Dobrene O’Marde was born on March 24th 1950 to James and Ruth O’Marde in Antigua. He grew up in the Ovals Area and started his education at St. Michael’s Primary. From there he went to Antigua Grammar School and then to The University of the West Indies where he graduated with a BSc in Physics and Chemistry.
Dobrene known to family and close friends as “FATZ” is married to Ingrid Williams from St. Vincent and is the father of 3 adult children –Kaloma, Kayode and Khari.
To say Dobrene is a well-rounded individual – no pun intended- is simply too mild a description for such a multi-faceted person.
I have known Dobrene and his wife Ingrid for at least 10 years as we live in the same neighbourhood – the same street actually in Fitches Creek and usually exchange invitations to each other’s homes for get-togethers. I can tell you, however, that I was not aware of what a dynamic person he is.
Dobrene, I always thought, had something to do with Arts and Culture. I knew he had written books and dabbled with playwriting but I never knew the scope of his involvement.
Dobrene O’Marde is a recognized cultural worker throughout the Caribbean Region. He is best known as a playwright, director and producer. He is also a newspaper and magazine columnist, a speaker , calypso writer, judge and analyst.
His first novel was ‘SEND OUT YOU HAND’, then he wrote the biography of KING SHORT SHIRT ‘NOBODY GO RUN ME’
He has written and produced 5 full length plays and directed at least a dozen plays at the Harambee Open Air Theatre which he formed in 1972.
Some may remember that O’Marde co-authored a play ‘Fire go bun” for radio
He has written calypsos for numerous calypsonians and has judged national Calypso competitions in Antigua, Barbados, Montserrat, Anguilla and St. Kitts.
Dobrene also served as President of the Antigua Jazz Society and produced 5 Jazz festivals – this was a surprise to me as I was not aware that Antigua had Jazz Festivals.
As if this is not enough for one man to do, he is a director and consultant for Kingdome Consultants Inc.
As a Management Professional with over 25years experience in Project Management he has done consultancy work throughout the region. This ranges from institutional strengthening, to public policy on health and environmental planning.
Dobrene O’Marde is an activist. In 2007 on the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the slave trade, a number of activists including Dobrene got together. They formed a group. The group became a committee and has now grown into the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission. Dobrene is currently the Chairman.
This Group seeks to lead national reflection on the institution of slavery which was at the heart of profound social and economic inequality, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice. They also organize activities to include education and awareness programmes concerning the commemoration of the abolition of slavery and the question of reparations.
The voice of the reparations groups around the world, of which Antigua is a part, has caused the United Nations to declare this decade Jan 1, 2015 to December 31, 2024 – The decade for People of African Descent.
This is a call to all governments around the world to launch programmes relating to the recognition of African people, justice for African people and the development of African people.
Such an ambitious but noble quest by an individual for whom I now have the greatest admiration.
Usually, the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone. I saw a quote which seemed very apt to me today and I immediately thought of Dobrene Eversfield O’Marde –
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me!” -Author Unknown
April 5th 2016