Tag Archive | sun

Cultural Elegance Designs – Sun Bracelet

CED Sun Bracelet 2014 by MJA aka Imani

CED Sun Bracelet 2014 by MJA aka Imani

 

 

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Summer made a brief appearance this year  and now  Winter is hanging around, threatening to mug Autumn of its allotted time. I had an idea to just make something that would make me smile, something to bring a little warmth and sparkle. This bracelet is make from 1.5mm silver plated copper non tarnish wire with a Sun Charm. And I must say, it looks really pretty on and makes me smile!

 

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Jamaican English, African Caribbean, Black British……

Sometimes I feel so fed up of wondering what box to tick that I think I should just leave it blank, just for the hell of it. I mean, I was born here in England but if I had a pound for each time I have been asked ” And where do you come from?” I’d be a millionaire by now.  Jamaican English says a lot more than Black British,which sounds like we are all lumped together with no cultural identity. African Caribbean is slightly better as this refers to ancestral links with a continent and a range of islands. Jamaican English defines my heritage and where I was born and is a term I have chosen for myself, not one that has been forced on me.  And don’t even mention Afro-Caribbean, Afro is a hairstyle and as you can see, I do not have an Afro. In fact I have never had one even when it was fashionable, my hair then was too short.
My parents left Jamaica, well , Dad came first and then sent for Mum, with the thought of only staying for a few years. They were young people, full of hope and ambition and with no intention of growing old in a foreign land. And let’s get another thing straight, people from the Caribbean in those times did not come here on a whim, this was in response to a recruitment drive from England. They came prepared to work and boy, did they work AND face unwanted emotions whilst enduring different living conditions.

We Will Do Our Best…….
Large tropical flowers full of rainbow hope
Adorn bodies of treacle chocolate caramel
and forests of black head silk escape from
soft petal bands
snow crisp shirts with razor pleated trousers
compliment defiant felt feathered crowns
eager to show they were ready
Smiling with no fear,
Radiating a perfume of island remembrance
With an aura of excitement
they came
With their youth and passion
Strong backs and sun blessed hearts
They came in their height of fashion
In garments meant for Sunday Best
They left behind
A life well known
They left behind
Miniature versions of themselves
And came with
Communal aspirations of success
To work, to learn, to save
To achieve all this in five years
And then return home again
To say
We came
And we left
We didn’t stay no time
But….
The messages they were given
Were not relayed to the host community
The recruiting officers
Should have been more truthful
Should have been more open
From a small island in the sun
To a larger island in the grey
With
Only countless chimney stacks
spewing dust to darken ancestral kissed skin
so many houses, so little space
but
We Will Do Our Best…..

Imani c 2011

 
My parents left four children behind to pursue this dream and as a result, when they had me, my sister and my brother, we were and still are   referred to as ‘The English Ones’.

Even now I can feel the coldness of that day. I know I don’t look too happy but I was cold and couldn’t see my mum amongst all the other people, I wanted to cry. I loved this dress, so pretty with tiny embroidered  roses and stiff with petesheen petticoats. I didn’t like the cardigan Mum made me put on to hide all this loveliness. I had on a pair of silvery, sparkly shoes that made me feel magical, they were so beautiful. I remember teasing my baby sister the night before the wedding, saying something along the lines of ” I’ve got these and you haven’t” and gloating that she was not a bridesmaid. Mind you, when she was a bridesmaid at another cousin’s wedding a few years later, she didn’t crow like I did, just went about with a large smile on her face. On the big day, she looked really pretty in a golden silk-like full length dress with a large bow at the back, ah…
We lived in a large house in Kennington, that I seem to remember as being full of people all the time. There were several families living there, each family had one room and the staircase seemed to go on forever.  I can still see the yellow table that we had in our room which was by a window.We moved to Lewisham after a while, where my parents had bought a house.It seemed so huge and empty, all this space, all these rooms just for us. And before anyone gets out of their pram to ask how could they afford it, please note that this was due to the Jamaican community saving scheme called Pardnah. For some people saving money in a mattress is fine, but a group of people saving together with regular distribution is even better.
I could never understand why we were called ‘ Coloured’ back then. To my child’s mind, this meant  stripes and swirls of all the colours of the rainbow, not various tones and shades of brown. It Just didn’t make any sense to me. But it wasn’t something I worried about, I was too busy trying to have a good time despite having to do chores and keep an eye on my sister and brother.

Jewels Of Creation

We Are

Sisters of the Morning

Mothers of the Evening

and

Daughters of the Sun.

