n CfAIFEtA *72 ..c
The Presence Afri
in The Caribbean
By Edward Kanau Brathwaite
THAT the ancestral con- 'But if"wereali e tUa~-e -
sicusness of Africa is central "gruits', -"Iants", "shout's"o Alternatives .- t~ ,ttme of led ad htp
to the Caribbean is/-hould be have attested psycho-religioqu' "a4 ;e of head l 'l hi.
by now quite obvious. There significance;- that .the Swole When this model. in recent aing, instead; softly smil
is the fact that the majority .horeog.aphy of ~rce is years, emerged clearly warped ing; conscious of body-line,
gf people in the area of based.on an ancient model of and tarnished, "Caribbens", swathed. In our tropical co.
plantation are of Atrican worship; that the. "gibberish' like Euro/Americani, them- lors
descent. And in my last ar. is often miraculously .- se.les, began looking alterna.
ticle I argued that of all the African words and phrases tives: the creole ethic La- In some of these territories
lItures that constitute the uttered by. persons 'who in: tin America; the ideological (anglophone as well as French
region, it is the African cul- more "no'iral" conscious stance of Cuba; the Ameri- and butch), impresarios
ture of the Caribbean which states. d not "know" a 'sllablej canized. bootstrap of Puerto combed the countryside, not
has so far proved most dy- tw .or o Ri co the melting 'pot. satia to "discover" taln; ier Carl.
narnic, adaptable and capable .of the Protestant establish- festa (although a few-infant
of building bridges links of thoughh it is surprising how steel pan wonders were), but
style and spirit. many people in the Carib- --- --- to commandeer the folk to,
The objection most often bean today still speak Afri teach the "brown", the 'more
can languages) then we may ments But never a oo to, "refined" how it shouldd go at
heard, however, is that the begin to recognize that we are Africa (cry lonely Gaey; ftea.meeting, country wedd-i
designation is wrong: we are dealing with phenomena of dmb Haiti). Never a A ook, ing, nation dance. Not there-,
not dealing with African cul- considerable richness and ex- that to the living ub- fore uncut gems, but censored
re, but-with Caribbean and/ orange merged people.'of the gospel. 'glimpses of these gleams: cop-
or. negroid characteristics o .A THE Their products; wordd) weceL cession to the former master'
t negroid Characteristeics TARSAN AND THE hot decent e gh; dne age.
True: yes: to a point. But PHANTOM not decent enough; dane.
h having nominated s ango, But frst we will have to drama) were n3t polished
d bum.-a.uk ^'"Carib, But iirst. we twill have to enough; '(religions) in-articu- r T .
voduhn, bum-a..tuk "Carib rid ourselves of our preju- enugh; gon) articu MITATION vs
bean or"black", where do dices (myths and fears) late. AUTHENTTCrrY
e go from there? how do! about Africa. .And so we drifted further But despite this censorship
these terms help us to under- Africa, in the minds of and further into imitation, this subtle Euro-lean; the dii-
stand the nature of what ei m a n y/most. (black/brown/ stasis, despair: importing ex- ference was clea? at Carites-.
ae talking about. white.) is' the Dark Gonti- perts, importing tourists ter: ta: authentic aim not mimic
In any case," "negiold", nent: incontinent d om a in rorists: moving forward into monkey man. brun stampT
ealack" refer us back to Afrit of ,Tarzan and the Phantom, nothing, into no thing, into whirl circle: alternatives of
t anyway; aiid ;he expres.- inhibited 'by pigmy, fetish, no-man's space: losing steadi- style, of shape, of' use of
sion "Caribbean" has greatest cannibal: the shameful place ly to television, to the movie energy. It was as far away
value as a geographical no- from whence we came (would star, to the syndicated colum- from Tennyson, Tchalkowsky
.en. But to understand the you let one of them marry nist... the Thespians, as you would
Caribbean as a living oom- hyiu" daughter?): our id: to T RAL ev get.
