I am left after attending Dr. Rashidi's lecture, slide presentation and arm chair chat with a couple strong feelings. The first is one of disappointment. This arose from the very poor attendance at the event on the night. I would estimate around 50 to 75 people attended. What struck me was the absence of young people in attendance and even more startling was the absence of all politicians. I would think at the very least the Minister of Culture's office would be represented. To have a man of the standing of Dr. Rashidi here with us is nothing to scoff at. I am not sure if any government officials were invited but for me that would be irrelevant as personal interest should have brought some of them out. For me their non attendance spoke volumes which I will not articulate on at this time but leave you to hear what it said personally to you. Another marked absence was that of any Barbadian Historians. I would have liked to think that to have had a Historian with the esteem, knowledge and history such as Dr. Rashidi would have called them to attendance, but sadly that was not the case. My final disappointment that I will speak about was the role of David Ellis as the person with whom Dr. Rashidi would sit and have the Arm Chair Chat. Mr. Ellis was in one word,'lost'. His questions were weak at best and it really did not come across that he really had any real interest in what was being presented. I cannot report on the chat as for me there was none, just one or two feeble questions from Mr. Ellis.
Dr. Rashidi in spite of the poor attendance delivered a good presentation. It was obvious to me he was prepared to meet an audience that was not familiar with Afrikan history before the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Although his lecture and slide presentation were informative and entertaining it was very basic for persons such as myself. He took those of us that were there around the world in his slide presentation, showing us that Afrikans traveled around the world long before Columbus and that they influenced almost every culture they came in to contact with bringing with them civilization among other things. Dr. Rashidi would often blend some mild humour with his presentation; that was refreshing. One of the things that we in attendance were asked to think on, was how do we view success and has this marred our way forward?
Throughout the night's presentation Dr. Rashidi stressed a number of things. One would be that our people need to have deities that are representative of themselves in image in their homes. Another would be that black people should be with black people as we need to build once again strong family structures. With this he stressed that the black man needs to appreciate, honour and protect the black woman more than he does today. Every black person should belong to an organization that is mandated with some sort of social empowerment initiative was another point he would stress on. One point he was adamant on was that he saw no prominent black figure that had the vision and skill of Marcus Garvey in leading the way forward for us as a people. Comments from the audience to Dr. Rashidi suggested that persons have taken up the mantle of Garvey and thus have received acknowledgement at the United Nations in that they the UN have made declarations of a year for people of Afrikan descent and starting at the end of 2014, a decade for the recognition of people of Afrikan descent. Unimpressed, Dr. Rashidi while commending the work of brothers and sisters to achieve this, is of the opinion that all of this translates into very little in the advancement of our people.
This morning I was afforded the opportunity to sit with Dr. Rashidi and speak with him at length about the previous night's activity and introduce him to this publication. He listened attentively to my views on Pan Afrikanism in Barbados. He would then pose this question to me which in turn I now pose to you, "How do we get the masses to understand that we are in a state of life and death struggle as far as our sovereignty is concerned and our place in the future as a race of people".
I do hope this discussion can be had here as we seek tangible solutions to this issue. Dr. Rashidi is very interested in hearing what you have to say on the matter and will be visiting with us on this website to interact with our readers.
OAH thanks Dr. Rashidi for taking the time to speak with us and we look forward to more interactions with him in the very near future.