Wed | May 24, 2017

When a Maroon colonel dies - Tributes and entertainment galore at Lumsden’s wake

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 9:00 AMPaul H. Williams


If Colonel Frank Lumsden were looking on last weekend, he would have been pleased at the turnout to pay respects to him and to celebrate his life, work, and achievements. It was three nights of glowing tributes and diverse entertainment for the late Maroon chief at the Asafu Yard in Charles Town, Portland.

The process began Friday when the lanes leading to the Asafu Yard and the areas around the yard were lined with candlelight-illuminated paper bags. It was a fantastic, but poignant sight, befitting the occasion. Yet, the general mood for the three days was celebratory, for Lumsden had lived a fulfilling life.

The main form of entertainment came from the Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers who rocked the space with spirited and hypnotic performances and fun-filled ring games. Among them were individual performances by upcoming reggae singer Delano 'Paddam' Douglas and master drummer and Maroon captain and drumming impresario Mustafa Reds, who accompanied some young wrestlers during exhibition matches.

Dancing and singing

The children were in the thick of things as they matched the adults drumming to drumming, move to move, song to song. The enthusiasm they demonstrated spoke loudly to the legacy bequeathed them by Lumsdsen and those who had predeceased him. In them that legacy lives and moved many to travel to Charles Town for the occasion.

World-renowned violinist and conductor Steven Woodham played a reflective piece. Some of Lumsden's relatives sang in his honour, and a niece went classical with When You Walk through the Storm.

Audiovisual presentations came by way of Karen Marks Mafundikwa's reparation documentary Price of Memory; a clip of Mutabaruka speaking at the Seventh Charles Town International Maroon Conference in June; a montage showing various sides of Lumsden's work for the Maroon community; and the last interview done at Charles Town with Frank Lumsden, who had given many interviews to visitors to Charles Town.

People from every aspect of life returned to Charles Town to pay tribute to the hardworking man who fascinated them with his zeal and commitment.

Those who could not make it in person sent emails, which were read publicly throughout the course of the three nights.

Many tributes

Other tributes read came from Ainsley Henriques, chairman of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust; Roy T. Anderson, director-producer of Akwantu: The Journey; Vivian Crawford, former executive director of the Institute of Jamaica; Marva McLean, creative writer and social justice educator; Dr Harcourt Fuller, assistant professor, Department of History, Georgia State University; Marcus Woolombi Waters, a Kamilaroi indigenous First Nation Australian; Professor Verene Shepherd of The University of the West Indies; Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, opposition spokesperson on culture; and Minister of Justice Mark Golding.

The weekend climaxed with a bonfire near the river.

Lumsden's memorial service will be held today at The Temple of life Centre at 4-6 Fairway Avenue, New Kingston, at 2 p.m.