zulu & Xhosa Kingdoms.
The Fashion Show was moderated by Ms Mbangeni with South African & Reggae background music.
The Cross Keys High School and the Marcus Garvey Fair, amongst other projects, have earned their placement in Ms Mbangeni’s feasibility study to develop sustainable practices for travel, trade and cultural exchange between South Africa and Jamaica. This approach is indeed a reflection of Garvey’s entrepreneurship model for development.