Patchwork Culture (Roy Mackpenfield)


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This story is of a young man, who traveled from the place of his birth and took up residences in a foreign country, where he advanced his education ability, developed an engineering career, got married, and became the father of four children. However, having been a disabled person from childhood, as he got older, and being overcome by his disability. Thoughts of passing on his children his cultural history weighed heavily on his mind. “What answers could I give my children”, when they asked the question. “Where did you come from and what is it like”? He dreaded that moment. After all, he has not told them much of the country he was born in or, the Patchwork culture he inherited. It was too great a burden, and he set out on the journey to make good the answers to his Patchwork Culture history, a legacy he is proud to share.

Jamaica and Wales share an historic link dating back to the days of Sir Henry Morgan, the infamous 17th century buccaneer turned island Governor. For Roy Mackpenfield the bond between the two countries began in the early 1960s when he left his Caribbean home to seek his fortune in Wales.
Despite 45 happy years in Newport, south-east Wales, Roy’s heart has always remained in his homeland. With his family now grown, and driven by the need to have an answer when his grandchildren ask him about their cultural heritage, he has finally succumbed to a deep-seated longing to retrace and uncover the steps of his forefathers and gain an understanding of the roots of the nation which nurtured him.
Ignoring the restraints of advancing blindness, Roy embarks on a journey of rediscovery to Jamaica where, welcomed back with open arms, he immerses himself once more in the vibrant sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of his former island home.
In a series of enlightening encounters with community elders and colourful first hand experiences of the island’s surviving customs, Roy traces the largely unwritten history of a society that sprang out of the first dissenting black slaves, the Maroon nation, and is introduced to the mystique of necromancy, Rastafarian ideology and Ganja.
As Roy gradually pulls together the diverse strands of life in Jamaica, what emerges is a fascinating, moving and evocative account of the island’s patchwork culture – a delicate and unique culture sadly very much at risk in the modern era.


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