#LintonKwesiJohnson has received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa

Reggae_poet_receives_Doctorate2017-05-17_15-32-04.pngReggae poet receives Doctorate honour in South Africa | The Voice Online – After he was presented with a doctorate in literature for his poetry on April 20, Jamaican-born Johnson addressed the large congregation of graduating students and their families. Whilst referring to the controversy surrounding the statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford, Johnson’s speech concentrated on public and personal links to South Africa. He reminded the audience that Jamaica had been the first country to disassociate itself from apartheid South Africa and that one of South Africa’s most revered public intellectuals, Peter Abrahams, who died in January in St Andrew, Jamaica, was one of the island’s favourite adopted sons. The poet also spoke of the links created by reggae music. Johnson reminisced about three key encounters with South African exiles in London back in the 1970s during his time as a Black Panther. Lawyer Barney Desai, race relations officer Lionel Morrison (later the first black president of the National Union of Journalists) and writer Lewis Nkosi all contributed to Johnson’s fight to clear his name after being put on trial for assault when he came to the aid of a black youngster being arrested with excessive force by police in Brixton, London in 1972.

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