I am hopping mad today! As an educator who has taught at the Barbados Community College(BCC) and University of the West Indies (UWI) for over 40 years, I am outraged by the contents of a very glossy – looking document, Barbados Souvenir Calendar 1966 – 2016, which has been produced “ in support of the Preservation (Barbados) Foundation Trust”, a registered charity.
This calendar, which purports to highlight the work and legacy of Barbados’ 10 National Heroes contains a profile of the mentally – deranged street – character, Redvers Dundonald Dyall, alias “KING DYAL” on the page dedicated to Sir Garfield Sobers, our only living National Hero. This is a gross insult to Sir Gary and to all other self respecting black Barbadians.
King Dyall, a distinctly black man and one of Barbados’ most unapologetic haters of other black people, is shown in a characteristically flamboyant pose, standing tall in a mustard – coloured double – breasted suit, with white hat, cravat, gloves and shoes, with a pipe in his mouth and carrying a cane. He is depicted standing on top of a red cricket ball which contains the following statements: “ Redvers Dundonald Dyal, known as King Dyall, Barbados’ leading cricket icon, a legend in his own right.”
Who wrote these words? What is their conception of “ICON” and “LEGEND”? Certainly the National Heroes such as BUSSA, SARAH ANN GILL, SAMUEL J PRESCOD and CLEMENT PAYNE were authentic black Barbadian heroes. They fought against racial bullying, colonialism, slavery and the oppression of black people in this island. They were persecuted and went to prison and Bussa was killed, fighting for Black enslaved people.
What did ‘King Dyal” do to rank among Barbados’ National Heroes and to merit an inclusion in a souvenir calendar which is going to be circulated in our schools, colleges and universities? What can educators like myself say about “King Dyal” to school – goers during February 2016 – “ African Awareness Month”? King Dyal is disqualified from occupying space in a document designed to enlighten and uplift black people of this island by reason of his career of verbal terrorism against his fellow – blacks during the last 10 years of colonial rule and the first 30 years of Independence. He can be compassed to the lawless group ISIS, because he always attacked peaceful Bajan blacks, whose characters he assassinated, calling them “black cattle, black jackasses, and black rats”, because of his own racial self hatred.
He roamed the area between Lower Broad Street, Lakes Folly, Emmerton, New Opleans and Fontabelle, shouting profanity and invective at blacks, who differed from him starkly because they held jobs, worked honest for a living, however meager and tried to bring up their children as decent, law – abiding human beings. “King Dyal” never worked a day in his life in a country in which, “if de Nigga man don’t work, he don’t get no pay”. ( Folk Song) Instead, this self made “King” and ludicrously self important vagrant, raided and ate his neighbors swill, intended for pigs. Hence his nick – name “HOG FOOD”.
Through the leniency of Bajan – white cricket administrators, he gained free admission to Kensington Oval whenever teams from England, Australia and New Zealand played against the West Indies, while other blacks dutifully paid the prices of admission and faithfully supported the West Indies Cricket teams. He openly supported the white cricket teams as if he himself was white, all the while shouting crude invective and racially – tinged insults at this fellow – blacks, never at white Barbadians.
“King Dyal” lived the in same period as National Heroes Sir Grantley Adams, Errol W Barrow, Sir Frank Walcott, Sir Hugh Springer, Clement Payne and Charles Duncan O’Neal. Yet, what did he do for black Barbadians that were positive and inspiring? He also lived in the era of Martin Luther King Junior, who wanted his own children to be judged “by the content of their character, not by the color of their skins”.
“King Dyal” insulted all those black Barbadians who responded positively to the words of Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, Mohammad Ali, Angela Davis and Nelson Mandela, all of whom suffered because they fought for blacks all over the world.
We educators know that Caribbean History and Caribbean Studies Syllabuses feature questions which require teenage Caribbean students to write about National Heroes and other outstanding Caribbean persons such as Bob Marley, George Lamming, Granville Williams, Derek Walcott, C.L.R James, George Padmore and Walter Rodney in their own countries. Where does “King Dyal” belong in these syllabuses? What is his philosophy that can inspire Millennials? Caribbean icons never cursed black Caribbean people for being Black. No Caribbean legend ever pursued a career of calling his people stupid, unthinking animals, such as cattle or jackasses.
This calendar contains an unforgivable insult to decent, law – abiding black people, by including “King Dyal” as an “Icon” and a “Legend”. This calendar must be RECALLED and the comments about “King Dyal” must be excised from its pages, otherwise this publication stands condemned as the worst insult to Black Barbadians in this 50th year of Independence.
Written by Trevor G Marshall .. Educator, Historian and Pan African activist.
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