February 24, 2017

Archives for February 11, 2017

What Gayle tells us

T20 batting will move on from him, but for now, as he stands on the verge of yet another monolithic landmark, he is a reminder of what is possible in the game

Centuries were once rare currency. In WG Grace’s first transcendent season, the summer of 1871, when he turned 23 years old, 17 first-class hundreds were scored. The champion accounted for ten of them. By the time Grace made 104 for Gloucester against Sussex at Hove in 1876, to become the first man to compile 50 first-class hundreds, he had more centuries than the next 13 men on the list combined. He got to 100 hundreds in 1895 and the game waited another 18 years for someone else, Surrey’s Tom Hayward, to reach the same mark.

Royal Challengers Bangalore player Chris Gayle comes out of the pavilion for the 1st innings of the match 30 of the Vivo IPL ( Indian Premier League ) 2016 between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, on the 2nd May 2016 Photo by Vipin Pawar / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Royal Challengers Bangalore player Chris Gayle comes out of the pavilion for the 1st innings of the match 30 of the Vivo IPL ( Indian Premier League ) 2016 between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, on the 2nd May 2016
Photo by Vipin Pawar / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

In 2003, albeit accidentally, cricket reset itself. Batting changed because T20 cricket and the money it generated made it change – and in turn, symbiotically, the shock and awe generated by the new batting generated more money.
In T20 cricket, like cricket in the Victorian age, centuries are rare currency, and like Grace, one man stands apart. Chris Gayle has scored 18 T20 hundreds. The next best is seven, by Brendon McCullum. Only two men, Luke Wright and Michael Klinger, have six, David Warner is next with five. ViratKohli and AB de Villiers have four and three respectively. It’s perfectly possible, perhaps even likely, that Kohli will never get to 18, despite his mastery and his comparative youth.
It’s not just the centuries. Soon, perhaps during his PSL matches, Gayle will score the 223 runs he needs to become the first man to 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. The next closest, Brad Hodge and McCullum, are almost 2500 runs – or 25% – behind him. He has the format’s highest individual score, 175 not out, and the joint fastest fifty, in 12 deliveries. He has hit the most sixes, 717, and most fours, 749, of any player (Kieron Pollard and Hodge are next with 437 and 707 respectively). His innings of 175 contained 154 runs in boundaries, which is more than any other ever played. His 78 half-centuries are also a record (Warner is next, with 59).
The only major batting mark he does not hold is of career average, where his 41.60 is fifth on the list. However, none of the four men above him – New Zealand’s Chris Harris (70.66), South African Pieter Malan (44.08), Pakistan’s Babar Azam (43.68) and the late Phil Hughes (42.69) – have played more than 34 innings for their figures. Gayle has batted 272 times for his.
Perhaps most telling of all, Gayle, statistically, has hit every ninth delivery he has faced in T20 cricket for six (actually just under – his ratio is one per every 8.68 deliveries), a number that has remained broadly steady across his career. Just as Grace made the hundred a new currency of batsmanship, so Gayle has employed the six in the same way. It’s the emblematic moment of T20 cricket, the maximum outcome from any single delivery, and Gayle has employed it the most, and the most frequently. He has reframed it, and he has constructed his image around it, the gym-honed torso rippling under the multi-coloured muscle shirt, the giant bat, sometimes gold, in his paw, legs splayed to anchor this superstructure like with a golfer, providing the resistance against which he swings.
There’s no stat that measures how far each Gayle six goes, but he has seized on the demoralising effect of being able to clear not just boundaries but fences and stadiums. It’s easy to see this as a bullying demonstration of force, yet for all his failings off the field, Gayle has a sharp cricketing intelligence. He has Test match triple-centuries and an ODI double, and you don’t get those by muscling sixes when the fields are restricted. It was Gayle who conceptualised this new way of batting, and worked out a way to execute it. To do so, you first have to imagine what’s possible.
Gayle’s flashy Instagram life has militated against him being taken seriously as any kind of thinker. And for all that he guarantees bums on seats and increased viewing figures, along with the pyrotechnic hitting, the Big Bash knew that its image was more important that any one player, however great, however wanted. It did not miss him this year; respect is worth more.
It took time for Grace’s numbers to be superseded, yet batting moved on, as it must. Fry, Ranji, Trumper, Hobbs and then Bradman and others were playing a noticeably different game, in new styles and with new techniques. They stood on Grace’s shoulders, though, and his philosophy that batting was about attacking the bowler remained his lasting legacy.
Batting will move on from Gayle too. Kohli, who may soon be the pre-eminent batsman of the age, and who has wiped one of Gayle’s significant records from the books with his 973 runs in the last IPL, has a deeper dimension to his batting, and a style that feels more universal and repeatable.
Just as Grace was more physically imposing than most of his opponents, so has Gayle been. Not all of his legacy will be savoury, but in an alt-fact, fake-news world, there is a truth in the idea that he has, like the good doctor, shown us what was possible.(ESPNCricinfo)

