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Ten Things to Teach Your Daughters About The Right Excellent Nanny of the Maroons

Written by Kerri-Ann M. Smith

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  1. To date, Nanny’s full name is unknown.
  2. Nanny is the only national heroine of Jamaica.
  3. Grandy Nanny, as she is called, was a true Ghanaian matriarch, whose powerful presence was well respected among the maroons. She was staunchly opposed to slavery and became a stalwart leader in the fight against the British.
  4. Legend has it that Nanny used her buttocks to block bullets from the British army. It is said that she returned the bullets using her butt cheeks.
  5. Nanny was skilled at using the abeng to notify her fellow maroons of any impending danger heading their way.
  6. Nanny trained her people in guerilla warfare and taught them how to hide among the trees using leaves as camouflage to outwit the British army.
  7. Nanny is said to have been a practitioner of black magic, obeah, and other mystical and metaphysical traditions.
  8. Nanny Town is named after Nanny and serves as a reminder of Nanny’s leadership and legacy with marronage in Jamaica.
  9. Though she lived during the 18th century, Nanny was not named as a national hero until 1975.
  10. The Jamaican $500 bill bears her image and has become one of the most widely circulated notes in Jamaican currency.

Nanny stands as a reminder for all Jamaican women to be brave and “tallawah” when faced with adversity, injustice, and oppression. When they ask why we are so feisty, tell them we got it from our Grandy Nanny!

For more information on the legacy of Grandy Nanny, read: Jamaica’s True Queen: Nanny of the Maroons and A Tribute to the Loud, Feisty, Obnoxious Jamaican Woman

About the author

Kerri-Ann M. Smith

Dr. Kerri-Ann M. Smith is an author and educator. She is an Assistant Professor of Academic Literacy at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. She is a patois translator, a wife, and the mother of a gregarious little girl. She is a senior writer for jamaicans.com.