“Jamaica is a great little place”August 13, 2012
Get ready for Notting Hill Carnival with Bacchanalia MasAugust 21, 2012
We are attempting the impossible by listing ONLY 50 reasons to be proud of being a Jamaican.
Join the conversation online under https://visionnewspaper.ca : and give us many more reasons!
1. Marcus Garvey
There is no better way than starting with our national heroes, after all, their achievements have directly or indirectly paved the way for independence. Marcus Garvey was a political leader, entrepreneur and strong defender of Black Nationalism. Although his ideas earned him a lot of criticism, Marcus Garvey has contributed towards a positive self-awareness of Jamaica.
2. Queen Nanny of the Maroons
As one of the few women and one of the earliest leaders of slave resistance, Nanny is not only celebrated in Jamaica. Nanny is described as a woman with outstanding leadership qualities and skillful guerrilla tactics.
3. Paul Bogle
The St. Thomas born Baptist deacon is known for his role in the 1865 Morant Bay rebellion which promoted fair treatment and justice for all.
4. Samuel Sharpe
Born in 1801 Samuel Sharpe was a very literate and respected deacon in Montego Bay. He spent his time traveling to different parishes speaking about the injustice of slavery. He organised a peaceful General Strike which turned Jamaica into the largest slave rebellion and contributed to the 1833 Abolition of Slavery in the British Empire.
5. Norman Manley
The cousin of Alexander Bustamante was one of Jamaica’s leading lawyers and founder of the left-wing People’s National Party in 1938. He was a strong advocate of democracy and supporter of the Trade Union movement.
6. George William Gordon
Born to a slave mother and a planter father, George William Gordon was a landowner in the parish of St. Thomas. Gordon was a vocal critic of the colonial government. He sold slots of his farm as cheaply as possible and created a marketing system through which they could earn a living.
7. Sir Alexander Bustamante
Independent Jamaica’s first Prime Minister Bustamante – the champion of the working class called attention to the social and economic problems of the poor and underprivileged in Jamaica. During the 1938 labour rebellion he quickly became identified as the spokesman for striking workers. Together with his cousin Norman Manley he is considered the founding father of independent Jamaica.
8. Bob Marley
His name is still pending to become a National Hero. Although it took most Jamaicans some time to recognise Bob Marley as one of their most talented, he is now the most iconic figure in reggae music.
9. Reggae Music
DJ WAYNE from Irie FM:
It’s the most infectious music on the planet! The achievements of reggae over the years and the the publicity it enjoys are unique. The whole Irieness of the music creates an unmatched vibe and atmosphere.”
10. Louise Bennet
Miss Lou was the first woman who embraced Jamaican patois on a poetic level and brought it to the world.
Cyaah tell mi nuttin! The absence of an official dictionary does not mean that patwa or patois is not a language in it’s own right. Patwa has a grammar to which all speakers adhere to. And that’s what makes a language; not people in high places deciding upon what is dialect and what is an official language.
12. The Harder They Come
The first big movie, or should we say flim, out of Jamaica. And you know what, looking at the iconic picture of Jimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe, it’s still very cool.
“One good reason for me to be proud to be Jamaican is that Rastafari rose up there and allowed people to remember their history. Rastafari is the memory of the Jamaican people. We have given the world what they are calling a new religion, and a way of life that is very unique to the Western world.
Nothing in Jamaica has brought as much attention to the island like Rastafari, and I am not saying this cause I am a Rasta.”
14. Blue Mountains
The longest and highest mountain range in Jamaica give cooling relief to the hot Kingston air. It’s the place where the Maroons first settled and where the famous Blue Mountain Coffee grows.
The Maroons fled the British colonialists and formed their own communities in the hilly interior of the island. Before signing a peace treaty with the British Governor in 1979 they successfully defeated their land against the heavy hands of European soldiers.
With over 50 rivers Jamaica has an abundance of beautiful natural waterways.
Jamaica is home to more than 3000 varieties of flowers, 800 are known only to occur in Jamaica
18. Kingston Harbour
KIngston Harbour is the 7th largest natural harbour in the world.
19. Port Royal
In the 17th century Port Royal was known as the ‘Wickedest City On Earth’. A preferred location for pirates, the wealthy city then had 7.000 inhabitants. Port Royal is now seeking UNESCO world heritage status despite most of it being submerged by water through an earthquake.
20. James Bond Beach
Located just off Main Street in Oracabessa, scenes from the classic James Bond movie Dr. No were filmed here. (Not to forget Portoseco Beach in Discovery Bay.)
