Popular dub poet Mutabaruka was on Saturday (February 20) honoured by the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) and the Rotaract Club of Mandeville for over 30 years of outstanding work in the field of the arts.
At a special cultural function held at Mandeville Park, which included performances by a number of local acts, the dub poet was presented with a plaque and lauded for his positive messages over the years, including the production of two books, and eight albums.
Youth Empowerment Officer with the NCYD, Mr. Keitho Nembhard, told the gathering that Mutabaruka’s music inspires self-confidence and a determination to succeed. “His music is saying to us that we are more than slaves,” Mr. Nembhard said.
Principal Director of Culture at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, Mr. Sydney Bartley, said that culture is an area that the country should always promote. He praised the youth groups for honouring the dub poet.
“He is one of those persons, who have led the charge in promoting the integrity of Africaness, and the integrity of being truly Jamaican. Without any recognition and fear, he speaks what he wants to speak, and defends the ancestral integrity of Jamaica,” Mr. Bartley stated.
Mutabaruka, in his response, said he accepted the recognition as a mark of respect for the work that he has been doing over the years. “Wi give tanks, and di reason why wi give more tanks, is because is some youths a dweet. Di youths dem in a dis time recognise that something else is needed to carry dem through,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Acting Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Olawale Okunlola, charged the 30 cultural ambassadors that the NCYD has assigned to promote cultural awareness in schools, youth clubs, and community groups to serve as positive examples for their peers.
“You have responsibilities as leaders; you are representatives of your communities. You must be honest, you must be trust worthy, be upright and you must be example to others,” he stated.