Sliva striding for Pure Gold Part 1
Granville, an inner-city community in St. James, Jamaica, has a dark side to its name but there are people who believe that out of bad can come good.
One such person is dancehall atiste Sliva who is determined to be a positive role model despite the challenges, including violence. These are the people we need to highlight.
His song, “Board House”, represents more than poverty. It is a testament that one from a humble beginning can achieve greatness. We do not need to get stuck in poverty all our lives, once we strive for excellence.
This is Sliva’s story, an eight-part series that I hope will inspire not just youths in Jamaica but worldwide.
First of a eight-part series.
“Some of us easily forget our past for some reason or another. We should never forget our history. And, we must aspire to change what didn’t work well for others.”
At age six, Sliva, born Oshane Brown, was a grade one student attending Catherine Hall Primary school. This was where he began his early childhood education. And he was among the good and the bad.
“Many children from my community (Granville) were not going to school. Some had financial problems as their parents could not afford it. They lived in poverty, characterized by a board house with inadequate running water and proper sanitary convenience.
“I now realise, as I look back, that these people felt there was no way out of poverty. And that the one word which could have changed their lives, HOPE, was missing from their vocabulary.”
“There were nine of us between mother and father. I was younger than five of my siblings.”
Sliva quickly became his teacher’s pet – a term used to describe a teacher’s favourite student.
“Perhaps, I became her pet because I showed leadership qualities and this was evident in being elected a Perfect in sixth grade.”
“One needs to be honest, have self-respect, and be willing to help others”.
Sliva explained that music was in his bloodline. “My father Ewan aka Razor Brown was a recording artiste, well-known in party circles by the songs he did.”
“Dave, my uncle, played the piano and guitar for several bands, while his son, who is my cousin, is also a recording artiste.”
“I wanted to be a teacher. This would allow me to have an impact on people’s lives. I would be giving back to society some of my values, thus creating a better society.”
“My football coach felt I was multi-talented. That I had the ability to be a great footballer. So, he had me training hard and I wanted to be like Messi who shows great determination on and off the field; scoring multiple goals and getting great respect from his peers.”
“I played center midfield, which comes with moving the ball to other players and defending my goalkeeper.”
“My school team entered LIME Football competition where we competed with teams within the parish of St. James. My team made it to the parish finals on more than one occasion. We also played in VMBS All-island Football Championship but were knock-out before the finals.”
“Three schoolboys were selected from Catherine Hall Primary to represent St.James. I was among the three boys.”
“My coach had much faith in my judgement. He would allow me to help to select my school’s team. And I was the captain of my team once.”
I have about five medals in football and countless medals in track and field.
Be sure to read Part Two of an eight-part series.
(Photos courtesy of Deejay Sliva)