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Monday, December 12, 2011

We Tribe: Granny Turn Ninety

by John Holyfield 
You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

On November twenty-first, di whole tribe come together for my Granny ninetieth Earthday. We travelled from crevices and corners, over hills and through valleys, from all over the globe, literally. I grinned 'round di hall from tables of Elders to young mothers with suckling, realizing that four generations worth of ourstory was gathered together. This was really an' truly a  family reunion.
The Tables of Elders was like a council and Granny sat as regal as Yaa Asantewaa.
As her eldest grandpickney, I was the first one of my generation to make a speech. Spent a whole night writing it, just tru I write better than I talk. But when the time came, I just stood there gazing at Granny and my Tribe. Then words just tumbled straight out mi heart and soul. Yeah man, had a chat with the  whole tribe of  family and friends 'bout what my Granny means to me.
My heart wrap up in a smile whole night.
Granny is real, not just this rickety-frame, cotton wool-hearted, caricature grandmother. She is complex. One of the things I love about her is she is vibrantly mischievous-her wit is a file, her tongue, a cutlass. She gets a twinkle in her eye just as she bout fi swing di blade. She and her sister, my Great Aunt, have this ongoing war of wits that, truss mi, will mek yuh laff till yuh belly buss.
Having family, relatives and friends in the same building one time, I could feel the genuine love. As a whole, my tribe is very supportive of one another, individually and collectively. We don't have much backbiting and envy among wiself and, so, we love come together and celebrate. Suh wi stay. And dance? We love that. We will keep a birthday party for the pickney dem, then turn it right 'round into a birthnight dance hours later- fi di big people dem.
When my aunt spoke about my uncle, cousin and grandfather who have all ascended to the ancestors, I felt their presence. I mean that literally. Their Life Force burns on, hasn't been extinguished by the passing of flesh nor the winds of time. Is honor saluting love when we reminisce about ascended family, f'real.
The whole event was a moment I will forever cherish, Jah know. Four generations ah mi tribe danced together to Reggae, Soca and oldies. I couldn't help wondering, in this age of upward mobility, in this "land of prosperity", how many more generations would keep up our tradition of gathering the Tribe for celebration. Will our children's children honor the tradition?


  1. Bless up kaya I enjoy reading this short piece of Granny and we tribe... yuh know a good story when u read one.. nuff love

  2. @Sarah. Greetings. Noticing Life's moments is important. Thanks for visiting. One Love

  3. Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us so i have to take life moments serious.. One love King


    1. Bernadette Persaud? "THE" Bernadette Persaude? One of Guyana's most prolific and prominent and preeminent artists? It's a pleasure AND an honor to have you pass through. I give thanks, Lady. One Love.


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