Written by Dr. Claire Nelson

Dear Aunty:

I know this is late, but me just get the news.  I cant believe is true so I’m writing to authenticate the veracity of the statement that dem a plan up fe kill off Anancy.  See yah ma, when Aunty Girlie tell me frighten, me frighten so till that me almost drop dead right  there on the spot. Same time me bawl out  ‘Murder!  Blue murder!’   Aunty  Girlie had was to tek time fan me, so cool me down.  Me cyaan believe things gone so bad.  That de violence spread so far, that down to teacher a carry on wid dem slackness.  No man!  Nutten couldn’t go soh.  Teacher a destant smaddy.  A mus lie dem a tell.   No teacher would a sey such a ting like ‘Kill off Anansi!’  A mus lie dem a tell, an give teacher bad name.  Which teacher could so stupid fe want fe kill off we national treasure.

My modder was a teacher. She was Head Teacher at one of de best primary schools in Jamaica and sake of dat, me know plenty teacher.  Me is one of de few people me know who use to like most of my teacher.  And as far as I know, except for one or two cubbitch one –  teacher used to be peaceable people.  Although dem used to learn we all kind of English foolishness in dose days, like bout de heather on de Scottish moors dem, and never teach we nutten bout de bush dem  eena de school yard – dem was good people.   The good teacher dem used to tek dem hand tun fashion and tell you how de English story dem relate to de jamaica condition.  Me know dat is why me turn out good. And even doah de one Maas Mutty tek it cuss me pon radio sey cause me live a foreign, me nuh have no business ah talk bout what Jamaica supposed to do, for dat is Jamaica business,  me feel strongly sey as a proud flag carrying member of the Jamaican overseas nation, me have a right fe mek my feelings known.  Further more even more important than my contribution to the national psyche through my  contributions to the furtherance of Jamaica’s profile over here in foreign, I have to send home money to help mind my modder – cause government money cannot mind her… cause as heverybody know, dat rain a fall but de dutty tough –  even fe good oldtime teacher.   But I digress!  As I was saying Me no believe say dat a Teacher coulda really a call down death and destruction pon Anansi.  

So me writing fe express me outrage and concern and fe find out how de story really go.  Ascorden to how Aunty Girlie give me, she sey she hear dat  some teacher sey dat is time Anansi is replaced by a more suitable image because Anansi glorifies de ginnalship in people.   Me want fe know  if is de same Anansi  whey  me know, she a talk bout.  Me not saying is not true sey Anansi have some ginnal ways still.   Me all write a DJ song bout it. In fact me a plan fe  look a producer like Scratch Perry fe help me mek a money, off a de song.   But if a true dem a tell sey dem want fe execute Anansi, me haffe move faster.   Me cyan believe sey  people coulda so ignorant and bad mind.   As far as me know,  and me tell Anansi story all de time,  Anansi story is life learning story.  For example, Plenty Anansi story, Anansi get juk when him try greedy too bad.  Him always get soak.   Dat is a opportunity fe teach people bout honesty.   De few time when Anansi  ginnal and get way  ah no really nutten serious him do like tief money or tief food.   Is when odder people try tek advantage of him cause him lickle.   Dats is how Jamaican people come to know sey we likkle but we tallwah.. We nuh mek we small size stop we from conquer de world.   And furthermore, Anansi travel wid we from Africa!   If it wasn’t fe Anansi we woulda never  know sey we connect up to de Ashanti people dem in Ghana.  And dem used fe run tings!  Furthermore Anansi help us through tick and tin, him help we survive slavery,  four hundred years of story keeping and story telling dat bandage we batter bruise mind and soul … and now dat dem have TV and flim, dem a spread lie and want fe kill him off.   If Anansi was good fe tek we out of old time slavery, me tink sey him equally good fe tek we out of dis new time slavery we into now.  For dis is mental slavery!

Before dem come up wid story fe modernize  Anansi,  fe help we through  de new kind of slavery dat we finding we self into, dem a talk bout kill off and dash way.   You see how dem love foreign tings in Jamaica… so tell dem import and internalise de American dashway mentality.   America have big big comic book and movie wid SPIDERMAN and call him SUPER HERO…. and we a dash wey fe owna  Spiderman ANANSI !  What a stupidity!   Dem people who a call out fe crucify Anansi  a suffer from de same said mental slavery whey Brother Bob Marley was a sing  bout.   And If teacher enslave, den  Jamaica in a problems bad indeed.  Noh vision no dey and so we a go perish.   National anthem say soh!   Ah no me!

Yuh see me? Sometime when me want fe explain how foreign life feel to Jamaican people,  me just mek up a Anansi story fe explain wey me mean.  Me all go a big conference an tell story how Anansi mek WORLD PEACE.  Me mek up story bout how Anansi mek we free from slavery!  And me tell story how Anansi mek we een slavery!    My Anansi noh easy.  Me noh have no fear fe mek people know bout Jamaica Anansi.   Me tell dem say dat Anansi is a FOLK hero and me is one of Anansi FOLK so me free me tell any story bout him ascorden to how me find him.   And me know sey dat one hundred year from now, when people a talk bout ‘One time Long Time”, is my story bout Anansi first trip to de moon or de one bout Anansi eena  de UN dem a go tell.  So me naw mek nobody teacher or minister or any oder leader prescribed or proscribed, not even de PRIME MINISTER come KILL off Anansi just so.  No way!

If is true sey dem a call fe de arrest and execution of Anansi, me a go launch a Save Anansi Campaign.   Anansi is a World Heritage Figure.  I not taking it lightly cause as you slip you slide.   First is Anansi, next  you know dem tek on Nanny and start complain  sey she shouldn’t be we national hero because it  a teach de pickney dem fe rely pon magic bullet.  Den de next ting you know dem tek on Garvey, cause dem a go sey he was a deportee.  Every body have 20/20  HINDSIGHT vision   We need prayers.  

IMe naw mek it just go so.  Bad enough dem a kill off innocent people a Jamaica every day, police and thief alike.. now teacher a turn killer to.   Well it naw go goh so.    Send come tell me quick quick… so me can start me Save Anansi Campaign!

Your loving niece,

Cousin Claira


Claire A. Nelson Ph.D.
Founder & President
Institute of Caribbean Studies, Washington DC


About the author

Dr. Claire Nelson