JIS News

The Jamaican High Commission in South Africa will be staging a seminar next Tuesday (February 28) to examine the role of reggae music in the African liberation struggle.

The seminar, to be held at the Ditsong National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria, is part of activities by the mission to mark Reggae Month and celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence. The High Commission is collaborating with the Africa Institute of South Africa and the City of Tshwane in staging the event.

Keynote speaker is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association and Head of Department at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Michael “Ibo” Cooper. Other participants include academics, musicians, and reggae artistes from South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

Jamaican High Commissioner to South Africa, Her Excellency Norma Taylor Roberts, told JIS News that an important outcome of the seminar will be documenting the contribution of reggae music to the fight for liberation in Africa.

“This is going to be an international event bringing together persons from all over the world to hear and document what reggae music achieved internationally, and particularly on the continent of Africa,” she said, noting that the seminar will examine reggae through “academic means and through historical lenses."

In 2008, the Government of Jamaica officially declared February as Reggae Month to highlight the impact of the musical genre on the country’s social, cultural and economic development.

The High Commissioner said ‘Jamaica 50’ activities will help to promote Jamaica and its achievements as well as to strengthen collaboration with South Africa. She said there is strong support for the events to be held.

“We are working very closely not only with the local Jamaican community but also with various South African institutions and individuals…those who have been touched by Jamaica’s connections with the history of South Africa,” she told JIS News.

“The level of participation that we are getting is really amazing and we have activities planned for the whole year and in fact, we do not even have to call people at this stage. There’s such a level of excitement and buzz that we are being called,” she stated.

The Commissioner further mentioned that she recently received a call from a South African company asking how it can partner with the High Commission on “Jamaica Month” activities scheduled to take place in August, which include an Independence Ball and a National Day reception.


By E. Hartman Reckord, JIS PRO