A STORY OF CONNECTIONS – THROUGH ‘CONFRONTATIONS’

This is a story of giving and getting; of present confronting past; and of Pelicans…

Guyanese visitor Olga Addo was staying at a Kingston bed & breakfast during a visit to Jamaica, when host Michelle Neita encouraged her to visit the 1968 CONFRONTATIONS exhibition at the UWI Museum. Olga was persuaded by memories of her mother as well as the national connection to Guyanese revolutionary intellectual Walter Rodney, whose banning by the Jamaican government in 1968 set off iconic student protests.


Olga’s mother was the late Rosamunde Charles and it was memories of her mother’s passion for the university that really motivated her to stop by the Museum en route to the airport to fly home. On arrival, she was greeted with a wealth of structured information on student activism and the 1968 Rodney Disturbance. The information on Walter Rodney in particular captivated her, as she shares a close friendship with his niece who is also a former schoolmate.

While touring the exhibition, Olga was reminded of a promise she made to her mother, that she would try to locate a Pelican Annual magazine article that featured Rosamunde while she was a student at UWI Mona (1965-1968). To Olga’s delight, Curatorial Assistant Samantha Campbell was able to locate the article in the 1967 Pelican Annual. Samantha notes that in her brief time at the Museum, it has become clear that the Pelican Annual is more than a dusty artifact or drab historical source: its pages provide a window through which to reconnect with the past and the people of our past.

How did her peers remember Rosamunde, through the pages of the Pelican?
“The manner in which she wheels that robust carriage so confidently through the lecture room even twenty minutes late, gives you just an insight into her vast reserves of resilience and positive Caesar -like approach to life.”

And Olga was able to share with us a scanned copy of a photo showing her mother, with fellow students, at formal dinner in the Irvine Hall dining room, during a time when most students still lived in one of the UWI’s halls of residence and wore their iconic red gowns for official events.

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