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September 7 celebration to focus on Miss Lou's life, work - Minister Grange

Published:Wednesday | July 27, 2016 | 7:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange

Yesterday marked 10 years since the passing of one of Jamaica's most treasured national icons. Louise Bennett-Coverley passed away in Toronto, Canada on July 26, 2006. The woman referred to as one of the pioneers of the country's cultural space would have celebrated her 97th birthday this September.

To mark the occasion of her birth, the Government of Jamaica, through the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, has plans to host a celebration in her honour on September 7. The celebrations will recognise the cultural icon's immense contributions to the development of the country's rich history and will focus on her life and work.

In reflecting on the life of the late Miss Lou, Minister of Culture Olivia 'Babsy' Grange told The Gleaner that today, Jamaica is bigger and better because of the work Miss Lou has done.

"We are bigger, better and richer because of her contribution to nation building, and this has paved the way for the creative industries to blossom extensively," she said in a statement sent to The Gleaner.

It continued, "Wealthy are we as Jamaicans through our music, food, language and way of life; as the world has come to know and appreciate all that we possess and are proud to call Jamaican."

As Grange remembered Miss Lou on the anniversary of her death, the minister expressed her gratitude to the woman who brought the Jamaican dialect to a level where it became appreciated and respected by many.

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

"We reflect on the life and work of a great cultural icon, poet and activist who has greatly contributed to the culture of our nation. Her talents and love for who she was as a person, shaped by her experiences in her own country, provided great opportunities which have impacted the world in a great way, in particular, through our language and culture," she said.

"Miss Lou, you have undoubtedly made a significant contribution to Jamaica's rich cultural legacy, assisting in gaining us global recognition. You are one of our cultural icons who, from a very early stage, saw the importance of promoting and preserving our own dialect. As a nation, we are grateful for your foresight and your vision, as today, Patois is one of Jamaica's most potent and recognisable cultural components."

entertainment@gleanerjm.com