Nana Farika Berhane
Nana Farika Berhane is the Manger and Cultural Consultant for the Moore Town Granny Nanny Cultural Group. Born in Jamaican and based in Washington, D.C., she is an international arts educator, ethno-graphic researcher and community activist for the Maroon communities of Jamaica, particularly the Accompong Town and Moore Town Maroons. She is also a journalist (trained at the Jamaica Gleaner Newspaper and the London School of Journalism), writer of fiction, plays, poetry (with training from the University of the West Indies-Mona, Jamaica and the Instituto Allende, Mexico), as well as television and radio scripts. She has worked as a writer and public relations specialist for the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) and the Jamaican Adult Literacy Project. Nana Farika Berhane is a former member of the Nairobi Institute of Cultural Arts, an ensemble of musicians and performers from Africa and several countries in the African Diaspora.
Information from her lectures on the Jamaican Maroons has been referenced in publications such as Karla Gottlieb’s The Mother of us All: A History of Queen Nanny, Leader of the Windward Jamaican Maroons (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2000). She has been invited to lecture on Maroon women through the Distinguished Scholars Series of UC Berkeley and at universities such as Stanford, UCLA and Yale. Her work with and advocacy for the Maroons and other groups have earned her commendations, grants, awards and/or program mandates from the Smithsonian Institute; Colonel Wright of the Accompong Town Maroons; the Institute of Policy Studies; Nalle Elementary School; the D.C. Child & Family Services Agency; the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities; the Humanities Council of D.C.; the Moorland Spingarn Research Centre; the Caribbean-American Intercultural Society; the Keys of the City of Cambridge; the Piers Program International; the Organization of American States (OAS); the Canadian Save the Children Fund; Oxfam America; the National Task Force on Folk Arts in Education; and the Starbuck Foundation.
Her literary works and media articles have been published in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Her novel, The Story of Sandra Shaw, was at the heart of the Cultural Revolution in literary expression and experience taking place in Jamaica and the Caribbean during the 1970s. Her play, These People Never Learn, won first prize in Jamaica’s annual literary festival contest during that time. Her poetry won prizes in the island’s annual literary contest and were published in the Jamaica Journal, as well as in Europe and in the United States. Her poem “She Wanted to Know,” is published in the WPFW Poetry Anthology, in Washington DC. Nana Farika Berhane has also published short fictions in the Negro Digest, Flamingo Magazine (London), Short Story International, and Swing Magazine. In recognition of her impressive body of work, the Jamaican Nationals Association bestowed on her the Excellence in Literary Arts Award for Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.