No dispute large enough

Satiricus was all choked up. He couldn’t believe men with such goodness in their hearts still walked on the face of the earth. If he didn’t let out his feelings soon, he felt he’d burst like a balloon and be splattered all over the walls of the Back Street Bar where he was held up with his usual posse.
“Fellas!” he exclaimed breathlessly. “Can you believe in two whole years, the KFC and Pee-an-See have never used the Com-in-de-burg Accord”?
“Sato…” said Hari with a worried look, as he swallowed the beer he’d just swigged. “What in the world are you talking about?”
“Don’t you guys read the paper?” Satiricus asked aggrievedly. “Rum Jhaat just said he and the other leaders in the Coalition get along so well, they just talk through whatever problems they have! They don’t need no agreement in writing!”
“Me bin fo’get ‘bout de ‘Come-in-de-burg Card’,” Bungi confessed. “KFC an APANU bin sign am Valantine Day, na?”
“Yes! Yes!” said Satiricus impatiently. “And Valentine’s coming up! It spelled out how they divided power and how they would settle disagreements.”
“But Sato, I don’t see the big deal,” said Hari, with a smirk. “Why would there be need to settle differences when whatever Pee-an-See tell KFC, Rum Jhaat and Nagga Man say, ‘Yes dear’!”
“Da soun’ jus’ like when Sato a ta’k to ‘e wife!!” guffawed Bungi. “Dem nevah fight!”
“C’mon fellas! Don’t be cynical,” said Satiricus. “What you mean?”
“Well, when APANU took away Nagga power to chair the Big meeting, what did he say?” asked Hari.
“Yes Dear!!” squeaked Bungi before Satiricus could answer.
“And when they took away half of Rum Jhaat Ministry, what did he say?” continued Hari.
“Yes dear!!” chuckledBungi with a simper.
“So what problems do they need an Accord to settle?” asked Hari, as he slapped the table.
“None dear,” said Satiricus in a deflated tone.

End of Indian Indentureship

As we wrote last year, March 10th will mark 100 years since Governor-General Hardinge of the Government of India issued an order ordering the cessation of shipments of Indentured Indians to Guyana, the West Indies and Fiji. And to mark this seminal event, commemorative events are being organised in each of these locales to allow the descendants of those immigrants to reflect upon their past from the perspective of their present, with an eye towards charting a course to their future.
In Guyana, most of the groups that work in the Indian-Guyanese community, culturally, socially, religiously, etc, have made a laudatory and successful attempt to coordinate the timings and locales of their events so that clashes are minimised. This will ensure that as many Guyanese as possible have the opportunity to participate by their presence. I do not want to pre-empt the official calendar of events that will be released soon save to say that March is practically booked for the entire month.
I can speak about one event I am involved with the youths of the Hindus for Selfless Service (HSS) who have chosen to host a mass event on the West Coast of Demerara on “INDIAN ABOLITION DAY 100: End of Indian Indentureship”. They are collaborating with the umbrella group, “Guyana Indian Immigration Abolition Association”, that is also sponsoring an Arts Exhibition and a Symposium. Rhyaan Shah is involved with this initiative.
The HSS/GIIAA group plan to utilise the “Mela” form of collective activity – “Mela” means “gathering” in Sanskrit – to bring together Guyanese on this special day. They will adapt their Mela, however, to their theme of “Examining the history of Indian Indentureship; confronting the challenges of the present to create a bright future”. The “Mela” or fair was a feature of 19th Century village India and was the site from where a large number of individuals were enticed by the “Arkatiyas” (“Recruiters”) to emigrate to become plantation labourers in so many countries. The group will be recreating the phenomenon by deploying actors as modern-day arkatiyas.
One of the survival mechanisms of the Indian immigrants was to exchange their right of a return passage to India for small plots of lands on which they planted rice. The land was invariably worth less than the return passage, but they accepted the exchange since they would have by then made the decision to remain in Guyana. This crop was first cultivated commercially at Plantation Edinburg on the West Coast of Demerara. The group plans to demonstrate the early method of rice cultivation where stalks of paddy were first cultivated in a small “biyari” and then transplanted laboriously by hand to the “rice beds”. Today, the rice industry – which includes the milling, packaging and shipping of rice – is the largest employer in Guyana and brings in huge amounts of foreign currency.
The Mela will also illustrate the harsh times into which the industry that brought the Indians to Guyana, sugar, has fallen. The closure of the factory at Leonora and Versailles was quite traumatic during the 1970s. But the sudden closure of Wales appears to be replicating the harsh conditions of life during indentureship and they hope to bring some youths from that Plantation to illustrate their plight in skits, song and dance. Special songs have been composed for the occasion.
They also intend to illustrate the other Indian contributions to Guyana, which in addition to saving the sugar industry and creating the rice industry can be seen in jewellery, foods, clothing, religion (Hinduism and Islam), sports, arts and crafts, music, business, entrepreneurship in forestry products, multi-culturalism, movies, etc. As far as possible, booths will be dedicated to these activities. It is interesting that CheddiJagan, who played a critical role in bringing Indians into modern politics, was born and died in March. He, along with other Indian leaders such as Jang Bahadur Sings, will be commemorated in one booth.
But the dark underside of Indian life in Guyana will also be illustrated: booths dealing with the social problems of Indian Guyanese – suicide and alcoholism – will distribute pamphlets and offer suggestions for institutionalised approaches. As they say, come one, come all on March 5th. Venue to be announced.

