Nastacia Linton wins Third Rita Marley Foundation Essay Competition
William Knibb Memorial High School's Nastacia Linton won the third staging of the Rita Marley Foundation (JA) essay competition, for the second consecutive year. The results were revealed during an awards ceremony banquet at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on July 1 (International Reggae Day).
The national inter-high-school competition aims to develop students' writing skills. Students were asked to pen a 1,000-word piece on the topic selected by Dr Rita Marley - (Children Get Your Culture, and Don't Stay There and Gesture or The Battle Will Be Hotter and You Won't Get No Supper. Wake Up and Live!' - Lyrics from the songs Natty Dread and Wake Up and Live by Robert Nesta Marley.
In a commanding and powerful essay, Linton urged the youth to defend and uphold our culture. She wrote, "One must acknowledge that each generation must continue to combat Babylon's imposing ideals. Generations cannot afford to 'stay there and gesture', or their culture will be swept from under their feet. It is therefore distressing that the youths have again become complacent, failing to realise that all their forefathers have fought for is still being attacked by Babylon. Bob's rallying cry, 'Wake up and live!', therefore still persists. Youths today must be aware of those imperialistic factors, striving to challenge their culture, and, like their ancestors, oppose them."
She further added, "Social media is one imperialistic factor that attempts to challenge the African culture. Social media creates for its users a cyber-world which possesses its own cultural ideals. Many of these ideals are, however, akin to those of the European environments from which they emerge. The people of African descent have become engrossed in social media. However, this environment's ulterior motive is to transmit subliminal messages geared at getting the people to ignore or become antagonistic towards Africa's culture (Gilani, 2014).
"Like globalisation, the significant impact this has had on the people is evident in their practices. These include the risquÈ behaviours of youths who broadcast their sexual escapades and other immoral activities on social media platforms, the desire to copy and perpetuate practices of the popular culture such as skin bleaching and salacious dressing. In this cyber world western propaganda about Africa and the African culture are fed to its users daily. Babylon's attempt at cultural destabilisation rages on through these platforms. Youths, therefore, must become aware that this is not the time to 'stay there and gesture'. They must defend their culture."
Wolmer's Girls' School, Kuankera Wheatley and Danielle Mathews, copped second and fourth places, respectively. York Castle High School's Jaya Buchanan was third. Semi-finalists, Wolmer's Boys' School and Papine High School received commendation for their performances.
The entries were judged by Dr Rita Marley, president and founder, Rita Marley Foundation; Dr Donna Hope, Vernon Derby and Beverly Lashley.
In addressing the gathering at the event, Rosemary Duncan, manager at the Rita Marley Foundation (JA), said the foundation was delighted for the involvement of main sponsor, the Heart Institute of the Caribbean Foundation, and also Blue Moon Publishing for prizes of internship opportunities and summer writing workshop to semi-finalists and finalists. These will provide practical introduction to writing and publishing.
Students and teachers exuded great pride while being awarded trophies and medals by Stephanie Marley, a director at the foundation; Dorrett Campbell, deputy chief education officer, Schools Operations; Lisa D'Oyen, director, HIC Foundation; Philip Riley, chargÈ d'affaires South African High Commission; and Terisa Thompson, CARICOM youth ambassador for Jamaica.
Schoolteachers and administrators are already gearing up for next year's event, while Nastacia Linton looks forward to defending her title.