Memorial for Professor Nettleford in Toronto


A cultural tribute, featuring performances in song, dance, poetry, will highlight a memorial service for late Jamaican academic and cultural icon, Professor the Hon. Rex Nettleford to be held later this month in Canada.
A committee of dedicated Jamaicans/Canadians is busy putting the finishing touches on the event, which will take place on Sunday, April 18, at the Revivaltime Tabernacle in Toronto.
Headlining the list of invitees will be Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, and Consul General to Toronto, Mr. George Ramocan.
Among the features acts are comedians Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis and Letna Allen-Rowe; dancers Byron Beckford and Andrea Douglas; singers Marie Critchlow-English and Rev. Winston Hurlock; and the award winning Jamaican folk group, Heritage Singers.
Offering tributes will be representatives from the University of Toronto and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Almuni Association (Toronto Chapter), while participating clergy will include Bishop Dr. Audley N. James of Revivaltime Tabernacle; Bishop C. Lloyd Battieste of Redemption Faith Ministries; and Rev. Hopelyn West of Praise Cathedral Worship Centre.
Part proceeds from the event will be donated to the Rex Nettleford Foundation for Caribbean Cultural and Social Studies, recently established by the UWI “to support the research of exceptional post graduate students in areas reflecting the breadth of Professor Nettleford’s own contributions to Caribbean development whether in the arts, history, politics or culture of the Caribbean region.”
The planning committee comprises representatives from community groups, businesses and organisations, including the Jamaican Consulate General; UWI Alumni Association (Toronto Chapter); Arts and Culture Jamaica; Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation; Rapid Remittance; Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto; Revivaltime Tabernacle; and Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
Mr. Ramocan, who is working to establish a Rex Nettleford Memorial Committee in Canada, said that the life of the world class intellectual giant, who emerged from the cane fields of Trelawny in rural Jamaica “is testimony to the great potential that lie within our rural youth, who, if given the opportunity can soar to heights beyond our shores.”
Professor Nettleford, founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) and the late Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the UWI, died on February 2 in Washington, D.C. Jamaicans said farewell to the celebrated luminary on February 16 at an official funeral held at the University Chapel in Jamaica.
Memorial services have been held across the Diaspora in respect of the late Professor.

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