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Lessons in African history

Lisa King

Lessons in African history

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Awareness of the African heritage is high at the Lester Vaughan Secondary School following the Let’s Celebrate Africa 2011 activities to mark Black History Month which ended yesterday.
The students heard lectures by two African professors, Dr Ochieng’-Odhiambo, a Kenyan from the Luo tribe, who teaches at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and Dr Claver Mabana, of the Congo, who both spoke on African Cultural Retentions.
Calypsonian Anthony Gabby Carter spoke on the development of calypso and made the connection between social commentary and the plantation system.
Noting that this music originated in Africa, Gabby traced the history of calypso music here and underscored the importance of the drum to the African slave community and how it was taken away to strip the slaves of their culture.  
“No slaves came to Barbados, our people came and were enslaved,” he said, adding that they came as carpenters, joiners, mathematicians, but the enslavers took away their language, culture and religion.
Under the theme Roots Cuisine, teachers competed in a cooking competition and prepared African dishes while an arts exhibit was mounted displaying some of the work of students from the art department.
The display featured batik, tie dye pieces, leather slippers and jewellery along with items brought by some teachers including sculptures by teacher Beverly Gibson entitled Calypso Dancer and Attitude.
Art teacher Lisa Greene said the school has a very vibrant art department and produces a wide range of craft and jewellery as a part of a project started by the skills group for children, who were not academically astute, to channel them in areas to earn a living with their hands.