BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 1, 2019– On Tuesday morning, Mutabaruka, the fiery Jamaican dub poet, educator, actor and talk show host touched down in Belize at the Philip Goldson International airport, where he was welcomed by a small contingent from the United Black Association for Development Educational Foundation (UEF).
Mutabaruka’s visit to Belize is in connection with the UEF Emancipation Day festivities which kicked off before sunrise this morning with a visit to the seaside, on Marine Parade Boulevard where there was drumming libation and petal release to commemorate the 181st anniversary of Emancipation Day.
Mutabaruka was the main guest speaker at the 6th Annual Emancipation Day Jubilee lecture at the Gateway Youth Center.
In an interview with Amandala, the UEF Chairperson, Ya Ya Marin Coleman explained that the organization is now in its 23rd year and that this is the 6th Jubilee celebration of Emancipation Day. Coleman said the visit of Mutabaruka was made possible through the coordinated efforts of the organizers, Nzinga, Nicolette Foreman and herself.
Coleman said funding this year was particularly difficult unlike the previous 5 years. This year’s program was made possible through the contributions from The Image Factory Art Foundation, and individual donors, Anna Tillett, Vegan Bites, Belize Water Services, The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), KoKo King, Office of the Prime Minister, Biltmore Plaza Hotel.
Coleman went on to explain that this year was particularly challenging, because for the first time we have to pay a speaker’s fee, all the other speakers were for free, “but what Mutabaruka is charging us is a pittance to what he really charge.”
Coleman added, this community initiative was a sacrifice, because the message that Mutabaruka is bringing is what we really need to hear to help us free up our minds.
Coleman said that the idea to bring Mutabaruka came through an Amandala editorial and From the Publisher by Evan X Hyde, the Kremandala Chairman that was published in 2017.
Coleman said she managed to link the Jamaican scholar, Dr. Jelani Niah on WhatsApp, “he knows Mutabaruka and he had visited Belize before. That was how the link was made.”
By May of this year, Mutabaruka had committed to coming to Belize, Coleman said.
There are people who had made financial pledges and never came through, but she wishes to extend a special thanks to Clinton “Pulu” Lightburn, Kwame Scott and Rufus X, who took care of the logistics of moving Mutabaruka around since he arrived on Tuesday.
Everyday people have showed a lot of love to Mutabaruka everywhere we went.
While in Belize, Mutabaruka appeared on Krem Radio and Krem Television, where he did his famous Cutting Edge show, he also met with Kremandala Chairman, Evan X Hyde.