Yasus Afari

A leader of the roots-reggae revival during the 1990s, Yasus Afari shows similar passion for the preservation of Jamaica's creative arts.

The poet's latest venture, the Jamaica Poetry Festival, takes place Sunday at Louise Bennett Garden Centre in St Andrew.

Its 13th staging honours the legacies of three legends — folklorist/actress Louise Bennett Coverley, actor/singer/activist Harry Belafonte, and Lebanese philosopher Khalil Gibran.

This year, emphasis will be on creative writing, its rudiments and importance to documenting a country's culture.

"The secrets of creative writing are, to be aware and conscious of history, past, present and future, so that we can be in tune to the pulse of our people, of humanity and the pertinent realities of our social environment as together we navigate the journey of life. In doing so, we are able to provide the light to guide our steps," said Yasus Afari.

The creative writing sessions will be conducted by Calvin Mitchell of Edna Manley College and Dr Joseph Farquharson of the Jamaica Language Unit at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

Yasus Afari is among the presenters for the Feast of Poetree Showcase. Others are Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett, singer Boris Gardiner, professors Edward Baugh and Clinton Hutton, Jean Lowrie-Chin, and Dr Winsome Miller-Rowe.

Another key aspect of the day-long event is the Visions of Hope Charity Dinner at 4:00 pm. All proceeds go to the Jamaica Society For The Blind.

Yasus Afari was a key member of the roots-reggae renaissance in Jamaican dancehall music 30 years ago. Along with singer Garnet Silk and deejay Tony Rebel, he led a rebirth of consciousness through the Christian Souljahs movement that also included singers Everton Blender and Uton Green, and singjay Kulcha Knox.

He is also founder and organiser of Poetry in Motion, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in February.

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer entertainment@jamaicaobserver.com

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