21. Sound Systems
Sound systems first became popular in the 1950s in Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has shown that we still poses the most impressive sound systems!
22. Bobsleigh Team
Despite loosing control of their sled, the Jamaican team impressed with quick starts at the 1988 Olympic Winter games in Calgary/ Canada. The tropical nation in a winter sport inspired the film Cool Runnings.
The whole nation is proud of their sprinters, who have been piling up medals and records since 1948.
Five time winners of the Caribbean Cup, the Jamaican national football team is ranked top amongst the Caribbean. Jamaica made history in 1997 becoming the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for a World Cup.
25. First to gain independence
Jamaica was the first former British colony to gain independence in the West Indies.
What is important about Jamaican rum is that it remains a standard by which great rums of the world are compared.
27. Influence on the world
“Jamaica is such a small island but we are always up there. Our whole culture is something the world is gravitating to.”
28. We don’t let it get to us
As Vision reported in issue 10: the Jamaican economy is worse off than crisis ridden Greece. Yet still we carry on and live each day to the fullest.
29. Doctor Bird
This colourful bird is the national bird of Jamaica. Also known as hummingbirds, they are the only birds who can fly backwards.
30. Ackee & Salftfish
Our national dish! Only the skilled chefs knows how to prepare it as when done wrongly it lowers the blood sugar to lethal levels
Bauxite is a natural mineral and main source of aluminium. In the 1979 Jamaica was the world leader in exporting of bauxite providing many jobs.
Comedy is an expression of our joy of life and popular amongst all of us.
33. Irie FM
The radio station started its transmission in 1990 and has established itself as the premier reggae radio 24/7. IRIE FM is to reggae music and Jamaican culture what MTV is to America and rock/pop music.
Don’t get frightened if your driver is engaging in near-suicidal behaviour. Just pretend it’s a roller-coaster. A good driver knows all potholes by heart, and Jamaican taxi drivers are true acrobats of the streets.
35. Mi soon come!
Our time-management is confusing for some, because ‘soon come’ could mean I actually wont come back at all.
36. Direct Speech
We nuh fraid fi talk di tingz dem.
The influence of the Jamaican dance culture is evident in many pop music videos. The Dancehall Queen competition crowned the first foreign Dancehall Queen in 2002 and this summer a 3 day dancehall workshop is taking place in Russia. Out and bad!
It is considered extremely rude to be excessively drunk in public. Most Jamaicans know their limits and drink socially, not to get overly drunk.
Jamaicans are so hospitable. It’s only when we come to places like London, that we sadly seem to forget that we are from a country full of love.
40. Mona University (University of the West Indies UWI)
With its head office in Kingston the UWI is the region’s premier educational institution. Its faculties offer a wide range of programmes in Humanities and Education, Science and Agriculture, Engineering, Law, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. There is a strong emphasis on Caribbean issues making the UWI the ideal educational institution for local and international students with an interest in Caribbean society.
41. Red, Gold and Green
This impressive colour combination echoes worldwide whether as headgear or wristbands. Many wear it because of conviction, others simply because it has become fashion.
“I’m proud to be Jamaican, because our culture is so authentic and rich. People across the globe try to recreate that culture to hold a vibe. People gain and live from it.”
Fashion ova Style? We are known to be trend-setters.
MUTAMBA (fashion designer):
“In Jamaica we have a thing called: Tek your hand an turn fashion” Jamaicans have this finer way to survive when there is nothing. They always find something to turn into food or something to sell. The pride people have in this country is something I have never seen anywhere else. If a woman is disrespected in her job she will walk away. She wont take it, even if she has kids to feed.”
Full ah shape! But our women are not only beautiful but also intelligent. We have one of the only 20 female Presidents in the world. And all mothers do their best to head the family.
46. National Anthem
How many countries do you know who would play their national anthem in a dance and have everyone, and I mean everyone, singing along?
Should we be proud of the innovative way we swear?
48. Dutch Pot
The most important cooking utensil in your yard. It’s the sweetest cooking pot to cook any meal.
49. Celebrating Life
Even when we have to let go of our loved ones, despite all the pain, we celebrate the feast of life.
50. Everyone of us!
Everyone of us is part of the big family and every single one of us carries the message of: Out of many we are one people.
Our 50 reasons to be proud of being Jamaican are in no particular order.
The same applies to the front cover: many more famous Jamaicans deserved to be on our front cover. The size of the pictures does not express a hierarchy. The people displayed on the front cover are:
Carlene Dancehall Queen