The following statement was submitted by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley on the passing of Barbadian cultural icon, Kamau Brathwaite, who passed away yesterday at age 89.
Kamau Brathwaite was easily one of the titans of post-colonial literature and the Arts.
His chronicling of our past through his magnificent works, shone a powerful light on the realities of our present and in turn, guided our sense of self and national identity.
One of the highlights of my tenure as Minister of Culture was Barbados’ excellent presentation at CARIFESTA in Trinidad and Tobago, featuring Kamau’s seminal work “Barabajan”.
But his reach and influence were not limited to his beloved Barbados and the Caribbean. His tenure as an educator at institutions from Ghana to America allowed students of every ethnicity and background to experience his wizardry with words.
Ultimately however, Kamau’s legacy and timeless gift to us all is his powerfully poignant body of work. From “Odale’s Choice” and “The Arrivants” to “Mother Poem” and “Born to Slow Horses”, he leaves us priceless literary treasures that will delight and shape our minds for generations to come.
The numerous stellar awards for his work are testament to the global acclaim and respect earned for decades of exceptional literary craftsmanship.
Kamau Brathwaite espoused the very best of the Barbadian personality and I wish him safe journey to the next realm.
On behalf of the Cabinet, Government and people of Barbados, I extend heartfelt condolences to his wife Beverley, sister Joan, other relatives and friends. May he rest in peace. (PR)