By Ravi Dev

Floodlights Masters vow championship repeat at Florida Cup

Captain of the Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association (GFSCA) masters team, Ricky Deonarain is highly optimistic his team can retain the Masters championship in this year’s Florida Cup annual tournament slated to be played from February 24-26.

floodlightsAccording to the veteran right-handed Deonarain, the side is loaded with a plethora of experienced campaigners and feels everyone can give a good account of themselves. He also stated that they are buoyant and ready to remain on the podium.
Reflecting on what had transpired last year, Deonarain mentioned that the success was purely on total team cohesion and no doubt they will apply similar efforts later this month at the picturesque Brian Picollo Park in Cooper City.
“We [are] definitely confident of winning the Masters category again; we played committed and hard cricket in 2016 and my players are ready to go again,” Deonarain commented.
Quizzed on the composition of the lineup, Deonarain immediately acknowledged that the setup has a great deal of all-rounders while the specialist batsmen and bowlers should be able to create an impression too.
“We have got some seasoned players; very experienced and are capable of doing well; our preparations also demonstrated that we are equipped to be a triumphant unit in 2017 at this big tournament,” the 52-year-old Deonarain related to Guyana Times International Sport.
In the final last year, GFSCA team trounced South Florida Softball Cricket League by a handsome eight-wicket margin at the Central Broward Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and that gives Deonarain the confidence they can return to Guyana with the winning trophy for the second year in succession.
“I am very much confident of lifting the trophy for the second time; last year was very successful with all our matches unbeaten and that showed that we were well-prepared and now ready to defend the championship,” Deonarain explained.
Having emerged victorious at their own tournament, the Guyana Cup 6 last year, Deonarain revealed that would have also inspired them immensely to keep the winning momentum progressing. He attributed that success also to hard work and diligent cricket.
He will be banking heavily on some of the reputable players to cash in on the overseas trip. Players like himself, Wayne Jones, Gordial Mattai, John Sumair, Kash and Ravi Lutchman (brothers), Ramo Malone, Anil Beharry, Uniss Yusuf, Jagdish Persaud among others to come to the fore.
Apart from the GFSCA Masters, the GFSCA Legends will also be participating for the ninth consecutive years among other Guyanese teams for both the Masters and Open categories. Teams are expected from New York, the hosts city and Canada to be part of the action as well.(Contribution made by Ravi Madholall)

Twenty years of Style

In celebration of her 20 years in the fashion industry, local doyenne of fashion, Sonia Noel,recently launched a collection of skirts with her signature lattice designs.

Designer Sonia Noel

Designer Sonia Noel

“It is a blessing to be able to reach this juncture – which was no smooth sailing. It took a combination of navigational skills to outmanoeuvre hurdles,and a resilience to literally row my own boat when the waters got rough.But my faith in God got me to two decades in style.I am particularly proud of being able to use the platform of fashion to inspire lives,” Noel expressed in an interview with Sunday Times Magazine.

