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Buju Banton pays surprise visit to Mount Pleasant Academy students

Published:Wednesday | February 5, 2020 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Buju Banton with Peter Gould and his wife Amanda.
Buju Banton meeting personnel from the Mount Pleasant Academy.
Buju Banton (centre), Peter Gould (left), chairman, Mount Pleasant Academy, with some students of the academy.

Just days before leaving Jamaica for Africa, reggae star Buju Banton paid a surprise visit to the Mount Pleasant Football Academy (MFPA), St Ann, on Monday.

Scheduled to leave Jamaica yesterday to fulfil a February 8 engagement in Nairobi, Kenya, the Destiny singer interacted with the students at the academy, encouraging them to make use of the opportunity given to them.

It was a tremendous moment for the youngsters, some of whom share a passion for reggae music as much as they do for football.

The academy’s Amanda Gould hailed the visit by the reggae icon, noting that the Buju Banton Foundation has a shared vision with the MPFA – that of helping youths to excel.

After being incarcerated for several years, Buju Banton returned to the local music scene in 2018 with an impact that he had not enjoyed since the late ‘90s, when he released his fourth album, ‘Til Shiloh, in 1995.

Buju won the Grammy for the Best Reggae Album with his 2010 album Before the Dawn.

Mount Pleasant Football Academy, in the meantime, was formed in 2016 by British businessman Peter Gould, and after becoming champions of St Ann, eventually advanced to the Red Stripe Premier League in 2018. Currently, the club is second in the league.


Gould said Banton’s visit ‘meant a whole lot’ to the academy, adding: “He leaves for his Africa tour tomorrow (Tuesday), and for him to take time from his busy schedule to visit us and to meet the boys, we are so grateful.”

Gould reminded that the Buju Banton Foundation is geared at helping youths at risk, so the occasion was one of shared passion.

“Music meets football. It’s all about encouraging passion for doing what you do best, be it sport or music. Excellence is our shared way of life,” Gould said.