Big celebration

An evening of song and dance reflecting cultural thoughts and learning over 25 years of travel was promised, and stage ambassadors of the Israel Lovell Foundation did not disappoint the full house at the Frank Collymore Hall.

Barbadians from every walk of life gathered at the theatre Saturday night for almost three hours of entertainment, as energetic bodies moved rhythmically to the pulsating beats of African drumming interspersed with the lullaby of choir renditions and the sharp spoken word.

Tribes women dance to stave off the mythical Opaki. This unknown creature terrorises villages by snatching young children and taking them deep into the forest. No one knows where he goes and what he does with them but the village is always alert to ensure the protection of the children.
Tribes women dance to stave off the mythical Opaki. This unknown creature terrorises villages by snatching young children and taking them deep into the forest. No one knows where he goes and what he does with them but the village is always alert to ensure the protection of the children.

“I witnessed the emergence of this unbelievable, yet formidable creativity and how it excelled and exploded over the last 25 years,” commented the foundation’s director, Trevor Prescod, in the foreword of the booklet of 25 Years – the Journey that brought down the curtains on celebrations of a quarter century of existence of an organization that has been a major feature of Barbados’ social landscape.

“We have traversed a long and rough terrain of ups and downs, but we are still standing as a cultural iconic force today, joyously celebrating our 25th anniversary,” announced Marjorie Beckles as she welcomed all to the show.

The drum tells the story. It receives and sends out messages for all the ancestors. It exorcises the evils from the living human bodies and preachers. This instrument was banned during slavery because it created great fear in our captors... reclamation speaks volumes about its efforts to reclaim and reconnect.
The drum tells the story. It receives and sends out messages for all the ancestors. It exorcises the evils from the living human bodies and preachers. This instrument was banned during slavery because it created great fear in our captors… reclamation speaks volumes about its efforts to reclaim and reconnect.

She noted that 25 years ago, a group of Barbadians, sharing ideas about people’s development, decided to establish four Pan-African institutions.

They succeeded in making two a reality – the Israel Lovell Foundation and the Clement Payne Centre.The foundation’s mandate over the years has expanded to include educational courses, social programmes and cultural development covering dance, drumming, singing and music.

Warrior women capture the mythical Opaki.
Warrior women capture the mythical Opaki.

There is also the Meals On Wheels service for aging and destitute persons.

“Today we focus on the work of our cultural core,” Beckles told the audience.

“This would allow you to witness and share our life experience in movement, aesthetics, and song, along with the artistic way we give expression to the elements of our life’s journey.

Founding member and programme coordinator Cheryl Hunte added that while the journey had not been easy, “with dedicated members and a supportive community, the foundation continues to expand and excel in culture, education and social development”.

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