DJI_0632Her favourite fashion quote is by Colombian fashion journalist and critic Nina Garcia, who once said: “If you look back in history of the women who are most memorable and most stylish, they were never the followers of fashion. They were the ones who were unique in their style, breakers of the rules. They were authentic, genuine, original. They were not following the trends.”
Locally, regionally and internationally, the designer is famous for her sophisticated, versatile designs that can be worn from the beach to the ballroom.
Notably, these colourful skirts can be converted to dresses and tops.

DJI_0576 DJI_0596
For more information, visit sonianoel.com or Sonia Noel Designs on Facebook.
This week’s featured designs are worn by models Anasha, Nkechi, Ambika, Saudia, Peggy, and Odessa.

Ming elated over blazing start to 2017 season

Guyanese race car sensation Calvin Ming has continued to swift ascendency into the history books with a stupendous start to his 2017 season. Two weekends on the track thus far and the son of veteran Guyanese racer and businessman Stanley Ming, has already secured two podium finishes.

Racing in Mexico in the FIA NACAM F4 Championships, the young speedster secured his third podium place in two weeks despite serious car troubles.
In an interview with Guyana Times International Sport Ming in speaking of his performances explained that “My performance in Mexico was pretty good, it was a lot of hard racing, in the first race I had a little bit of problems, my teammate got in front of me and was pulling away slowly, but I managed to pull him back.”
He added, “Everyone was telling me I was on fire since I was really fast and it was a track that you had to take risks to be fast.”
The Ram Racing driver was hard at work over the season break as other than winning the championship title, he is eager to undergo testing of a USF 2000 which is the equivalent to F3 car in Europe.
“I have been training for the last two months since I wanted to see what results I can get in preparation for USF 2000 later this year; my plans for the new year is to bring home some championships, and make it all the way to the top,” the driver revealed.
Though, making it all the way to the top is certainly an illustrious goal for Ming, his love for the sport is what constantly motivates him to do well.
“My ultimate goal is not necessarily to be an F1 driver, it is just to be a professional driver and make this sport my career, I just love to race, it is very competitive and it gives an adrenaline rush; it is really hard to say how far you are from achieving it, you just have to focus on the races you have now and try to be the best “the former Go-kart champion disclosed.
The future engineer is adamant that if corporate support comes his way they will only benefit as he continues to represent Guyana proudly.
“When we get sponsorship, I will be able to compete and move into higher categories internationally, Guyana and the sponsors will be able to get allot of recognition on the world stage,” the Florida International University student explained.
The talented Ming should be back on the track this weekend again as his busy season has begun.

England reach Blind Cricket World Cup semi-finals

England’s Visually Impaired cricketers have booked their place in the T20 Blind World Cup semi-finals after beating the West Indies by six wickets in Bangalore.
After a tricky start to the tournament, in which they lost three of their first four games – against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – England have now won five in a row to finish fourth in the table, meaning they will face Pakistan in the last-four.
England didn’t have it all their own way as West Indies racked up 232 for 4 from their 20 overs. DennalDeboya Shim smashed his way to 106 from 61 balls with an impressive 15 boundaries.
Ed Hossell led the reply with 64, sharing stands of 56 with Matt Dean and 48 with Peter Blueitt, the man of the match, who continued his incredible run of form with an unbeaten 74 to see the side home with five balls to spare.
Justin Hollingsworth provided able support with a quick-fire 47 in a stand of 79 that broke the back of the run chase.
“It feels fantastic,” said England’s captain, Luke Sugg. “We knew what we needed to do today. The boys are in a good mood and are ready for the semi-final on Saturday.
“We knew they [West Indies] would be a strong side with the bat. They’ve scored a lot of runs in the tournament and they showed that again today. It was great preparation for the semi to be pushed like that. Pakistan won’t be easy but we know now that we can chase big scores.
“We’ve talked about how we can adapt to their strengths and really take the game to Pakistan. We can’t wait.”
England are an outside bet to reach the final given the strength of Pakistan’s team – they won their opening encounter of the tournament by 95 runs. However, England’s coach, Ross Hunter, is happy that his side have fulfilled their expectations so far.
“I’m really pleased that we are in the knockouts,” said Hunter. “It’s where we wanted to be at the start of the tournament.
“We’ve had a culture shift in trying to play a different brand of cricket. We have a nice mix of batters and the recipe is there to score 270-300 – we just have to put it into practice now.
“Pakistan will be a huge challenge but we’ve learnt a lot this week and if we play well we will give ourselves an opportunity.
“Tomorrow is all about how we prepare our players to be ready to compete on the big stage. The semi-final will be a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.”(ESPNCricinfo)

