Rastas Celebrate Global Black History Month
Bob Marley’s smash hit, Redemption Song, greets this writer’s arrival. My presence is acknowledged with nods and uttered greetings of ahoy and iree jahman!! Young and old are dancing freely to the music as knee-high clouds of dust evolve from the ground of a four-roomed RDP house at Tambo Square dubbed Jah Ancient’s Palace. I am captured by the wave-like movements but then the music stops and the voice of renowned African intellectual Professor Patrick Lumumba draws every bit of my mental faculties to his probing spoken word.
I am astonished by my presence at the international celebration of Black History Month and reggae legend Bob Marley’s posthumous birthday having ignited pleasant surprises. I am again reminded in my attempt to not make much of the compliments enchanting my presence, that one of the beauties of journalism is in being able to treat the highest and lowest of society on the same basis.
Event organiser, Mwalimu-kush Mokopaneng said the reason for staging the celebration with music as a key feature is in the education system failing to speak into the experiences of Africans. “Reggae music is a vehicle that expresses the cries of the African poor; it is an art that expresses the Rastafari philosophy and consciousness. We also emulating, celebrating and canonizing Bob Marley for having pioneered the carrying out messages of the Rastafari to all corners of the world.”
Mokopaneng also added; “on the other hand we also recall on the civilization achievements of Africans. This we reflect upon through speeches, lectures and poetry.”
The night of Saturday 10 February, ended with dance hall singing by Jacob Peo Mosoeu a.k.a Ragga Red Scorpion and on the decks from Bloemfontein, it was the sensational Miss Kay. Dance hall is an offspring of root reggae. Mosoeu explained the genre; “this is modern style reggae meant to accommodate hip-hop and rhythm and blues. We are new school but draw influences from the Caribbean reggae beats.”
Whilst it took a perceived small group of Kimberley Rastafarians to celebrate February as Black History Month, SolomoStar noted that multinational corporations such as athletic footwear and clothing manufacturers, Nike and Adidas, have been releasing footwear and gear in celebration of the month.