Jamaican Hall of Fame: Mutabaraka


Mutabaraka, also known as Allan Hope, born in 1952 in Rae Town, Jamaica, West Indies. Mutabaraka was a student for four years at Technical High School in Kingston. After completing his studies, he took an apprenticeship in Electronics. His apprenticeship ended after a short while and then he took a job working for Jamaica Telephone Company. While working at the Phone Company he became interested in Rastafarianism, he began comparing it to Catholicism.


He began searching for more meaning in each religion. His quest ultimately lead him to become a Rastafarian. Around the time he became a Rastafarian, Jamaica was experiencing a period of “Black Awareness”. Mutabaraka became drawn to this underground movement. He started reading several enlightening books which made him start thinking like a revolutionary. His Rastafarian lifestyle and participation in this era helped him to find his poet’s voice.


“Muta” as he is affectionately called, writes about blacks from the ghetto. He writes in a language that ordinary people can understand. Although he as been called a “Dub Poet,” he prefers to be known as a “Protest Poet”. Some of his works include, “Nursery Rhyme Lament”, “Dan Is The Man in The Van”, which was made into a famous calypso song by “The Mighty Sparrow”.


In his poem “Revolutionary Poets” he tries to speak to the turbulent young people of our times. His poems are written to translate everyday life, but it is really about the harsh realities that lurk beneath life itself.