Gonsalves, Chan, Petterson cash in big

The Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPLF) opened their 2017 season in smashing fashion with the Junior/Novices Championship seeing a fair amount of success on Sunday at the Banks D.I.H. facility, Thirst Park.
With 22 lifters taking to the mat, Cavis Rodney endured the challenge of Indra Mekdeci to win the overall novice female unequipped prize. The 29-year-old Rodney squatted 140 KG; bench pressed 77.5 KG and dead lifted 150KG to amass a total of 367.5KG.
After the competition, Rodney said she was a bit nervous going into the competition but attributed her success to hard work and the efforts of her coaches.
Meanwhile, in the overall male junior equipped category, Hardcore gym’s Kevin Briglall amassed 474.132 wilks points with the 20 year old squatting 202.5 KG; bench pressing 112.5 KG and dead lifting 207.5 KG. Briglall piped Total Fitness gym’s 22 year old Arif Immamdeen who totaled 446.205 age-wilks points. The pair was trailed by Immamdeen’s gym mate, 21 year old Brad Davin with 417.885 age-wilks points.
Romario Gonsalves was crowned overall junior unequipped winner, with a total age-wilks points of 467.179 as the 18 year old bettered Carlos Petterson who smashed the National squat record (260 KG), lifting a total of 710 KG but the 23 year old had a 448.578 age-wilks points. Demetri Chan of Buddy’s Gym shattered three national records in the 74Kg class totaling 500KG.
Total fitness gym’s Thristan Kamal carted off with the overall novice male unequipped prize with 352.362 wilks points, eight points ahead of challenger, Triel Benjamin of Hardcore gym.
Marley Vyphuis won the overall novice male unequipped with 339.228 wilks points as he leaped the competition with a total of 540KG.

Killing the goose…

…in Georgetown

While the sentiment, “death and taxes are certain” has been expressed for quite a while, it seems the powers-that-be in Guyana are hell-bent on amending it to “death THROUGH taxes” as the lot of Guyanese. Hot on the heels of the US$2.50/hour parking fees imposed (in Queens and Brooklyn our relatives earning TEN times our salaries pay US.75 CENTS/hour!) comes news that City Hall has hiked property rates by 10 per cent. Oi vey!!
But that’s not all. This is only at the City Level. Don’t forget your friendly Central Government has insisted on extending VAT to electricity and water – and a host of essentials through the subterfuge juggling “zero-rated” and “exempt”! For those city slickers who enjoy their AC’s to escape the muggy heat of their concrete jungle and watering their lawns to enjoy their ambiance, they’ll discover their dollar needs to be stretched way beyond what even their ‘plastic’ will allow.
But it’s not only the residents of Georgetown who’re facing the Grim Reaper: for business owners, their prognosis is even grimmer! While the average homeowner hasn’t really been hit by the parking meters – but the expansion to their environs has been promised! – the businessmen in the City’s commercial downtown area have had their trade cut in half by the falloff in the traffic, occasioned by the bandits cleverly camouflaged as “parking meters”. The pickpocket trade has also taken a hit – but they’ve resorted to jumping on their CG motor bikes to seek other marks. Have you seen the uptick in that activity?
Now your Eyewitness understands governments – local and national – need revenues. But the collection of those revenues isn’t an end in itself, nor are they supposed to end up in the pockets of government officials. They’re supposed to be spent to provide services for the good citizens. When, like in the Scandinavian countries, those services are fully provided and folks can live in dignity, they don’t mind parting with huge chunks of their income.
But when, as in Guyana, one still can’t get electricity without daily blackouts, or garbage that’s collected on someone’s whim (the ‘whim” being when the City decides to pay the garbage men!) these taxes aren’t only onerous, but odious. And folks will do what any reasonable animal above the phylum invertebrata will do – avoid the taxes by all means necessary.
But in the meantime, that game of avoiding the taxman just adds to the stress of living in Guyana – and one ends up with high blood pressure, road rage, domestic violence, kicking the dog, eating too much junk food.
And dying to avoid taxes!
…on capital?
Some predictions can become self-fulfilling – especially when the persons making the predictions have skin in the game. For weeks, businessmen have been complaining of a foreign currency shortage – read US greenbacks. After stoutly denying this, the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Guyana have been forced to explain why the exchange rate shot up from $205 to $216 GY to $1 US in the last week! The reason proffered is one “non-Guyanese” cambio sent out US$100 million to its mother country and other Guyanese might be hoarding greenbacks or shipping it offshore!
Now, by refusing to name the recalcitrant cambio, are the Government officials in damage control mode suggesting – like that fella from Harry Potter – if the name’s said aloud, evil will descend upon our heads and the land? And that the cambio and all those parking their US funds offshore, are by definition also “evil”?
That’s sad. Cause, in a financial system that’s been completely liberalised, “capital flight” is par for the course… When the financial sector feels the economy’s tanking!
Government… heal thyself!!
…and humanity
Your Eyewitness thought our humanity was proven by our willingness to “be our brothers’ keeper”. No more. Today, having to sign in to a paid site, he was asked to “prove his humanity” by solving 1+9=?.
Numeracy makes us human?

