A Wise Mind Publications original.
First page excerpt…
Remembering Bongo Tawney:
Bongo Tawney, aka George Bent, was born in Kingston on April 20, 1934. This was not only a tumultuous time in Jamaica but across the Afri- can world. Marcus Garvey, marginalized by North American forces, would soon leave the island of his birth for England and Italian forces were stepping up provocations for an invasion of Ethiopia. Leonard How- ell, the first preacher of the Rastafari faith, would be tried and convicted of sedition this same year. In a few years the widespread labor riots that were sparked in the Eastern Caribbean would run the full length of the arc of the Caribbean before they exploded in Jamaica in 1937. It was into this unsettled world that George Bent was born.
Little is known by his peers of George’s family or early childhood, but as he came of age in Kingston during the 1950s, he would be one of thou- sands of young black Kingstonian males who sought to establish them- selves as ‘survivors’ in the context of a highly discriminatory colonial re- gime. By the late 1950s George, now in his mid-teens, was a ‘plucky’ (combsome) hustling with his bicycle on the streets of Kingston by running numbers for pic-a-pow, a Chinese gambling game. His route included various neighborhoods in East Kingston and led back to Barry Street in China Town. As a black youth, his poor man’s form of itinerant hustling put him in contract with various Rastafari yards and camps. One of these sites was on the bottom of Paradise Street in the East and it was here that Ras Irice-Ions kept a site of Rasta gathering frequented both by age mates and a few older Rastafari. Those who gathered there called their place Java. Iston-mon, Cruci, Sekle-mon, and Bull Grant were among the age mates of this group while Filmore Alvaranga, Douglas Mack and Bongo Spence were among the older more seasoned Rastafari
who routinely ‘passed through.