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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » IRIE FM’S HOST KA’BU MA’AT KHERU, LAUNCHES ONLINE PETITION TO HAVE BUST OF MARCUS GARVEY REMOVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES!

IRIE FM’S HOST KA’BU MA’AT KHERU, LAUNCHES ONLINE PETITION TO HAVE BUST OF MARCUS GARVEY REMOVE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES!

 The controversial bust of Marcus Garvey. —

Pressure is mounting for The University of the West Indies, Mona to take down a bust of the country’s first National Hero Marcus Garvey which it unveiled just over a week ago.The bust, which depicts a slender Garvey in graduation regalia, was sculpted by artist Raymond Watson and sits in the courtyard of the Faculty of Humanities and Education.

But objectors have criticised the work, saying it bears no resemblance to the hero, and calling it, among other things, “a complete failure”, “a misrepresentation of a great nation”, and “Garvey minus the breakfast program in schools”.

Yesterday, pan-Africanist and host of the of Irie FM’s Running African morning program, Ka’Bu Ma’at Kheru started an online petition at change.org called ‘Fake Garvey Bust at The University of the West Indies Must Come Down’.

Regarding Watson’s creation, she argued, “To unveil and raise a bust which denies this great pan-African of his racial identity, his strength of character, his defiance of the staus quo, and the pride in his African identity, is to betray everything that this great African Jamaican stood for”.

Ka'Bu Ma'at Kheru

Ka’Bu Ma’at Kheru

In a letter which accompanies the petition, Kheru argues: “More than any other Jamaican, Mwalimu Marcus Mosiah Garvey is the embodiment of blackness, of race pride, and of need to accept the black skin/face as a badge of honour and not a symbol of shame…the bust is a deliberate misrepresentation of Jamaica’s first national hero and one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.”

“An authentic representation of Mwalimu Marcus Mosiah Garvey is an imperative in the name of justice, on the principle of truth, and ensuring that these principles are enshrined for posterity. In the name of truth take down that bust and remount a genuine symbol/ representation of Mwalimu Marcus Mosiah Garvey,” Kehru urged.

  Up to late evening, the petition, which is to be delivered to the university as well as the Ministry of Education, had 25 signatures.

Another noted pan-Africanist, Stephen Golding, who is president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), famously established by Garvey, has different views.

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey

“The UWI is private property and they paid for a bust to be put up. Who are these people asking for it to be taken down? If the argument is that it does not look like Garvey, then criticisms should be leveled to the artist and not the institution,” he said, adding that many of the critics do not even participate in UNIA events.

Golding said he understands the argument that Garvey had a “larger than life” personality and that the sculpture should represent that, however, he finds it insensitive to insult the artist.

He added: “If the uwniversity is not happy with it, it is their call. Their campus, their funding.”

Last September, Ka’Bu Ma’at Kheru started a petition for Government to “expunge the criminal records of Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Samuel Sharpe, and William Gordon.

By October, she had over 200 signatures and Justice Minister Delroy Chuck announced in Parliament that there were plans to address the move.

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