As long as you're a black man
You're an African
No mind your nationality
You have got the identity of an African
Lyrics to African
Sung by Peter Tosh
A couple of weeks ago, a participant in the workshop that I co-facilitated was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was Jamaican. He actually didn't believe until I showed him my passport. He wanted to know what Jamaica was like and that led into a whole discussion about home. We talked a bit about similarities and differences between the island and the country in which I now lived - culture, people, food, beliefs etc. Somewhere during the conversation he then made the comment ' yeah, but you Jamaicans are Africans'.
I started to correct him, ready to defend my nationality and proudly state that I am Jamaican and not African (or Ghanaian) and then I remembered a recent article I had read. The writer was using the Jamaican and the African population in the UK (I think it was in London in particular) to make the point that despite all the similarities in culture and colour and of course the history of slavery, Jamaicans were if any thing anti-Africans and in fact looked down on African (as a continent). While I think her examples were a bit extreme - but yes, recognizable - I had to agree that most Jamaicans really don't and can't identify with Africa as a continent or with the individual countries. Perhaps only the Rastafarian are the exception and even their expectations seem oftentimes misguided - at least based on what I saw in Shashemane).
It's really sad when you think of it. Got this article today from a friend of mine and thought I should share. It is written by Dianne Abbot who writes for one of the Jamaican daily papers, the Jamaican Observer (link to article). Gives food for thought both ways I guess. Afterall, should it really matter where someone is from at the end of the day?
The Lure Brand
His family are academics, they moved to
Wrestling promoters were worried that the average wrestling fan would have no idea where
Complete with new name, Kofi Kingston debuted as a professional wrestler in 2005. His promoter dubbed him the "Jamaican Sensation". He claimed to have adopted his new surname in honour of his hometown. And he made a point of emphasising his Caribbean persona: the front of the jacket that he wore into the ring was emblazoned with the Jamaican flag; he gave his favourite wrestling moves Jamaican names like "Cool Runnings"; he posed with the Jamaican flag; he adopted a Damian Marley song as his entrance music; he was photographed on tropical beaches and was described by his promoters as a "tropical superstar hailing from the tropical climate of the Caribbean Sea".
His bogus Jamaican identity was not merely a matter of saying that he was from a country that Americans had actually heard of. It boosted his popularity, particularly in
In it he described
Everything seemed to be going well, but Kofi reckoned without his proud Ghanaian mother. She complained, "Kofi, your cousins watch you on TV in
Kofi is not the first black person to pretend he is from
Kofi Kingston's change of name and nationality may have helped him to become a wrestling star but some of his friends back in