cwe must consider itI b suppressed CULTURRAL CENSORS ever get.
ple, we must consider it be suppressed. Hence the revelation of It was the revelation of the
ilure and the nature of that .Under this aegis, no good He nce the revelation alternative: that we, people
.^ature. Last Sunday. w could. come out of Africa- :no Carift. esss, possibin nations of the Caribbean could
1oked at its external mani- wheel, lno hero saint. 'As ity, despite the cultural cen. ress ourselves 'Witt' the
fertations. When we turn to Bryan Edwards, 18th Century sors. For Carifesta, make no flagrance of volcanoes, with.
its infra-structure, we observe ,Euro-Jmaican historian, said mistake about it, was still a the gentility of lake.,, with'.
retain orientations, cores- in his monumental History of. product of our pain, of thethe revert of Africa.
ending to the indigenous and the West I"iies: slavery was plantation. Government com.
~ igrant strata which corn- a blessing for the African, mittees. aits councils, Minis.
Sthe whole. since it brought him into ci tr of Culturehad to st and
.AU-RE OF CARIBBEAN .'ilistion: western plantation decide: who was to go; what
,sweetness and light. .was to go; would this be .re
CrTURE. .weees.-..., presentative; would. that 'bring
C There is little question that a dit to the nation?. And
tpe plantation -and political Many back. of-bl- :ire was cultural politics:
uture u we hav inherit came to believe this. "'Edu- nofer product of the plant:
sr "Caribbean"; but they are cation" was a good thing: the nndian unwillingness to,
are arib eaningfuly Euro-Ca meaning. Europe's education; joiri n, to really make it all.
ibbean. They were brought good n anrgers good books, the a-we is one. And. next time,
r bes that' was thought and e.A et t
here from Europe; adapted by thank. Good looks m nt od orbid, Carfesta at
EuroPeans to the local 're. ooking like' mass anti Morntge Bay: boosi of l-
qtrements of a slave society; Montego wifBae: Atnt Sablyt of d
ad were -developed from s e t lar bills?
Sforhe benet of Euro Good eeh at you Cultural ensorship, dm
peafts at home and abroad. 0 unn and nota pymul say, wa's phrtlcularly ,notioo-
me imitative .nature of our ent .o b ble with the BCoann 'ontri
society and politics as rapped nent comba, cre ap, ig. buttons 'to Carlfesa. ?Barba.
-ashly/accurately by V.. the inot naulW..kW inoL dos, we know, is Little.lng."
.0 ishly/accur.ately by V.S., I rtunitV, '.
Naipaul, for Instance, stnms THR/ EUROPEAN I MODEL land. ut in many of the
froni this stony fact: that other presentations at Car.
ost-colonial Caribbean socie- the' Europe0an' culture of testa (olher than Barbados,
tY ij post-imperial European the Caribbenl; ll h thMt -,words, that is,) there was also' evi-
style and content; the iml- had 'become the model of donen of thli. There was no
,tions built is in; top.hat, style ,and excellence 'A me- question, in these cases, 'of
priest, teacher. chanaitic/material culture had Iack of Afro-Caribbean folk
Similarly to understand become te hidel style and material,
m1ch of our dance, religious; excellence: for' no matter what
rituals, style of cooking, mar- spiritual aolllevemento there 2laay PrtCkaget
keting, etc., we have to un-. had been within Europe until
derPtand that we are ,oibrrv-i the nflr'ul1iir'ice (ahd the.'. it th cehr' want Us
fg fragments of an Afrian cord isa inaniftcelt, the al3 thee in glossy polg eh
Tradition. The gr U nt o' Irir'-[4rlo'lae vi explore glou ,eeti a oUt n o
,tapt", "shout', "g)ibbcrish"ltn ,,lill. n g.rohlppd up *eting out I
,' "Z ., -t ej- 1-1* 1 1 f*.11 11- h --- l- .- .