GG declares April 8 as National Chief Takyi Day

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Exactly 262 years ago today, Chief Takyi began his short-lived rebellion in St Mary that would be put down by the British, with the support of the Maroons, but not before inspiring the Haitian Revoltion and catapulting him into the history of those who fought to make Jamaica independent.

On Easter Monday, April 7, 1760, Chief Takyi and his followers launched a fierce but bloody uprising that claimed the lives of white masters and overseers on the Frontier plantation and culminated in the capture of Port Maria, the parish capital, from British colonial forces.

Tomorrow, by official proclamation, the governor general of Jamaica will declare April 8 henceforth as National Chief Takyi Day, a lasting tribute to the slave chief, and partial but significant success for a hardy band of Jamaicans who have stubbornly campaigned for Takyi to be made a national hero.

“This is a gigantic gift of this day,” said Prince Black X Robinson, the man most identified with the campaign which has since gone international and won the support of people like Professor Verene Shepherd and former Senator Barbara Blake-Hannah, the veteran journalist and pan-Africanist.

The declaration of Takyi Day will no doubt bring great satisfaction to Culture Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange who worked quietly but doggedly to make the proclamation a reality and will see her handywork on display in a ceremony in Port Maria tomorrow, under the patronage of Mayor Richard Creary.

In dramatic style, Prince X and a group of supporters will arrive at the commemorative ceremony, having timed a three-day walk from Bethel Town, Westmoreland, 70 miles away to end with the 10:00 am start of the event.

As the history goes, the rebel leader Chief Takyi led one of the most far-reaching rebellions — from 1760 to 1761 — in Jamaica’s colonial history, to deliver a decisive blow against slavery, his goal to take control of the island colony and create a black independent nation.

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