April 2020 Volume 16

Fortis Friday in Toronto

Dr. Cedric Lazarus
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On Friday, February 21, 2020 at the quarterly Fortis Friday get-together in Toronto approximately forty-five KC Old Boys and friends turned up at 7pm to hear former KC English teacher and prominent author Rachel Manley read excerpts from her novel The Black Peacock. It was also the occasion to say goodbye to KC Old Boy Lloyd Wilks who will be returning to Jamaica after a four-year stint as Jamaica’s Consul General in Toronto.

After reading excerpts from The Black Peacock Rachel engaged the audience in an animated and lively discussion about her career as an author, including how and where she finds inspirations to continue writing over these many years. She explained that she selected to read fromThe Black Peacock rather than her latest novel The Fellowship, because the latter was widely regarded as a “chick” book. Touching on her teaching experience at KC she explained that she took the job to teach English at KC in the late 60s because during her student days at UWI Mona her male KCOB friends and classmates only spoke about KC and the legendary Douglas Forrest!

In the audience were several of her former students who were in form 1C in 1968 and 1969 respectively and they all engaged her in deep conversation not only about their many shenanigans as preteen boys but also about the deep admiration and respect that they had for her. She and her husband Israel, brought about 30 books and all were sold with many persons asking why she did not bring copies of all her books, including Drumblair and Horses in Her Hair, as they would certainly have purchased them all.

Lloyd Wilks (KC class of ‘81) arrived in Toronto as Consul General about four years ago and he will be returning to Jamaica in the next a few weeks. KCOBA (Toronto) president Clive Barriffe presented Lloyd with a commemorative Fortis watch and thanked him for his exemplary service to both the KCOBA Toronto Chapter and the entire Jamaican community in Toronto. It was mentioned that during his tenure in Toronto Lloyd never missed a KCOBA function be it the Walkathon, Annual Dinner, Spring Dance, General Meetings or Fortis Friday events and that he often made his office and home available for meetings of the association. Lloyd responded that when he first arrived in Toronto he saw an already vibrant KCOBA and that he simply joined to give his support and encouragement and to challenge the association to greater heights. He jovially invited those present to visit him at his farm in the hills of Portland, but not all at the same time, whenever they were in Jamaica.

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