"They said that if we produce an album, they would burn it, and some people threatened to decapitate us," Eusi said.
Beyond the death threats, they also dealt with a more prosaic form of disapproval: "Our school principal is a conservative Muslim, and he says music is 'haram'," or forbidden under Islam, Eusi added.
I needed to have a powwow with Eusi (who was also an advisor to President Forbes Burnham) about the gang's threats against myself as well as other fieldworkers, before the situation got out of hand.
The urgency of my mission to ASCRIA, the tense situation at the house, my summit meeting with Eusi, all seemed far, far away--almost in another world.
In "For Eusi
, Ayi Kwei, & Gwen Brooks," Kgositsile also bases such an assertion of commonality over reified difference through a universalizing notion of humanity that does not differentiate people based on skin color:
As the Caribbean (Guyanese) politician and PanAfricanist, Eusi
Kwayana, was quoted as saying, "the power of art that Bob Marley's music represented had done more to popularise the real issues of African liberation than several decades of backbrealdng work (sic) by Pan Africanists and international revolutionaries" (cited in Campbell, "Rastafari as Pan Africanism" 76).
In his poem "For Eusi
, Ayi Kwei and Gwen Brooks", in My Name is Afrika, Kgositsile describes the coming together of his own travel and that of the African-American Black Arts poets as the, "mov[ing] from origin to roots" (73).
When Ghana got independence in 1957, Guyana citizens of African descend celebrated this historic achievement by doning traditional African clothing and by adopting African names such as Eusi
(Kiswahili for black), Lumumba and Kwesi.
This is augmented in the book's appendix by a ten-page interview with Eusi
Kwayana in which he describes the organization, goals, and struggles of the Working People's Alliance in Guyana, the party formed in 1974 to challenge the two parties that had directed the country's path since the 1950s and to provide a socialist, multiracial alternative.