For Jamaican poet and writer Professor Kwame Dawes, the past is not just a signpost to the future but is actually the future that must be faced. This is more so for Africa and people of African descent in the diaspora, he says.
“I recently learned that there is an indigenous community in Bolivia for whom the past is the direction in which they face, and the future is behind them. There is something meaningful about this. Something profoundly truthful. I imagine that they are walking backwards into the future, keeping an eye on the past, and allowing that to help them have a realistic sense of the future,” he said.
For illustration, the poet and philosopher draws on the lyrics of Bob Marley which have been the subject of one of his books: “If you know your history/ Then you will know where you’re coming from/ You won’t have to ask me/ Who the hell do I think I am”.
“I was extremely honoured to be asked to be part of the P. J. Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy. The goals and objectives of the institute are not just consistent with my idea of self, but with my mission in life as an artist, a scholar, and a human being,” Dawes said.
For him, the institute enacts an ongoing process that he says has its genesis in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Read the full article in The Gleaner here.