Celebrating achievements


February 24, 2016

Yow, friends and peoples, how is the midweek vibe with you? Me, I'm in a 'beat-chest-and-shout-out-hooray' kinda mood right now, mi nah lie.

Yeah man, beat-chest-and-shout-out-hooray is a necessary thing sometimes, yuh know! Fi real! And it should be more than just respectfully allowed, sometimes it should in fact be actively encouraged.

I know that many of my fellow Jamaicans, who are of the political tribalism mentality, are getting ready to beat chest [and drum and dutch pot] and blow vuvuzela in celebration if their party wins the election tomorrow.

In fact, some of them might even beat on their opponents if the votes don't go as they expect. I'm not focusing on them now, anyway. I'm just indulging my current 'beat-chest-and-shout-hooray' vibe which is actually a spillover from last Friday.

Yes, folks, last Friday I proudly performed duties as chairman for an event featuring Dr Adwoa Onuora, who my brother Ity has aptly dubbed our 'bright cousin'.

Our bright cousin is the girl with firm roots in Trench Town, who grew up on Maxfield Avenue, and went on to earn an Honours Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) in African studies and criminology from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts in critical race and anti-racism studies in education and a PhD from the Ontario Institute for studies in education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).


She is a lecturer in the Institute for Gender and Development Studies Unit, UWI, Mona. The event was the launch of her exciting new book, Anansesem: Telling Stories and Storytelling African Maternal Pedagogies.

You should get a copy. The book is described as "a composite story on African Canadian mothers' experiences of teaching and learning while mothering" and one which "seeks to celebrate the African mother's everyday experiences and honour her embodied and cultural knowledge as important sites of meaning and discovery for the African child."

And, it's not all heavy academic stuff, I've personally read it. I find the stories quite telling and the storytelling compelling. As Joan Grant Cummings asserted in a Facebook post, "Anansesem needs to be included in our regional parenting/family life education. It is timely as we are in the decade for people of African descent.

The affirming of who we are, as depicted through our cultural knowledge base, and results in our ability and capacity to thrive, create, grow, and achieve our hopes and dreams."

Yeah peeps, like her mom and my first cousin, Winsome Budhai, I'm proudly beating chest and shouting hooray for Dr Onuora, who has taught and published on critical pedagogy and educational transformation, de-colonising practices and indigenous epistemologies, the intersection and impact of gender, sexuality/sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, class, abilities, and culture on women's lived experiences.


I'm proud of her, especially because she is not one of those stuck-up, stuffed-shirt academic types who mainly use their scholastic achievement to separate and rate themselves as better than everyone else. She is a compassionate and serious public intellectual who applies her intellect toward activism and advocacy.

She is a genuine public intellect who's passionate about valuing women's unpaid labour and supporting workers' rights. She's committed to the broader working-class struggle, dedicated to the cause of gender equity and fiercely dedicated to challenging the various systems of oppression

Toronto-based academic, activist and writer Dr Ajamu Nangwaya defines a public intellectual as someone who is engaged in the process of using her/his knowledge to engage the public, challenge ideas of the powers that be or the notions that preserve conservative ideas, bring knowledge to the public square and uncover the oppressive features of society, etc. Based on that description, I think my bright cousin definitely fit the bill.

And anybody who disagree have time fi chuck off still! Yeah, tomorrow I may go out to vote - for who, I don't even know. I know who I'm beating my chest and shouting hooray for, though.

Big up mi bright cousin!


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