Rastafari in Guyana has been given the historic opportunity to officially take part in CARIFESTA X. Its participation will take the form of hosting a Rastafari Day on the 25th of August and to set up a Rastafari Village on Independence Square . The Village will showcase the various facets of the Rastafari Culture viz. the performing arts, culinary arts, Fashion design and display, literary arts, etc. For the literary arts section, two major works are expected to be launched for the occasion. These two works are special editions of ‘Church and State’ by Ras Michael and ‘Dread Verses Babylon’ by Ras Ashkar. Both of these books are anthologies that capture and preserve the essence, rhythm and tempo of Rastafari in Guyana . Apart from these works by and about Rastafari in Guyana , a book exhibition will be staged showcasing the Rastafari literary development in the broader Caribbean.
Members of the Coordinating Committee which included Ras Simeon, Ras Supa Lion, Ras Rashidi, Ras Ashkar, Ras Richie, Ras Ian and Sis. Audrey met with the CARIFESTA Secretariat yesterday 1st July, 2008 to discuss logistics. Representing the CARIFESTA Secretariat were Colonel Ross, Mr. Mark De Frietas and Mr. Rampersaud. The discussion centered on funding for the infrastructural aspect of the event and ended with both parties obviously satisfied with the plans so far.
The Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) X is the region’s largest cultural show and will see the participation of over 20 countries. The Festival was first staged in Guyana in 1972 and has returned to Guyana after 36 years. CARIFESTA has its genesis in 1966 when Forbes Burnham, the first executive President of the Republic of Guyana , invited a number of Caribbean writers and artists as special guests at Guyana ’s Independence Celebrations. In 1970, Four years later, writers and artists were again invited to Guyana ’s Republic Celebrations. It was at this meeting that the idea of a festival of Caribbean arts was agreed upon with a mandate to see it materialized within two years.
A Jamaican Rastafari Group, The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, performed at the very first CARIFESTA in 1972. It was reported that ‘The collective performance of the band and its leader with the distinctive African sound and the message of peace and love found favour with the audience’. At that time Rastafari in Guyana was in its infancy but 36 years later has demonstrated remarkable maturity to be able to represent itself and other Rastafari in the Region.