Friday January 22, 2010
Yesterday my first born turned 4 years old. I am so blessed and am reminded of the challenges that face our people all around the world and in Haiti especially at this time. May our Ancestors anchor the ships in our harbour of life always.
Talking about Ancestors whom I praise everyday, my senior brother Roy T. Anderson, a well known Hollywood stunt performer recently left Ghana. He was in Ghana for his second visit. The first visit was for my marriage January 21, 2007, where he attended with his wife Alison. She accompanied him on his second trip - a journey more historic, significant and bigger than the first one.
Roy T. Anderson who is working on his first feature length documentary came to Ghana to complete shooting for his film entitled Akwantu - The Journey. The documentary looks at our family lineage and our connection to the legendary fighting Maroons of Accompong, St. Elizabeth Jamaica.
While the primary shooting look place in the four major Maroon communities of Jamaica and in the home district of the producer (Ridge Pen St. Elizabeth). The Journey also includes amazing never before seen footage at the slave river in Assin Manso where many of our Ancestors took their last bath before being loaded on the ships for the unforgetable journey across the Atlantic.
Many things are memorable for me on the Ghana leg of the Akwantu shoot, however the one incident that sticks out most in my mind is the time the little fishing boat nearly tipped over while we were filming on the Ocean near Cape Coast dungeon. The water at that point was 8 miles deep and we were less than a mile from the shore. Incredible! The waves were so powerful that we could have tipped anytime but the director continued to shoot. And I as his able photographer continued to do the same as we imagined and experienced some of the fears our Ancestors felt as they journeyed to the moving dungeon they would be on for up to 3 months. Many did not even survive the first day on the 'slave' ship.
At this same place at the Gulf of Guinea which flows into the Atlantic Ocean , I shared my most celebrated ode to our Ancestors and we all remembered that the Journey of who we are as Rowe began in Africa with our original names, culture and tradition. I am also pleased that the director did not focus so much on the slave history but shot footage in Cape Coast, Kormantse, Ejisu and Kumasi to show aspects of our life on The Journey before enslavement.
As enslaved Africans, our Ancestors blessed enough to survive the middle passage became the property of their slave master, no different than their animals. They were branded with the master's name and therefore from our mother's lineage where we trace our links through Alfred Rowe, to the Maroons of Accompong back to Africa, Ghana, Kormantse, Akan: this is Akwantu - The Journey.
The Director is presently working on a facebook presence for Akwantu and I understand that it will be launched very soon. The documentary is scheduled for submission to the Toronto International Film Festival 2011. This is around the same time that I will be staging the First Toronto International Oware Tournament.
MACPRI was the principle and official photographer for the documentary. My next exhibit is scheduled for 2012, but in light of Akwantu please look out for the companion Akwantu photo-exhit for September 2011.