Gleaner Published: Tuesday May 17, 2011
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
While mixing comedy and poetry, dub poet Yasus Afari will be raising funds for his alma mater St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) through his Pomedy show.
Under the theme, ‘Tek Kin Teet Kibba Hart Bun’, Afari will be blending poetry and comedy at an event to be held at the school on June 26. It will features acts like Ity & Fancy Cat, Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Yasus Afari, Dr Michael Abrahams and Oral Tracey.
Afari explained that the event was started in June 2009 at the 48th Reunion Celebrations as a way of giving back to STETHS, “where I wrote my very first poem, ‘The Travelling Sun’, in the 1970s”
In 2009, the proceeds of the first Pomedy were used to purchase two computers and two printers for the STETHS computer lab.
Afari said he decided to start the event to balance both comedy and poetry.
According to him, while poetry provides mental stimulation, comedy adds high entertainment. “The Pomedy prescription can inspire, entertain and delight audiences with the humour of comedy and the mental stimulation of poetry,” he said, pointing out that the combination serves to “heal and uplift the Jamaican family”.
While he believes Pomedy provides a good mix, Afari said one would have to experience the show to be able to fully appreciate it.
“The proof of Pomedy is in the one-of-a-kind experience it provides. I mix comedy and poetry by hand-picking the very best poets and comedians,” said Afari.
“I think comedy is storytelling and poetry is storytelling and comedy, so we creatively blend all the artistic elements and the artistes to serve up Pomedy,” he said.
Comedy helps people to relax and “therefore provides the foreplay for the deeply penetrating, stimulating and uplifting poetry”.
Meanwhile, Afari said the event is being staged on this occasion to support the establishment of the John Pottinger Entrepreneurial Centre, one of the plans that comes as part of STETHS’ golden anniversary.
In addition to raising funds, he said, there will be other benefits to the school and the wider community.
Benefits of education
“Pomedy will show Jamaicans generally and STETHS students specifically – past, present and future – the benefits and practical application of our education and the importance of giving forward to your school community and being responsible, positive citizens of our country. In addition to this, the entrepreneurial centre will help STETHS socially and economically as well as in its delivery of education and entrepreneurship,” Afari said.
In the process, Afari said, local talent will also be exposed, with the performance of Richie Innocent, a fellow past student.
According to Afari, the response to the show is usually great and the expectations are high.
“We are expecting a capacity crowd for the brilliant line up of poets and comedians,” Afari said.
In addition to his fund-raising efforts, he said he also does regular lectures, performances and motivational sessions. He is also helping with the school’s Golden Anniversary magazine.
Currently in Europe doing performances, lectures, workshops, research and consultancy, Afari is also busy working on an album, several books and a documentary. He is also working on the inaugural staging of the Jamaica Poetry Festival that will take place on August 14, 2011 which is taking place at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre in Kingston.