Magazine article The World and I

Self-Exile from Wretchedness : 'The African (and the Jamaican) in Me'

Magazine article The World and I

Self-Exile from Wretchedness : 'The African (and the Jamaican) in Me'

Article excerpt

Charles Larson recently interviewed Peter Abrahams.

Charles Larson: With all your continued frustrations in Jamaica, you stuck it out and remained. Why? Any regrets?

Peter Abrahams: I remained in Jamaica because my wife and I had over the years become part of the Jamaican struggle and process, involved with the people and the land, not just its politics. The land is glorious, the people, at their best (and we were fortunate to have known some of the best) without peer: open, warmhearted, imaginative, and with great generosity of spirit. Regrets for having found our ideal "house in the world" in Langston Hughes' words? No way.

Larson: South Africa and Jamaica are woven into your life. Which country do you feel has the greatest potential today? Why?

Abrahams: South Africa is a vast country, the regional superpower of Southern Africa. She is bound to play a dominant role in what happens on the continent. She will therefore most likely have a key role in world affairs as Africa stops wasting herself on internecine struggles and begins to make a worthwhile contribution to peace, love, and justice in the world.

Jamaica, on the other hand, is a tiny spot on a great big sea. She will always depend on the quality of her contribution to be noticed. Without the likes of Garvey and the Manleys, father and son; without the great athletes, the artists and poets and writers and dancers and singers and just plain larger-than-life "ordinary" Jamaicans found in every corner of the globe--and you literally do find Jamaicans everywhere on earth-- without this, she would be just another little tourist island in the sun. …

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