Guyana 50 : memories of life under the great white man

doin some click clicking and ran across some life under the whiteman is god reflectioneerin shizzle. a ting called Guyana 50
don’t gets me wrong. i loves to reflect
i does
i sure does

On 26 May 1966, British Guiana won its independence from Britain and was re-born as Guyana.
Nearly 50 years on, we wonder: what was life like in those pre-independence years?
Guyana50 is an oral-history project that aims to answer that question by capturing memories and testimonies from those who lived, loved and laboured in ‘BG’.

we wonder? who lived, loved and laboured in ‘BG’

deer wite man
cud ewe peas cum bak an reskue me from dis here free
we izz nut handlin it wellz
we cyaan rul we silf
we is not reddi
we mist you
peas cum bak peas
life wus so mooch butter under ewe yuu
filip my dare

one bg plantain does full up de pot
especially when hot

8 responses to “Guyana 50 : memories of life under the great white man”

  1. carinyasharples Avatar

    Hi Mark Jacobs, I’m the one producing the Guyana50 project. You don’t know me because you didn’t get in touch to find out what the project is about. To find out that my intention is not to say that “life under the whiteman is god”. Where is that written? I chose to focus on the pre-independence years not because I’m saying life was better then but because it is a particular period in history that some people (like my dad) are still old enough to remember. So I’m going around speaking to some of those people and recording their memories – good or bad, pro-British or anti-British, positive or negative, serious or funny, biased or open-minded… I may be from the land of the coloniser, or what you persist in calling “the great white man”, but my intentions are not to push an agenda and I’m under no illusions that colonialism was ‘great’ or ‘better’ for Guyana. If you would like to help ensure I hear a variety of voices, I’d really welcome any suggestions of potential interviewees to add to those I’ve already spoken to. Or you could just continue to pour scorn on my humble, imperfect attempts. Carinya Sharples

    1. carinya i dont think my opinions can or will dissuade you from continuing your project that’s not the intention
      and i am not a journalist nor is this a fair and balanced blog. these are my views and it’s not necessary for me to consult anyone to arrive at those
      i dont know anything about you or the other folks involved and it doesn’t necessarily interest me. am just sharing my point of view after reading the info. whether it is accepted of loved by others is of little interest to me, they are mine and i stand by them
      having said that, it would be hypocritical of me to recommend folks for this project given my previously stated opinions
      am not pouring scorn on you or your projects and sharing my humble opinion

  2. Please let me reproduce my letter on this subject to the Stabroek News, published January 13, 2016, before the commercialization of the 50th anniversary escalated to the present frenzy:

    Dear Editor
    In today’s Stabroek News there is a letter by Khemraj Tulsie that I just have to comment on. Whilst I agree with most of what he wrote on Guyana’s crying need for equitable and inclusive governance, there were two sentences that I must publicly disagree with.
    “We do not want to be ruled, we want to be fairly governed. We got rid of rulers 50 years ago.”
    Colonial rule 51 years ago was a system called internal self-governance, and decisions on the ground were made by locals who knew the meaning of integrity. Officials, by and large, accepted the checks and balances and weren’t driven by power mania or money greed. During the following 28 years we saw leaders become rulers, and in the 23 years after that we had rulers who ruled for personal riches. Some of us went along, and too few of us resisted. Over those 50 years we have allowed authoritarianism and greed to become entrenched in our leadership and in most of our officials. However well-meaning many of our new leaders may be, they have to deal with a culture of bribery and misuse of power that will take decades to eradicate.
    I have to say in anguish that I see neither the competence nor the common will among our leaders to make real progress on that task in the next four years.
    Yours etc

    Pardon me, Mark Jacobs, if I don’t see that as mourning for life under the whiteman god.

    1. Gordon what’s your point and the point of the letter as you understand it?

  3. My point is that, whiteman or blackman or coolieman at the top, people are affected by middle and lower level officials practising integrity and competence. I see little to celebrate in geopolitical independence if the 50 years were an unfolding of opportunism and dishonesty. Anti-colonialist arguments can distract us from the way the governance system was misused to exploit workers at the bottom. Maybe exploitation is the nature of all rulers anyhow; switching to native rulers didn’t make life better for ordinary people: that’s history.

    1. somebody will rule. what’s your preference?
      I won’t be celebrating anything mself come may 26th but am happy to not be singing God bless Elizabeth

  4. […] public criticism for my writing. Once was for my (on pause, don’t ask) oral history project, which was summarised as as “life under the whiteman is god reflectioneerin shizzle” on Mark Jacobs’ […]

  5. […] public criticism for my writing. Once was for my (on pause, don’t ask) oral history project, which was summarised as “life under the whiteman is god reflectioneerin shizzle” on Mark Jacobs’ slicing […]

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