A Treaty on Rights

Remembering the achievements of our African ancestors and their journey to emancipation from slavery gives us a sense of identity and helps us to appreciate our roots. This is the aim of celebrations that would be held throughout the month of February, designated Black History Month worldwide.

A Catalan Atlas showing the Western Sahara. Mansa Musa is seen seated holding a gold coin. Attributed to Abraham Cresques, Wikimedia Commons

A Catalan Atlas showing the Western Sahara. Mansa Musa is seen seated holding a gold coin. Attributed to Abraham Cresques, Wikimedia Commons

The Mali Empire and the Mande Charter
Most social studies and history programs teach little about the kingdoms of Africa. Not much is said about the great kingdoms of sub-Saharan Africa such as the Kingdom of Kush, the Kingdom of Axum, the Land of Punt, the Mali Empire, the Songhai Empire, and the mysterious Zimbabwe Kingdom.
This week, we take a look into the Mali Empire and the founding of the Mande Charter.
Many know the Magna Carta, which is regarded as the first document to encapsulate any sort of human rights. It is a charter agreed to by King John of England on June 15, 1215. It is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.
However, according to French anthropologist and ethnographer Jean-Loup Amselle, who has studied and written about African society, culture and art, particularly how outside influences are adopted by cultures, the “Kurukan Fuga Charter” also known as the “Mande Charter”, is said to predate the Magna Carta.
The Mande Charter was born at the founding of the Mali Empire. Sometime in the 1200s, a great warrior named Sundiata Keita pronounced it. Though Disney takes credit for the moniker, Keita was the original “Lion King.” After calling for a rebellion, he raised an army and squashed his sovereign’s forces, consolidating the empire, and eliminating the state of Old Ghana.
At the site of Kurukan Fuga, meaning “clearing on a hard rock,” situated between what is now Guinea and Mali, the resplendent Keita assembled a group of wise men, the chiefs of the various clans. These included Sumanworo Kanté, Emperor of Sosso, whom he had just defeated at the battle of Krina.
After the Charter’s declaration, it was passed down through griots or bards, the famed storytellers of the region, and keepers of the culture. This is a family affair, and stories and other items are passed down still today from father to son.
The spoken document, which has also been called a “Constitution”, contains a preamble and seven chapters. It speaks on social peace, the sanctity of human life, women’s rights, the right to an education, food security, and even to self-expression. The charter gave equal rights to citizens including women and slaves. The aim was to provide peace and social stability. It advocated diversity and spoke of abolishing slavery, in this case the razzia or raid.
Since the Mande Charter was derived from an oral tradition, it isn’t easy to date. Historians as near as they can piece together have put it at 1236. Amselle contends that the Mande Charter actually predates the Magna Carta, adding that that most scholars familiar with the subject agree that Mande Charter is either contemporary to or predates the English document.
Black History Month was started by Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson, who also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). In 1925, Woodson conceived and announced Negro History Week. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Kouroukan Fouga or Kurukan Fuga was the constitution of the Mali Empire

Kouroukan Fouga or Kurukan Fuga was the constitution of the Mali Empire

Woodson and others like him believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. The goal of started Black History Month was to help raise awareness of African American’s contributions to civilization.
This paved the way opening the door to many events, clubs and teachers demanding materials to instruct their pupils as well as scholars and philanthropists stepping forward to endorse the effort.
Carter G. Woodson first coined Negro History Week in 1925 and it was introduced as a full month by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. Upon Woodson’s death in 1950, it continued to grow into a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration.
At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the civil rights movement focused Americans of all colour on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to history and culture.
Throughout this month, Sunday Times Magazine will feature notable achievements by our African ancestors and present-day individuals. (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)