The late Wordsworth McAndrew was an eloquent folklorist, storyteller and poet in the history of Guyana’s cultural life. “Mac” as he was fondly referred to in every corner, evoked the true emotion of Guyanese creole with his stirring “Ol’ Heigue” that became the most performed poem for many years.
In a recent launch of “My Buddybo Mac – My Brother Mac” – Volume 1 at the Moray House Trust in Georgetown, Roy Brummell, also a folklorist and very close friend of the former cultural icon, captured the memorable life of McAndrew, of the once broadcaster, whose indelible contribution to Guyana did not truly received the recognition it deserved, not even after his death.
Brummell, a country boy, who hails from Dartmouth village, on the Essequibo coast was eager to tell the story of this extraordinary man, and in so doing, recalled the historic figure, with the help of friends, former schoolmates and workmates who knew “Mac” in some way or the other.
The book traces “Mac’s” early public service life and his work as a broadcaster with the Guyana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC). In addition to his phenomenal career as a folklorist that spanned over 50 years, McAndrew’s dedication to the arts and his innate ability to inspire future generation is noted in this anthology.
After being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Guyana Cultural Association, the Wordsworth McAndrew Awards was established to pay tribute to the icon, and keep his memory alive.
“Wordsworth is someone who should be remembered,” said Brummell a teacher and writer, adding, “this is a man who dedicated 50 years of his life to folklore, a man that should be honored, and one of the better ways of doing so is certainly in a book. This is why I selected him to write about.”
“Mac” is hailed as a great storyteller in the book, and someone who played a significant part in preserving Guyana’s folklore, elevating folktales to national prominence.”
Brummell, an author of other works such as “De Great Jackass” was made popular by “Mac” after it was read on the radio, while “Cynic” won awards.
McAndrew who left and indelible mark on Guyana’s cultural landscape, and who many felt was not accorded the prestigious Guyana National Award, was called a cultural giant by Brummell whose play “Adventure,” received rave reviews after its stage performance many years ago.
Brummell who read excerpts from his other book “Half Way Tree” about a silk cotton tree that stands in the middle of the East Coast Village of Michony, noted that like McAndrew the tree is a legend.
Brummell collected stories from villagers about Half Way Tree, and weaved them into a novel.
“Folklore is part of my life, I heard proverbs from my grandparents and mother and villagers who drank ‘bush tea’ while others read folktales everyday of my life,” said Brummell, who won the Third Year Literature Prize while attending the University of Guyana.
He described him as “My Buddybo who was to Guyana what Louise Bennett was to Jamaica.”