Nevis History Book – Beyond The Bush & More
A new Nevis history book will aid Primary and secondary school students to learn more about Nevis history in the 1940s to the 1960s thanks to a donation of books entitled “Beyond The Bush & More” (#ad) written by Mr. Hanzel Manners of Hull Ground in Gingerland.
The 14 Nevis history books were presented to Ms. Zahnela Claxton, Principal Education Officer at the Department of Education on November 10, 2022, for distribution of one copy to each primary school. Mr. Manners described the contents of his publication.
“I would venture to think that it is interesting and very readable. It has been written with that in mind so that people would enjoy the read. The book is about Nevis and it comes in three sections. The first section is a very important section; it is Nevis as it was in the 1940s to the 1960s. I was born in 1944 so it’s the way Nevis was when I was a little boy growing up. The second section is about poems and songs, all my creations written over time, and the third section is a personal story of mine. It describes amusingly and some people say very touchingly, my journey from being a teacher which I was for 13 years.
“I don’t know if you know I was a trained teacher. I’m always proud to bring that in, my journey from being a teacher to a chartered accountant, and I think the book has educational value so one reason I decided to present a copy to each primary school and each secondary school on the island, and I’m told that amounts for 14 copies, and the reason for this is, as I said, I think it has educational value. It’s good for the young people to know how it was when they were not yet born,” he said.
The Gingerland native spoke of the importance of documenting the island’s history through the eyes of Nevisians.
“I say in the introduction to my book that we, the older ones, have a duty to pass our stories on and I’m pleased to think that is what I am doing in this section. The second reason is that I assume that the school children would not be in a position to buy this book. It sells at $50 per copy… The third reason is that I want to encourage reading, and I trust that it would encourage people to read; and the last reason is that I want to encourage writing. We have quite a few local people who have come forward to tell their story and this is a good example of that,” he said.
In her response to the donation Ms. Claxton thanked Mr. Manners, while expressing that the gift is a worthwhile one for the students.
“We hope that the students can learn a lot about our past, a lot about our culture in a way that would resonate with them and be meaningful. It is always a struggle within education to find culturally relevant materials, text that speak to our culture and our students can also identify with and so this will be of great value as we look at our enhanced curriculum and our thrust towards reading and writing, allowing our students to write.
“In fact we focus on the writing process. We are happy to hear that you take them through the writing process with the ultimate goal being publishing, and publishing for a student might mean writing it out on a folder leaf and sticking it up on the wall but it is publishing nonetheless and we hope that this will inspire them to go beyond and to publish their materials as well for the public to be able to consume. So thank you Mr. Manners, and it is always a good thing when our people are able to give back and to support the work of education and so we appreciate this contribution,” she said.
Also present was Ms. Londa Brown, Assistant Principal Education Officer in the Department of Education.
A Bit About The Book Contents and Author
About The Book:
The island of Nevis is a bushy place. Wonderfully and beautifully verdant. Trees everywhere. Beyond the bush there is a story. A story of life as it was, of the road that its people have travelled,and life as it is now.
The writer lays out in interesting and sometimes amusing detail the story of life as it was lived on the island in the 1940’s-1960’s. The songs and poems speak to some aspects of the culture of the island and life as it is today. The final section of the book recounts the story of a tumultuous educational journey by the writer, a journey not unusual for people of little islands such as Nevis.
For the older Nevisian, a riveting walk down memory lane, and for the younger ones, an insight into the life that produced them A veritable learning experience. For the non-Nevisian, a taste of life in this bushy little place.
About The Author:
Hanzel Fitzroy Manners was born in Hull Ground, Gingerland, Nevis in 1944. He received his early education at the Gingerland Boys’ School, the Charlestown Secondary School, and the St. Kitts Nevis Grammar School. He later trained as a teacher at the Leeward Islands Teacher Training College in Antigua and obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree in Economics and History from the University of the West Indies. He spent the early part of his working life in the teaching service and later transferred to the field of business.
An Accountant and Banker by profession, he is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB). He was a founding director and first chairman of the Bank of Nevis Limited, serving as a member of its Board of Directors for the first twenty three years of the life of the Bank.
A keen student of the arts, he lists among his works, the lyrics of the school song of his alma mater, the Charlestown Secondary School, Industria et Virtute, the lyrics and music of the lovely folk song, Nevis Lovely Nevis, and his first book, Bamboo Shay, a Collection of Short Stories of Nevis. Beyond the Bush & More is his second book..