Teacher: The late Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego. *File photo
Teacher: The late Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego. *File photo

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Time is witness that, surely, mankind suffers loss, 

except for those of faith, 

who do good, and become a model of truthful living, 

and together practise patience and constancy. Sura 103

The above Surah is so powerful, because it talks about the passing of time, and how quickly and unassumingly it passes.  

For example, February 2014 is gone … just like that, we are now on the advent of Spring.  

In the twinkle of an eye, it’s all over.  

In fact, today is my childhood friend Rosalie’s birthday, and a milestone one at that. I remember when we were sweet 16, and now look at us … sweet, I’m not gonna say!  

Yes, time is marching on and here is March!  

Black history month is over and we have honoured many black heroes through history that helped shape our world today. 

Our heroes should be remembered each and every month, but as a special month has been set aside for us, I must take advantage of it. 

I cannot let this month pass without mentioning one of our own Bermuda heroes and that is Dr Pauulu Kamarakafego.  

Born Roosevelt Brown on November 28, 1932 in Middletown, Pembroke, Bermuda, he later changed his name to Pauulu Roosevelt Osiris Nelson Brown Kamarakafego.  

Destined

I am not going to list the schools and universities that Dr Kamarakafego attended, as I often don’t think the schools are capable of shaping such people but that such people are born; destined with the innate gene of brilliance that causes them to go forth with or without a formal education, such as our dearly beloved unlettered Prophet Muhammad. 

It is certainly not the degrees this man had that made him great, but the heart he possessed. 

Dr Kamarakafego possessed many talents, being an ecological engineer was one of them. 

Locally he is best remembered for his work with universal adult suffrage and organizing the Black Power conference of 1969. 

He was a Member of Parliament in the late 1960s and 1970s. Internationally, he was an expert in his field, working with various governments as well as the United Nations. His contributions are global.

In his own words from his autobiography One Me, he says:

“I learned at a very early age that whatever knowledge I acquire from society does not belong to me. Therefore, my philosophy in life is that we should always give back to society wherever we are –– be it Bermuda or some other place in the world. Giving back can be in many forms, eg, teaching, informing the public of their rights and working with them and volunteer work.”

I take pride and honour in having the distinct honour of being a student of Dr Kamarakafego many years ago and am very proud to say we share the same heritage. 

Islam promotes the value of heritage. Heritage reminds us who we are and guides us to where we must go. 

Our heritage is our gift to the future and we thank those who have made it rich and us proud. 

Long live heritage and long live the Deen!