We Likkle But We Tallawah – Celebrating Jamaica’s Independence

Published: Saturday 6th August 2016 12:01AM

Updated: Saturday 6th August 2016 8:45AM

Happy Birthday Jamaica!

Today, Jamaicans across the world celebrate independence from the United Kingdom.

Many events led up to the historic day. The Maroons waged war against the British twice, which led the British to deport hundreds of them to the newly colonised Sierra Leone. Several slave revolts took place, as well as uprisings led by the likes of Sam Sharpe, prompting the British to end the slave trade.

The loss of slave labour, the fall of the sugar trade and continued rebellions set the scene for the emergence of activists such as Marcus Garvey and the empowering Rastafari movement. While Britian bore the burden of the Great Depression and two World wars, Jamaicans continued to organise, revolt and demand the right of self-determination. The long road to independence came to an end on the 6th August 1962, however the spirit of determination and resilience among Jamaicans lives to this day.

So on the 54th anniversary of  Jamaican independence, here are just a few times we proved that we may be likkle but we tallawah (we may be small but we are strong and fearless).


“If you haven’t confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.” Marcus Garvey


“There was always someone else in the way until I worked out how to make myself the one who was in the way of others.” Grace Jones


” I really hold unto my culture because it is what made me.” Tessanne Chin


“We can all fight with our brothers over crumbs. Far harder to fight the one who makes guns. We can all talk sh** and get two dollars. Far harder to be the one who seeks knowledge.” Akala

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” Bob Marley

“I have been training well coming here, and I figure that if I can get this far, it would take a truck or something to run over me to stop me now. God has helped me to get this far and I am just going out there to run.” Merlene Ottey


“I have never ever sought validation from the arbiters of British poetic taste.” Linton Kwesi Johnson


“The 180 years of slavery in Jamaica remain fresh in living memory. There are people alive in Jamaica today whose great grandparents were a part of the slavery system and the memory of slavery still lingers in these households and communities. Those 180 years were followed by another 100 years of imposed racial apartheid in which these families were racially oppressed by British armies and colonial machinery. The scars of this oppression are still alive in the minds and hearts of million Jamaicans.” PJ Patterson


“You can be free and still be owed for what happened in the past. You can be and still not be free. You can be free and still be living in a one bedroom zinc fence house, yet the 1% – the uptown- is white, is light skinned.” Kokab and Gladstone


“I have a few shades of deeper brown upon my skin which shows me related to those poor mortals you once held enslaved, and whose bodies America still owns. Having this bond, and knowing what slavery is, having seen with my eyes and heard with my ears proof positive enough of its horrors, is it surprising that I should be somewhat impatient of the airs of superiority which many Americans have endeavoured to assume over me?” Mary Seacole


“For me “black feminist” thought isn’t abstract. It’s me. I am black. I am a woman. I am the movement. I am the thought.” Cecile Emeke


“Am I bossy? Absolutely. I don’t like to lose, and if I’m told ‘no’, then I find another way to get my ‘yes.’” Naomi Campbell


“There are better starters than me but I’m a strong finisher.” Usain Bolt


Lead Image taken from the Strolling series.


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