Oku Onuora, Old Harbour Bay & The Ortanique

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oku Onuora


Oku Onuora: born Orlando Wong is known as the father of Jamaican Dub Poetry. He has led a colourful life in that he demonstrated against police violence and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison for his involvement in the robbery of a post office. It is said that the proceeds were supposed to help fund a community project. 

He started writing poetry in 1971, and while in prison, had his poems confiscated as they were deemed subversive. He won several awards in a local literary competition on 1976 and has since been published. A campaign was launched by university students and local literary personalities for Onuora’s release. He received a pardon and was released in 1977.


Since then, he has toured extensively in Europe. He has written several plays and recorded dub instrumental albums. His last release was in 2010. 

Scene from Old Harbour Bay
Old Harbour:  After slavery was abolished, the slaves were not keen to work the plantations and therefore another source of labour had to be found. Like the Chinese, East Indians came to help fill the labour gap and were paid even less than the ex-slaves. Between 1845 and 1921 more than 36,000 Indians arrived in Jamaica. 

The first group disembarked at Old Harbour Bay and were followed by five times the amount in the following year. The Indians continued to arrive until World War 1, at which time they were sent to various plantations where they were subjected to substandard conditions and often could not buy passage back home to India. 

Ortaniques on the tree.
Today, Old Harbour Bay has the largest fishing village in Jamaica. The harbor is home to one of the best deep-water piers in the island. The main generating power plant owned by the Jamaica Public Service is located in Old Harbour Bay.

I learned several interesting factoids: The Indians introduced ganja smoking and the chillum pipe to Jamaica. They have also contributed their jewellery designs and food to the Jamaican culture.  They also were the first to grow rice in Jamaica. 

Ortanique



The ortanique was discovered in Jamaica in the 1900s. It’s a hybrid – a combination of the sweet orange and the tangerine – and classified as a tangor. It’s name comes from the ‘or’ in orange, the ‘tan’ in tangerine and the ‘ique’ is for unique. The ortanique is extremely sweet and the variety grown in Jamaica has no seeds. It’s wider than the ordinary orange. I’d describe it as squat in comparison. The skin is thin and it is hard to peel without creating many ‘windows’ in the rind. The juiciness is worth it though. 


 

24 comments:

  1. Returning the trek! Nice blog!

    http://bettyalark.blogspot.com

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  2. I'd like to taste that fruit. I really like oranges. And I downloaded the short story collection "Don't Get Mad...Get Even". I zipped through it last night. At first I was expecting a novel and was surprised when it was short stories LOL. I didn't pay that close of attention to the title page. I like the way you write although despite that one guy being a dick, too bad he died on a fence. What made me realize it was short stories was when you switched from third person to first person and I was like...oh okay...new story. I admire that you are versatile enough to craft short stories and then go to novels. I struggle with short stories.

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    1. Mike, it does taste different. Thanks for your take on my writing. I haven't written a short in a while, but it's where I started. One writer encouraged me to write a short story. I did. Another said, you'd write good novels, so I tried that too. :) It all comes with practise.

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  3. I am so intrigued by the ortanique! Is it sweeter than a regular orange?

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    1. Julie, yes, it's much, much sweeter than a regular orange and more juicy too.

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  4. More interesting facts about Jamaica. Are there a lot of Jamaicans of East Indian descent still living there? I've never heard about this.


    Lee
    A Few Words
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. Hey, Arlee, you crossed my mind today. I wondered how you and other hosts were keeping up with all the blogs in the Challenge.

      Yes, there are a good number of Indians, but they've mostly integrated into the general population. Like the Chinese, there are some that marry their own kind and continue with their cultural practices and religion.

      You will find that most Jamaicans are a mash-up of races, hence our motto, 'Out of Many, One People.'

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  5. What a cool citrus fruit. I like it. That's interesting about the East Indians coming to work the plantations and getting paid less. Could be why I ate a lot of curried food when in Jamaica.

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    1. Oh, yes, they gave us roti, callaloo and curried everything-even mangoes. I think employers have this thing down to a fine art. They charged for the food the labourers ate and so there was little left over for them to buy their freedom and go home. Today employers pay just enough so that you have to come back everyday-that's if you're not smart enough to bargain for what you think you're worth.

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  6. Another exotic fruit I must try! Mmm, yummy. A trip to Jamaica is sounding tastier and tastier.

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    1. Put it on your list of things to do before you can't travel anymore - which I know is some time far away.

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  7. I love citrus. I'd love to try the ortanique.

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    1. It's an experience you wouldn't forget. It's that good.

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  8. I love your historical posts on Jamaica. And the ortanique sounds yummy!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

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    1. I've had an interesting time putting them together. :)

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  9. This is awesome learning about Jamaica. It makes me want to take a Jamaican history class. And now I want an ortanique while reading some Oku Onuora poetry! Thanks for sharing, Joy!

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    1. Laura, this island does have some interesting history. I've discovered a whole bunch of things since I started the challenge.

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  10. I loved this post, Joy! Very interesting. Thank you for sharing Onuora's story and the history of Old Harbour Bay.

    Gotta get me some of those ortaniques... :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping in, Karin. Always a pleasure to have you.

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  11. The ortanique sounds very yummy! Oko Onuora sounds like a really fascinating person.

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    1. It is a delightful experience eating something that sugary and yet healthy. Onuora is certainly someone who lived up to his beliefs.

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  12. Interesting people, places, and fruits I've never heard of but would love to try. These posts are wonderful! I'm itching to visit Jamaica. : )

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Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.