Souvenir Magazine St. George's College Old Boys AssociationOntario Chapter

The Reggae Boyz


It all started with the vision of Horace Burrell who saw and identified the effective coaching skills of Brazilian coach Rene Simoes. This partnership occurred in 1994 and a football revolution was born. Not only is this a Jamaican experience but claim can be made by English Caribbean to share the pride of the world cup journey. This was the third trip to the World cup by a Caribbean team and not only did Jamaica make history becoming the first Caribbean team in 60 years to have won a match in the World Cup finals but can also boast of being the first Caribbean English speaking country to achieve participation in the biggest showcase of the world.

It was an uphill battle from day one. In 1994, Jamaica was ranked 96th according to FIFA but edged out more experienced teams such as Costa Rica, Canada, Honduras and El Salvador to earn their place among the 32 finalists in France. By November 1997, they had climbed to the 39th spot. Simoes' strategy was to wean his players away from the British style towards the Brazilian system which has been a proven success over the years and which is a style that is attractive to the Jamaican psyche. The coach certainly had enough play time exposure with 140 matches over three years to mold and develop team-work. It must have been a thrill of a life time when the team was given the opportunity of joining their coach in Brazil for a three weeks practice session. We all know of Jamaican's love for the Brazilian brand of football.
From all accounts, the Reggae Boyz was one of the top 3 most popular teams at the World cup along with Brazil and the host Nation France. Their calypso image of a fun-loving people was evident everywhere. They reflected that typical Caribbean charisma which attracts attention. The reggae ball which was reported to be the largest soccer ball in the world, made the journey to France and was signed by thousands of well wishes to the team. The Jamaica's World Cup song, "Rise-Up" did very well and was one of MTV Europe's most requested songs. Jamaica has that knack of capturing the imagination of the world. One can't forget the Bob-sled team that came from nowhere to be the darlings of the Winter Olympics in the Calgary games. It was not surprising to hear of the promotion of a reggae concert featuring Diana King and The Mystic Revelation Of Rastafari since Bob Marley and Reggae is still outstandingly popular in Europe. It only made good sense to endorse the association of the Reggae Boyz football team with the music of reggae which would have made Bob Marley proud especially since he was so passionate about football. Jamaica also did him proud by naming the team after the music which he made universal.

No one expected the Reggae Boyz to come away with the World Cup. They did play to the best of their ability. They improved with every game and had a very good match against Japan which they won 2-1. What struck me was the spirit of the team. The team went to France with a winning attitude. This does not mean that they felt that they would win the Cup, but winning is not necessarily on the score board. Winning is in attitude and style. Winning is found in inter-relationships and new found friendships. Winning is attracting tourists to the Caribbean shores. Winning is participating in the grandest showcase in the world. Winning is doing the best that one can. Winning is uniting the Country. Peter Cargill says it best "dream dreams because dreams can come true".


A Jamaican Canadian of Prominence

Sarah Agnes Bernard was born on August 24, 1836, in a place called Dirty Pit, located just slightly south of Spanish Town, Jamaica. Her birth was a blessing to her mother Theodora, and father the Honorable Thomas Bernard, as just the year before, they buried two other daughters who had died from cholera. Sarah, or Agnes as she was called, grew up with her 4 older brothers Hewitt, Richard, Phillip and Walter on her father's 500 acre farm. Today, the exact location of their home is not known to anyone in Dirty Pit, but Bernard Lodge and the Bernard Lodge Sugar Estate is definitely a part of the family's heritage.

Her mother was formally a Hewitt, a well known and respected family that had lived on the island for over 150 years. Her father, a socially prominent attorney, represented the Parish of St. Catherine in The House of Assembly, and later on, became an assistant judge to the Supreme Court. In addition to his 500 acre farm, Thomas owned several sugar estates in St. James and Westmoreland areas. With his vast wealth, he was able to afford having his four sons educated in England. However, because of his deep love for his daughter, Agnes was kept close at hand through private tutoring on the farm. It wasn't until his death in 1850, that her mother was able to take her to England to join her brothers and further her studies.

In the early 1850's, two of her brothers, Hewitt and Richard decided to move to Canada and begin practicing law in Barrie, Ontario. After establishing themselves financially, they sent for their mother and sister in 1864. Agnes taught Sunday School at Trinity church, while Hewitt, a lawyer, began writing for "The Herald", a local Barrie newspaper and was coeditor for "The Upper Canada Law Journal and the local Court's Gazette." His articles caught the eye of a rising, young Scottish lawyer and Member of Parliament who hired him as his personal secretary. It was through this business relationship of her brother's that she met said lawyer, and on February 16, 1867, they got married in St. George's Church, Hanover Square, England.

