• Tiku Mtivavi

African Night Life - discussing Jamaica

Country discussed: Jamaica

Location: Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant ( 596 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1R1)

Food shared: Johnny cakes, banana fritters, starfish cakes, Goat stew, plain & rice with beans, chicken and beef. +cold water

Atmosphere: Deeply relaxing - we sat in the patio area at the back of the store. Cozy garden setting under umbrellas, with flowers& plants + a cool breeze.

Food quality & taste: +++++ (5 stars)

Service: +++++ (5 stars)

Capital city - Kingstone

Languages - English, Jamaican Creole (Patois or Patwa - which is mostly a spoken language)

Currency - Jamaican dollar

Independence Day - August 6, 1962

National food(s) - Ackee and Saltfish

Rum is the national drink of Jamaica

Originally: The original inhabitants of Jamaica are believed to be the Arawaks, also called Tainos. They came from South America 2,500 years ago and named the island Xaymaca, which meant ““land of wood and water”. The Arawaks were a mild and simple people by nature. Physically, they were light brown in colour, short and well-shaped with coarse, black hair. Their faces were broad and their noses flat.

(Ref: https://jis.gov.jm/information/jamaican-history/)

5 Interesting things about Jamaica:

  1. Surprisingly, Rastafarians make up less than 5% of the total Jamaican population. (*Smoking marijuana is not a requirement.)

  2. The original inhabitants of Jamaica cultivated corn and yams. Today, Jamaica is famous for cultivating sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes, none of which are indigenous. They were imported to the island at varying times in the island’s history. Coconut Palms, breadfruit, and bamboo were also imported to the island.

  3. Jamaica produces Blue Mountain Coffee, a highly sought-after and expensive coffee that is popular across the globe. It is one of the rarest coffees in the world. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is produced on the hillsides of the highest mountains in the caribbean (The Blue Mountains of Jamaica - 7,500ft high.) It takes twice as long as other coffees to mature. Every single bean is hand-inspected. Beans are picked and sorted by hand (A crew of local women hand-sort each green bean.)

  4. Despite claiming independence, Jamaica chose to remain a member of the Commonwealth. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth II is still their head of state.

  5. Obeahism is a form of voodoo that is still practiced on the island. However, it is kept quiet, since the practice of Obeahism is punishable by death.

People of interest - Marcus Mosiah Gavery

Garvey’s legacy can be summed up in the philosophy he taught race pride, the need for African unity; self-reliance; the need for black people to be organised and for rulers to govern on behalf of the working classes.”

(Ref - https://jis.gov.jm/information/heroes/marcus-mosiah-garvey/)

  • He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)

  • INIA’s newspaper “The Negros’s World” was distributed in english, french and Spanish.

  • He popularized the “ Black is Beautiful” idea and his paper refused to carry ads that promoted skin bleaching creams and hair straightening products.

  • He founded the Negroes Factories Association which established and enabled the creation of a number of chain stores (in various industries; factories, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and laundry facilities etc) all owned by black people.

  • He wanted people of African descent to be brought back to Africa.

  • He declared himself the president of Africa! (without consulting anyone - Acceptable? Or Not-Acceptable?)


Kenya and Jamaica commit to deepen trade and people-to-people ties:

"The two leaders said air transport between Kenya and the Caribbean will lead to more economic interaction which will, in turn, help economic growth for the people of both countries." - from https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2019/08/kenya-jamaica-commit-to-deepen-trade-and-people-to-people-ties/

+ Plans for Jamaica-Kenya direct flights after Uhuru's Kingston visit - https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-08-06-plans-for-jamaica-kenya-direct-flights-after-uhuru-kingston-visit/

Wonders... Questions... Discussions...

  1. Do you think it was acceptable for Marcus Garvey to declare himself president of Africa? (without consulting the people of Africa? Would you support him or try it too?)

  2. Do you think it should be punishable by death or even illegal to practice Obeahism (a form of voodoo)?

  3. Do you consider Jamaican Creole as a dialect or a separate language?

  4. Thoughts about Jamaica & Kenya collaborating in trade, sports and tourism.

  5. Thoughts? Comments? Additional information? Please feel free to share :)


  1. https://jis.gov.jm/information/jamaican-history/

  2. https://www.infoplease.com/world/countries/jamaica

  3. http://thecommonwealth.org/our-member-countries/jamaica/history

  4. https://www.britannica.com/place/Jamaica/Cultural-life

  5. https://thefactfile.org/jamaica-facts/

  6. https://henryshouseofcoffee.com/2015/11/03/jamaicanbluemountain/

  7. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/marcus-garvey

  8. https://jis.gov.jm/information/heroes/marcus-mosiah-garvey/

  9. http://en.lisapoyakama.org/marcus-garvey-the-first-president-of-africa/

  10. https://www.unco.edu/marcus-garvey-cultural-center/about-us/about-garvey.aspx

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