Sun | Feb 5, 2023

A creative genius lost

Published:Friday | February 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM


The Editor, Sir:

Accolades have been pouring in for Jamaica's beloved cultural icon, Professor Rex Nettleford, who passed on a few days ago. Please allow me space in your newspaper to add to the tributes to a great scholar, intellectual and artistic genius of the Caribbean.

What a coincidence! Just hours before the esteemed Professor Rex Nettleford died, I was reading an article by the executive director of the National Gallery titled 'Intuitive Art as A Canon', in which Nettleford added his voice to a debate on the importance of this genre to the nation.

It was obvious the great professor could articulate on anything Caribbean and cultural. Nettleford walked as a Jamaican, never forget his culture and the Caribbean, while being an intellectual genius of the highest calibre. His umbilical cord was attached at all times to the halls of academia, dance, public discourse, literature and Jamaica at large. I am yet to find one intellectual in Jamaica who can match this icon.

Impact made

Nettleford made his impact on a country in its embryonic stage of independence. He was one of the first of his generation to attend the University College of the West Indies, where he shone. His numerous books and journals attest to his brilliance and intelligence. He was not shy or scared to position our African retention, as exposed through the dynamic, rhythmic, scintillating and vibrant dance moves of his National Dance Theatre Company. How many males of his era would have taken the challenge of not just entertaining us culturally but exposing the Jamaican culture on the international art scene? Only Rex could.

I wish to add that I found Professor Nettleford to be extremely well-mannered, humble, although brilliantly articulate. Indeed, we do not have many of his type currently in the island. I remember his commentaries on Jamaica Broadcasting Commission in the late 1970s. His expression was immaculate, his English perfect and diction excellent. We at Wolmer's Boys wished we could speak in his tone and expressed British English as he did with such command and confidence.

May his soul rest in peace as the nation mourns such a fine, great scholar, and a gentleman.

I am, etc.,

Winston Donald