Tributes to two cultural icons, Sandra "Singing Sandra" Des Vignes and Lutalo "Brother Resistance" Masimba, as well as the presentation of the Spirit of Emancipation Award to two reggae artistes, will mark the culmination of the 2021 Pan African Festival TT Commemorating Emancipation.
On July 30, Calypso Monarch Karene Asche along with Singing Sandra’s United Sisters Marvellous Marva (Marva Joseph) and Tigress (Joanne Rowley), 2020 NWAC Calypso Queen Makeda Darius, and 2013 Young King Calypso Monarch Stephen Marcelle, will celebrate the calypsonian who died in January.
Singing Sandra was known for her powerful songs that uplifted women and spoke on behalf of the voiceless. She won the calypso monarch title in 1999 and 2003. She was a “mother” to many in the calypso fraternity and the Morvant community, where she grew up.
In 2017 the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (ESCTT) gave Singing Sandra the title of endearment, Shikamoo, a Swahili word that means “I respect you.” It has been a tradition of the ESCTT to pay tribute to a veteran calypsonian who has made significant contribution to the social and cultural development of the people of TT.
“We are so happy that we were able to give Singing Sandra her just tribute when she was alive,” said Zakiya Uzoma-Wadada, executive chair of the ESCTT. “Because of covid19, we could not say farewell to her as we would have wanted. We think this virtual concert, a compilation of performances by fellow artistes, will be a significant way. We cannot let the work she did to enhance the cultural space ever be forgotten.”
It is with that desire to pay tribute to those who are alive, that the ESCTT also looks at the present generation in culture. At the Unity Reggae Concert on July 31, conscious reggae artists David Michael Nieves, also known as King David and Marvin Otis Lewis, known as Mr King will each be presented the Spirit of Emancipation Award. The theme of this year’s concert is Awarding Two Kings with One Mission.
The final tribute will be on August 2, when the ESCTT will remember and pay respect to Brother Resistance at Drum Line Uprising. An innovator of rapso music and the president of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation died on July 13.
“Every Emancipation Day he rang his bell for freedom, he rang his bell for justice, and he led the Network Community Organisation and Network Riddim Band, year after year without fail, as they jammed the rapso rhythm echoing the hopes, fears, visions and aspirations of a people’s struggle for true liberation. We will always remember the rapso soldier for his sterling, rooted and grounded life-long contribution to culture and our people’s liberation,” said Uzoma-Wadada.
All events will be streamed on ESCTT’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.