We Are

delicate shades of Womanhood

perfumed  feminine essence

Princess, Queen and Empress

We

laugh, sing, dance and sleep

amongst our limitless families

bounded the halo of friendship

we each support.

We

speak and reason time without end

so in tune are we

that  unspoken thoughts are shared

through speaking eyes

and welcoming hugs of comfort.

We Are

graceful movers through

this turbulence called life

and provide  a radiant  anchor

to hold a weary sister

above the current of defeat.

Our Richness

for yes we are rich in spiritual love

shines throughout a million eyes

and glows beneath a skin ranging

from the sweetness of night

to the golden kiss of dawn.

I see true beauty

in the face of

all the wonderful women

that I know.

We are

Hope Eternal

We are

Twinkling Inspiration

We are

Regal Determination

We Are

Jewels

Of

Creation

Imani c 2012

 

An Extra Day – Whoppee!

I really should have done something spectacular today, I mean a whole extra day only comes round once every fourth year. But I didn’t. And I still haven’t won the Lottery, so I certainly will not be proposing to anyone.I know this may sound harsh but this is  based on my own experience and I would rather not go down this road again, thank you very much

Mind you though, today was okay, the sun tried to make a couple of guest appearances but was beaten back by broody clouds. According to the weather forecast last week, this week is meant to be really warm. People were getting really excited, anticipating lower gas bills but so far, no. My thermals  are at the ready, just in case it all goes horribly wrong  but I’ve also got my sunglasses waiting in the wings. I tripped up today and now one of my boots looks like it is talking to itself, so this is not a job for super glue. Cobblers.  Ah well, I can at least dream of flying away somewhere……..

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View from plane flying from London to Amsterdam 2008 c Imani 2008

Dark Nights, Bright Thoughts 2

It was a bright day today until the sky had a tantrum and cried tears of rain. I’m sick to the back teeth of rain,  it wouldn’t even be so bad but we don’t seem to get the rain we use to years ago. Nowadays, rain shows up with  an attitude, kicking umbrellas out of protesting hands, drenching everything in sight within seconds, whipped along with a chorus of wind and speed.  Once upon a time, rain would fall so gently, little timid drops first and then a gradual display of respectable water. This was like a  polite warning and gave you time to find shelter.  Now its more like : Get Out Of The Way or You Will Get Soaked and I have a sneaking suspicion that someone has kicked a bucket over up there. I suppose this is just a sign of the times, even the weather is acting up. Summer came and went like a brief memory, I blinked and missed it, my summer outfits never even saw the light of day.

And so we are now into Winter. Autumn made a guest appearance but failed to shake any leaves off the trees. A couple of brave trees decided  to  to go with the flow of the season but now stand looking half naked and embarrassed.

I just wish the dark evenings could start a bit later. By the time 2.00pm in the afternoon rolls around, it’s like the sun is scared of being mugged  and  beats a hasty retreat from the grey darkness. By 4pm, night has fallen, smug and secure, determined to rule for the next 16 hours.

Dark Nights, Bright Thoughts1

I know this may sound a bit odd, but how would you feel about being able to take a walk in your local park, at night?

Now before you all start shrieking stuff like ‘ Are you mad? ‘ or ‘Muggers paradise’ I would only do this if the park was fully staffed and well lit. I think this would be a great way of meeting up and doing things ( all bushes and trees would be fitted with really bright lights) like jogging, walking or just taking in the scenery. On cool summer nights  ( never say hot in England as one hot day means a heatwave) cultural concerts could be held.  I live in a area which is well served by public transport and there at least two parks within walking distance. Just a thought I wanted to share with you all .I was walking back from one my trips to a let night shop to recharge my gas card, when this idea came to me. I’m no stranger to being on the streets at certain times of the night ( and you can get your head out of the gutter for thinking anything kinky) thanks to the wonder of prepayment for gas and eletric. I’m always amazed at the amount of people who are out and about , with a few waiting for an all night bus and the whole scene is so different from the hectic noise a few hours earlier.

Day light is not around a lot and the sun only makes a guest appearance now and again. The days can seem a bit grey like the sun doesn’t want to hang around too long. Afternoons don’t even make it to the evening as darkness starts looming from 3pm onwards.The shops all have various degrees of lighting, some have a gentle sort of soothing light, whilst others are relentless with a blinding light which shows up every worn out facial lines and slightly knackered clothing. I know which shops to go in during my shopping trips to Lewisham, which I know like the back of my hand as I have lived here most of my life.