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Time and Memory in Reggae MusicThe Politics of Hope$
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Sarah Daynes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719076213

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719076213.001.0001

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The construction of a socio-political memory

The construction of a socio-political memory

(p.169) 10 The construction of a socio-political memory
Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Sarah Dayens

Manchester University Press

Reggae music expresses a central will: the recognition of a history of struggle – against slavery, segregation and colonisation – which is logically attached to Jamaica, but also goes beyond its borders. This historical memory has three main goals: first, to reveal a history of resistance considered as having been underestimated as well as hidden by Europeans; second, to restore dignity by showing that resistance started with the first captured slave; and third, to transmit this history of resistance, in particular to generations to come. The history of resistance, only ‘half told’, is cherished by the Rastafari movement and transmitted in reggae music, precisely because it has been distorted and mistold. Four major themes that build and form this history in reggae music can be identified: the Jamaican maroon communities and peasant revolts in Jamaica; Marcus Garvey; the figures of the black struggle in the United States; and the independence and anti-apartheid movements in Africa. The socio-political memory conveyed by reggae music concerns the Africans of the diaspora and the Africans of Africa.

Keywords:   reggae, socio-political memory, Africa, history of resistance, Rastafari movement, Jamaica, Marcus Garvey, historical memory, slavery

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