They had one child, Theodora Margaret who was born in Ottawa in 1869. In later years, Agnes became well known for her work in Canadian society. Some of her work involved her heading a movement for the establishment of an Art Museum and Industrial College as a memorial of Queen Victoria, and she wrote many interesting articles for the English press on Canada. In 1902, she was invited to and attended the Coronation of the King and Queen in Westminister Abbey.

When Agnes's husband died in 1891, Her majesty Queen Victoria, to whom she had been presented back in 1867, sent her a letter expressing her deepest sympathy. The letter is said to have praised her husband's eminent public services, and to raise his widow to the peerage, style and title of Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe, in the Province of Ontario and Dominion of Canada. ( Earnscliffe was the property in Ottawa from which she was given the title.) Agnes was described by one who knew her as "A woman of remarkable individual rare gifts and striking personality, who charmed everyone by her vivacity as well as by her intellectual power." In 1891, a writer for the Ladies's Home Journal wrote "How much Canada owes to this lady for the help she has given to the country's finest statesman, only he himself can fitly estimate." Sadly, after both her husband and brother Hewitt died, she left Canada for England. She died on September 5, 1920 and is buried in Eastbourne, a small town on the south coast of England. Sarah Agnes Bernard was truly a Jamaican of great prominence, not only for her work and contribution to Canada, but also because of the fact that the Scottish lawyer she married was none other than Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister.


Bob Marley


He was impoverished, angry, militant, rebellious, loving and forgiving. Above all, his was a music of caring and hope...of lamentation and redemption. He was and always will be Bob Marley.

Bob's characteristic was the essence on which Jamaica derived it's motto ...OUT OF MANY ONE. His music has transcended races, cultures, religion and time as a product of his genetic heritage. He was neither black nor white. He acquired affluence but he remembered poverty and the natural tendency in that state to share whatever little bit was available. He remembered the abuses of being poor and Rasta ...the snobbery at the hands of the 'better class' who talks one thing and practices another. He calls them the hypocrites. He spoke of revolution as a means of attaining fair play. These contradictions seem to portray the enigma of his philosophy. Reggae was his weapon used to ignite concerns which, if unheeded, would perpetuate the erosion of the human spirit and obstruct the case for brotherhood. He was blessed with a talent that enabled him to translate the particulars of Jamaican ghetto existence into universally meaningful terms. His music says it all.

"No Woman No Cry" is a poignant expression of his commiseration and deep concern for the down-trodden. He had the license to articulate in a voice of authority because of personal experience. This was not poetic license. The message transmitted was his exposure to the life of the deprived which suggested that things could only get better. One had to push on through in order to move up to a bright future but never to forget one's past. It is on that foundation that sensibilities are remembered ...the practice of caring. The experience of sharing seemed to have been that bright spot of his life which was the catalyst that triggered the light of hope for a bright future. Everything is going to be alright! he says. This cry of hope was an early prophesy. We see that glimmer of hope in many cases such as the fall of communism in Russia, the fall of the Apartheid in South Africa and the general political outcry from every corner of the world for human rights.

"Talkin' Blues" projects an anguish and cynicism. It talks to disappointment felt when discovering that preachers are also capable of lying. Nothing seems right. The world is an uncomfortable place to live, at least for some while barely surviving. This is epitomized by the lines 'Cold ground was my bed last night and rock was my pillow...'. An hungry man is an angry man which makes him feel like bombing the Church which is seen as the establishment. When everything looks hopeless however '...he stares in the sun , let the rays shine in my eyes, I'm gonna take a just a one step more'. There is always hope for humanity.

And then there is "One Love" which is a simple case of brotherhood. One love, one heart exemplifies the bloodline that transcends mankind. It challenges men of goodwill to get together and feel all right. He pleads in Reggae, which Bob claimed to be Spanish in origin meaning "the King's music", a spiritual interpretation, for solidarity in the fight for brotherly love. His music says it all.

Is Bob Marley's philosophical legacy in place? We know that his music has never been more popular. We know that there are Bob Marley days remembered. We know that he is probably more venerated in Europe than in Jamaica. His name is still magic in the music world but as the LA Times once said "His fans come for the music but it's the message they take away." His mother still runs a charity in his name as a reminder of brotherhood in love. We will remember him best for his philosophy articulated in Reggae music encompassing his deep passions in hope. His music says it all.


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