Category: Articles

A GLANCE AT THE CHINESE CULTURE IN JAMAICA

The first group of migrant Chinese arrived in Jamaica on July 30, 1854 aboard on the ship Epsom. The ship had journeyed from Hong Kong to Kingston with 267 Chinese immigrants. Initially working as small farmers and more significantly as retail traders, they began to enjoy levels of success by…

Tribute to Miss Beverly Hamilton, Garveyite and Historian

Ms. Beverly Hamilton, who died on July 17, 2013, spent her life as a freelance journalist, civil servant and a Garvey scholar. She specialised in investigating the cultural initiatives of the Garvey movement in Jamaica in the 1930s and its impact on the island’s cultural development. No one else knew…

African Masks and their Significance in the West African Culture

Plants & Herbs

  In West African society masks play important spiritual and functional roles.  The rituals related to ceremonial masks are critical aspects of traditional culture and art in West Africa. As communities sought guidance from their spirit ancestors to control the forces of good and evil, masks were worn for protection during religious and…

An Overview on the Afro-Jamaican Trickster

In Jamaica, the character of Anancy has the reputation of being a trickster or “jinnal”, a character who uses his wits to outsmart others to further his own agenda. The Anancy character is typically depicted as a spider and is usually featured in local folk tales and children’s stories. The…

Institute of Jamaica’s Labour Day Project 2013

St. Michael’s Primary School was chosen as the Institute of Jamaica’s Labour Day project for 2013.  The Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) Outreach Officers’ Committee coordinated and executed the Labour Day initiative. Members of the IOJ Outreach Officers’ Committee included – Tracy Commock (Director, Natural History Museum of Jamaica), Patrice Russell…

Dr. the Hon. Olive Lewin: One of Jamaica’s Most Prominent Cultural Icons

On April 10, 2013, the eyes of one of Jamaica’s well renowned author, social anthropologist, musicologist, teacher, actress, folk researcher closed. The daughter of Sylvia and Richard Lewin, educators’ Olive Willhelmina Mahoney Lewin was born in the parish of Clarendon in a district called Vere, on September 27, 1927. She…

Notes on the Supernatural Beliefs and Practices associated with Obeah in Jamaica

Obeah, also known as obi, obayi, obia or obea, is an Afro-Caribbean supernatural religious belief system introduced by enslaved Africans on the plantations of Belize, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guyana and Barbados in the early years of the 17th century. Obeah is also known by its alternate names of guzzum,…

In Memory of the late Dr. the Hon. Olive Lewin.

Olive Lewin, Musicologist, founded the Jamaica Memory Bank to house the storehouse of interviews she had conducted islandwide with traditional knowledge holders. The Jamaica Memory Bank was merged with the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica in 1990. Her pioneering work has ensured that endangered forms such as Gerreh, Ettu, Kumina,…

AN INSIGHT ON THE EAST INDIANS’ CONNECTIONS TO JAMAICAN CULTURE

The East Indian indenture system was introduced in the Caribbean to offset the labour challenges created on plantations after Emancipation. The contractual arrangement outlined that after indentured immigrants had worked for a period of five years, they were given the option of a parcel of land and the freedom to…

Chinua Achebe: Remembered

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist seen by millions as the father of African literature, has died at the age of 82. African papers were reporting his death following an illness and hospital stay in Boston this morning, and both his agent and his publisher later confirmed the news to the Guardian. Simon…