Sharing the culture of Trench Town


Sharing the culture of Trench Town

Observer senior writer

Sunday, May 10, 2020

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A long-time resident of Trench Town, Donnette Dowe has seen the trials of urban life up-close and personal. Like many inner-city Jamaican communities, crime, teen pregnancy and poverty are rife.

The 50-year-old mother of five children (ages 26, 24, 21, 16 and 12) is director and tour manager for Trench Town Culture Yard, a renovated tenement which was once home to Bob Marley and his family.

She has held that job for eight years, relating stories of the Marley legend daily to Jamaicans and tourists from all over the world. Dowe also owns the Talking Blues Hostel, an affordable accommodation for tourists, just a hop and skip from the Culture Yard.

As a single parent, she feels it is imperative to be a role model in a community that has produced its share of enforcers, such as Tony Welch and Anthony “General Starkey” Tingle.

“I want to empower the women from my community to have more self-reliance, be more independent and think more out of the box. But most of all, they need more jobs and not just for the females but the males as well,” she said.

Dowe is the eldest child for Brent Dowe, former lead singer of The Melodians, one of reggae's great harmony groups. She grew up in Trench Town and raised her children there.

Though the community has an impressive history in music and sport, the notoriety of colourful figures like former Member of Parliament Tony Spaulding, Welch and Tingle often overshadow those accomplishments.

A grandmother of six children, Dowe empathises with many hard-working women who fend for themselves. But despite all its challenges, life is never too tough.

“I am a very independent single woman, grew up my kids without a father figure around them...I am a humble person, very kindhearted, who also enjoy life. For me, just waking up in the morning is truly a blessing,” she said,

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