By Eugene Majuru
Nottingham celebrated Jamaica’s 50th independence at an event held at the Afro-Caribbean National Artistic (ACNA) Centre .
The event was also a family day and saw families come down to celebrate in style.
It was double celebration for Jamaica as Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake had won the gold and silver medals in the 100-meter dash at the London Olympics on August 5.
All age groups came to celebrate Jamaicas independence
The event included children’s fun day, face and hand painting, treasure hunt, children’s disco, flag rising, Ackee and salt fish, Jamaica National dish, proverbs, fables/story telling traditional songs. Reggae musical arstes, soul jazz rhythm and blues as well as women’s special independence bingo night, pool and dominoes were the order of the day.
Jamaica became independent in 1962 after being under British control for many years.
Jamaica is a member of the commonwealth and was under British control in 1655 when it was captured from the Spanish by Oliver Cromwell's army. The colony was mainly used to produce sugar and relied heavily on the work of African slaves until emancipation in 1838.
Jamaica moved toward independence in the 1940s, when Britain enacted policies to give its Caribbean colonies greater economic and political autonomy.
At midnight on Aug. 6, 1962, the flag of the British Empire was lowered for the final time and replaced by the gold, black, and green Jamaican flag that flies today.
serving food to those who attended
Nottingham also celebrated the appointment of Councillor Melita Bryan, first black female Sheriff of Nottingham and Jamaica’s independence anniversary at an event also held at the ACNA centre on July 27.
Lloyd Burrell company secretary at the ACNA centre was happy that they managed to achieve the goals set to celebrate Jamaica’s independence.
“It is good to see the community come out to celebrate and recognise the community effort and forget what happened in the past” he said.
Asked about the link between Jamaica and Zimbabwe with reference to Bob Marley’s song “Liberate Zimbabwe” Burrell said “Jamaica is part and parcel of Zimbabwe, Bob Marley spoke out to liberate Zimbabwe from the Ian Smith regime and the whole world and international community woke up to support Zimbabwe. If Bob Marley was alive today he would have been very proud and rejoicing, he was very inspirational”.
Sophie Arnold and family
Some Zimbabweans who came to the UK in the 1970s during the war in Zimbabwe, the period before independence settled in Nottingham in the St Anns area. Some of them were training to be nurses, hospital administrators, lawyers, teachers and other professions.
“Zimbabweans met at the ACNA centre discussing politics and raising funds and were being supported by the community in their period of being away from home.” added Anthony Robinson who was friends with Zimbabweans during this period. “There is a strong link between Zimbabwe and Jamaica as can be seen from the fact that Bob Marley went to Zimbabwe when the country gained independence in 1980.”
Jamaican flag and picture of Nottinghams first black female Sheriff, Councillor Merlita Bryan
Sophie Arnold, a Jamaican National attended the event with members of her family. “I am very happy to be able to celebrate Jamaica’s independence and enjoy the benefits of improvement brought by independence” she said.
Norma Murry also attended the celebrations and said “It is a beauty to celebrate our independence together with our Olympic victory”.