Sankofa-Antigua Partnership

Biography

The Nyahbinghi Theocracy Church School was created from members of Rastafari faith in Antigua, to educate their children in a holistic manner (,) since the system tends to indoctrinate the youth through education, church and state, and the European life style.

Based on Biblical description, We as Rastafari sons and daughters live communally; being our brother’s and sister's keeper, strengthening one another through praise, observing the commandments giving by our Father and the golden rule which is to do unto others as we want for ourselves, raising our children according to law, free from vaccines and all the things this world has to offer.

In the early years of Rasta in Antigua, they were rejected by society. The Rastas in the 70's were known as ‘outdoor vagrants, living recklessly'. The public buses did not pick them up nor could their children attend public schools. It was like white vs black all over again.

 

As the communities grew, so did the children who were eager to go to school, but they couldn't. For the Rastafari children to attend school, their locks were to be removed. Some gave in to the law, weakened by their parents and society and cut off the dreads from their children because yet, their children were getting older with no secular knowledge. Others resisted that law and refused to trim their children's dreadlocks. Instead, they had several meetings with the Minister of Education in the 1980's to plea their cause.

The (then) Minister strongly refused this plea, suggesting that it could only happen “over his dead body”.  So said, September 1990 saw the first batch of Rastafari youth attending school after the Minister’s passing. This didn’t come without its challenges, as the first group to enter school was faced with prejudice, insult and name-calling from the other children.

 

In 2002, the first Rastafari school - Nyahbinghi Home School was formed, using minimal resources and a minor curriculum. As the community grew with children, we decided to adopt a collective approach to home-schooling, using subject teaching according to our strengths. We have been blessed to have the assistance from friends and family who from time to time donate books and other school supplies.

In 2011, the newly formed Nyahbinghi Theocracy Church School was registered with Ministry of Education as a recognized organization with a grand opening Ilabration. Present was the Governor General, the Minister and Director of Education and other invited guests from the Ministry, Principals, supporters, family and friends.

 

Since then, we have been working yearly to educate our children; adding to our curriculum: Bible Studies, African History and Agricultural Science. The school has since graduated 11 of its own to high schools across the island. This also has its challenges, as entering high school at 11 and 12 years is a new chapter in their lives, where they will experience hormonal changes, defining their personalities, peer pressure and the battle between fitting-in and standing-out.

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