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Pitching marbles
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By Kimani Wiseman

Growing up in the 90s in SVG would always be special to me. The evolution of technology has changed a lot of activities. For example, there are more smart phones, tablets, and laptops available to people, which have made communication much easier. However, a lot has changed since the popularity of smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Before the evolution of technology in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I remember on weekends a lot of children would pitch marbles in the different communities. My favourite marble was the “big zoom”. Households did not have cable and internet and for entertainment families and friends would play a lot of games such as snakes and ladders, ludo, chess, checkers, dominoes, Monopoly, Scrabble and card games, including Uno.

On Saturdays, I remember I used to be glued to SVGTV because cable was not available at the time and some of the popular series I watched were Knight Rider, A Team, MacGyver, Magnum PI, Airwolf, Highlander, and Walker Texas Ranger.

The making of kites for Easter was a good experience. Kites used to be made from coconut pointers from coconut leaves, plastic bags and thread. After making these kites, they would then be flown in different villages and some persons would journey to Argyle to fly their kites in the strong wind.

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During the summer months when school was close, I remember some friends and I in the neighbourhood would take coconut branches and use them as bats to play cricket — sometimes in the road and in the park. We would also play soccer in the road and get a lot of stubbed toes when you kick the pavement instead of the wall.

Playing soccer and cricket on the beach were also fun times. Some kids would also go to the Botanical Gardens and ride their skateboard and bicycle. A lot of schools used to have fair with the best being at the Kingstown Preparatory School, with good music and games. Sports meets in the secondary and primary schools had lime-and-spoon and sack races as part of their activities. Music lovers who wanted to listen to music while on the go, Walkman and Discman is what they used. 

Carnival back in the 90s was exquisite. There were a lot of music bands such as Touch, Xadus, Blacksand, Signal, Asterisks, with some really good songs and artistes. Some of these artistes and music bands who made significant contribution to Vincy carnival are: “Perseverance” by Gerard “Rasum” Shallow- (Xadus), “Baila Sanka” and “Don’t Bend Down” by Kendal “Whizzy” Wiseman (Xadus), “Kangaroo” by Godfrey Dublin and “Macco Man”  by Ifil Shortte  (Touch), Blacksand’s “Blow me whistle”, Asterisks’ “Disco Ivy” as well as hits by Winston Soso, and Alston “Becket” Cyrus.

Who remembers Clash of the Bands? Clash of the Bands had all the biggest soca bands clashing at Victoria Park to see who would be the best band. Anytime a Vincy old school soca burst in any party or any part of the world the whole party mashup.

Christmas in Vincy in the 90s was different. A lot of people would buy the real Christmas tree to give their house the true Christmas scent and these trees would then be decorated. A group of guys would go house to house very late in the night with their musical instruments playing Christmas carols. The Ash’s house at Lowmans Leeward with all the beautiful lights and decorations was a popular attraction at Christmas time. People used to share a lot more for the Christmas season and had more love in them. These days people have gotten more selfish.

We must not forget what life was like before the evolution of technology and we must keep these traditions alive so that our children and grandchildren would remember them. For example, sometimes on weekends, families and friends can put down their smartphones and tablets and come together and play some of the board games mentioned above or card games and have some fun.

The Government and some business places can collaborate and organise some competitions and award prizes in different villages to help keep these traditions alive. How about a marble competition in different villages? Or a competition for the best built kite for Easter? This would help to spread more love in the communities and bring persons closely together which can alleviate the high crime rates. We must also continue to honour and appreciate more of our soca artiste from in the past because they are the foundation of where our soca music is today.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

5 replies on “Reminiscing on SVG of the 90s”

  1. Nostalgic! As I read this article it took me back to my days growing up in the 90s. I miss those days, technology definitely has negatively affected us in this regard.

  2. Nostalgia i would say Mr Wiseman. St Vincent has moved on from a caring society to a place of hoplessness where crime is rampant and society not so caring. Politicians for the most part are self serving and most of them only are there only to want a food. What can us do as a local politician has aluded to?

  3. I smile as I realise that as a young person you might have missed the best days of St. Vincent–the 50’s, 60s’ and 70’s. At that time we were only called St. Vincent, not St. Vincent and the Grenadines which is the more appropriate name. Prior to independence in 1979 the Grenadines were called the Cays (pronounced the Keys islands).

    But your nostalgia is well-placed. Seems like modern SVG has lost much of its culture and is sinking fast. It is refreshing to see that young people like yourself remember your past and would like to see changes that would include the past and make the future better. By the way village steel bands, Guy Fawkes night with the bamboo bombs, fishing for crayfish, spearing coconuts when the rivers come down (in flood after heavy rains), weekends at the movies, walking home from school, stoning mangoes, and much more are some activities that people of the 50’s through 70’s might also hold dear. We were much less mobile then. But we were richer and more self-dependent. The worst thing about present-day SVG are the political dependency and profligate spending on imports that we cannot rightfully afford.

    Of course Vincys from the interior village might have had different favored experiences than those living around Kingstown.

    Good luck my Vincy compatriot. May all your wishes come through.

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