‘Independence is we nature…’: Growing up in a postcolonial Caribbean country

Cecille DePass


By incorporating oral and narrative history from personal and family stories, this article draws on
Caribbean idioms and cultural characteristics as a form of ‘decolonizing one’s mind’ (Pieterse
and Parekh, 1995; Lamming, 1960; Ngugi wa Thiong’o, 1986). Divided into three related parts,
Part One portrays the Eurofeminist adage that the personal is political. Family history and
memory become the focus for retelling stories of the severe restrictions for education and
mobility in a former Crown colony. Part Two highlights a few personal non-formal learning
activities which acted as sites for learning compliance and resistance in playful and nonthreatening
ways. Part Three moves to the world of the large working class population, a
historical site of resistance to oppression. By concentrating on women’s lives, it reveals some of
the social tensions between women and men and, as important, illustrates the efforts of women
through a collective to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

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