STAR of the Month: ‘Never forget where you come from’ – Munga Honorable
Journeying to Islington, St Mary, took a toll on the STAR PAR team. Not only was the journey lengthy, but bad roads made the ride bumpy. I quickly learnt travelling that far on an empty stomach wasn’t a good idea.
The journey had me thinking our STAR of the Month must have true dedication to his community, because although based in Kingston, ever so often he makes that long trek to St Mary. Based on his interactions with his people, it was evident that despite having found fame as Munga Honorable, in Islington the entertainer is still just Damian Rhoden.
Perched atop his Yamaha bike, Rhoden escorted the team to his primary school, Hillside Primary. On the way there, the entertainer had to make a few stops, as he was greeted in the streets by persons whom he grew up with.
If there was any doubt about whether or not Munga was a true son of the soil, his interactions with his people quickly put those to rest. On his ‘grung’, as he described it, his celebrity status took a back-burner to the easy-going, people-pleasing personality of Damian Rhoden.
Perhaps that is why in his hometown, he is not treated as a celebrity, something he is grateful for. “Yuh nuh see a my grung? The whole community was celebrating with me when me buss, but dem never treat me any different because me never behave no different, nothing nuh change,” he said. “Dem put seven days inna the week and me deh yah at least three. This is where I come back when I want to unwind. Me live pan a hilltop, beach deh right round the road, me live a paradise.”
When we arrived at the entertainer’s primary school, we were met by a group of the entertainer’s childhood friends who he had hired to assist in the construction of a perimeter wall for the institution.
Pointing out how important the institution was in his overall development, Munga revealed that when the fence at the school was torn down earlier this year, he felt it was his duty to build a more solid infrastructure.
“This primary school is where I got the early part of my education. Most of me fren dem weh me grow up wid in Islington come from here. I have relatives going to school here now, so it connected to me in more ways than one,” he said. “This school is a part of the home for all of my talent dem. It is a part of me, Damian Rhoden, aka Munga Honorable. This is where I learnt to read, where I started out in music, so it was only right, only natural that we help the community.”
The entertainer’s countenance lit up as he spoke about what it was like growing up in Islington and how big an influence the community had on him. He expressed that having experienced both the city life and life in rural Jamaica, he wouldn’t trade his upbringing for anything. He says he has a greater appreciation for life because of it.
“It is very important to never forget where yuh coming from. If yuh nuh have no idea a weh u did deh, how yuh gonna know where yuh going? If you coming from nothing; it’s a reminder that you don’t want to return there,” he said. “One of the most important lessons life has taught me is the value of humility. You see for yourself the humble beginnings I’m from, so it was important to not let the bright lights of the city life blind my third eyesight.”