Publisher, Journalist, Activist
and Africanist. He is also of the
ONH (Order of National Hero) in Jamaica.
The idea that included us, the living, united with our African ancestry was for me revolutionary indeed, and it started to clarify things for me much later. It was then and only then that I became involved with my African-ness.
Later on in my research and studies of the Holy Scriptures I found that my “individual spirit” had never been alone-ever- but that my spirit would also be joined by “the spirits of all my ancestors” in ceremonial worship. The idea that I could unite with my ancestors in Spirit, a reunion with those who go back as far as ancient world history, became really sacred to me.
Since the moment of this discovery, I never felt alone again and I understood that our collective home in ancient Africa was always with me. That idea that I understood them to follow with me the ceremony of worship with God the “Divine Creator,” that entity that had omnipotent power, was a real comfort to me as a believer. The discovery of that unifying force, that something that would, at my behest, assist us believers and keep us together for eternity- one of my long awaited dreams- had come true. Then all the lessons in Christianity as I had seen them preached and practised up to that memorable moment, became an experience of supreme importance.
In fact, Christianity for me, without the African derived component, would not be suited for promoting the unity needed in our communities. Without the idea of our ancestors’ closeness to the Divine Creator, and the inclusion of us the living families and community into their worship is like trying to light up the entire night as one “firefly.” Today with so much hindsight cleared up, I can readily see how and what had been keeping us so far apart. It became easier to figure out why any of the spiritually based activities in or out of the organized or un-organized churches have not been as successful as they should have been for us the children of the Silver People.
In a sense it pains me here to admit that we Westindians are leagues apart in Spirit whether we are living or dead. As such, this “subjective idealism” that I interpret as our reality, and particularly in respect to our Intangible Cultural Heritage in Panama, has led me to conclude that we are still unprepared to come together to rescue what little remains to us. The danger of totaling losing any memory of our participation through our forefathers’ participation in history is still a nagging element that renders us unprepared to acknowledge these threats to our cultural identity.
For how is history to prepare us the Silver People of Panama as active participants if there is no written history of the Silver People? There are no historians teaching this highly relevant subject in the schools and universities in Panama. Then I must prepare to be apologetic- ashamed, really- and declare us philosophically and spiritually torn apart since we, as Panamanian Westindian people, have demonstrated that we have, more than any other group in Panama, been deprived of the ethics of home or education.
My fears are that this collective shame persists so as long as the concept of “Home and Schooling” remains lost even after our revered Teacher Osborne gave most of his life and worked feverishly to shore these concepts up. Are such notions so hard for us to understand? That they may not have been fully understood amongst our Silver People in the past might be accepted, but today there is no excuse for us as a people not to understand the likes of those old teachers of Panama and the Canal Zone and what they were trying to leave us.
In effect “family based practice” found to be common ceremonial ingredients in all African derived religious practices, whether practised in the languages of the English, Spanish, French or Portuguese, would make no sense to us at all if the main ingredient, which is the focus on the ancestors and honoring the deceased members of the families or clans, is left out of our African-ness, the essence of our life equation.
We, at the Silver People Chronicle, stand firm and call on all us descendants to reverence our forefathers. We cannot remain focused on the white man’s callousness to deter us from uniting to remedy the wrong done to all of our people. Charity as well as self correction begins in the home. Constantly speaking of racism is not the way our most revered champion Marcus Garvey tried to have us affiliate to our African-ness. He was a vehement promoter of the Black man and woman’s reliance on his own strengths as a collective, as a community. I know that today most of us are still snickering in secret at Garvey’s ideas and ideals.
We must remember and desist from rejecting anything to do with other African derived families who have shown to have some interest, and to the large amount of young people who have come to believe in our African derived Cultural Heritage. We must make an effort to spiritually connect with all people who have come to believe in the sacredness of their home as an integral part of the larger, mental family/ceremonial compound.
It thus becomes crucial for us all to make “Home” any place set aside to join in the worship ceremonies. There is no mumbo jumbo needed because our prayers are directed so that each of the associated members and families, regardless of where they may be in the universe, can and do have access to each other.
This story will continue.