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I travelled to Jamaica with historian Cecil Gutzemore. Whilst in St Thomas at the grave site of Bogle, I met an elder woman who walked with a limp. Meeting her was one of those ‘chance’ moments that transform your life…

Pictured: The late Philip Bogle – Paul Bogle’s great-grandson

Aimimage Productions was commissioned by the BBC to produce a drama-doc series Hidden Empire. One of the ideas included Jamaican Baptist leader Paul Bogle. He was a national hero in Jamaica and many of the reggae artists including Bob Marley sang about him – yet hardly anything was written about him in the history books.

I was approached to see if I could put some meat on the bone to make this project a reality. I realised that a trip to Jamaica was necessary to make any sense of who Bogle was and to connect to his spirit.

I travelled to Jamaica with historian Cecil Gutzemore. Whilst in St Thomas at the grave site of Bogle I met an elder woman who walked with a limp. Meeting her was one of those ‘chance’ moments that transform your life. She put me in the way of Bogle’s great grandson Philip Bogle whose story played an important role and gave life to the film.

I went back to London with the meat on the bone I was looking for. Philip Bogle agreed to be interviewed. The only problem was that he had lost his hearing aid and I was concerned about his answering the questions I wanted to ask. As it turned out, no questions were needed and he just spoke recounting the story until he was done. That was it!

He spoke as if he was there – I could hang the film on his story. He died a year later. I felt a deep sense that he was hanging on to tell this story.

 

Menelik-Shabazz

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