Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gullah Branches, West African Roots

Ron Daise's most recent book Gullah Branches, West African Roots has been released to excellent reviews.

Gullah Branches, West African Roots is a memoir of a Gullah man discovering personal and cultural connections with West Africa through sojourns to Ghana and Sierra Leone. Ronald Daise, a Gullah native of St. Helena Island, SC, utilizes poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, songs, photographs, and his own unique voice to involve readers in a vibrant journey to cultural and historical roots. The book is a sequel to Daise’s Reminiscences of Sea Island Heritage (Sandlapper Publishing, 1986).

In the Foreword, U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC), who championed the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act, states:

Ron has exposed the beauty of a once closeted culture, and compelled his audience with a sense of urgency to preserve it. This work inspires pride in those with Gullah roots, those previously shamed by others outside and even within their own families. Ron is telling their story and the story of their ancestors. It is a story of faith, of courage, and of character. Gullah Branches, West African Roots is an unabashed celebration of a vibrant culture. Through the eyes of Ron Daise, we experience the daily life of Gullah people past and present. We can almost hear the sounds of Negro spirituals ringing in our ears, feel the romantic language of the Gullah people rolling off our tongues, taste the curried rice and other sea island delicacies, and see the rich colors that express such deep meaning within Gullah traditions. This is a story of hope that breaks the literal and figurative bonds of slavery. Ron has thoughtfully and thoroughly documented the journey of the Gullah culture and instilled pride in all those of Gullah Geechee heritage. His anecdotes are compelling and artfully weaved, much like the sweetgrass baskets that have come to symbolize the Gullah culture. I commend him on this extraordinary book, and I would recommend it as a “must read” for students in South Carolina schools."

Daise's journey to understand, embrace and celebrate his Gullah culture led him from the islands of Coastal South Carolina to the islands and coastal countries of West Africa. This book documents that journey through photographs, essays, story and song and also serves as an excellent resource for others. To that end, Daise has developed a lesson guide that will assist educators throughout the country who wish to use Gullah Branches, West African Roots in their classrooms and lecture seminars. For more information about Gullah Branches, West African Roots and its accompanying study guide, as well as opportunities for Ron Daise to make presentations to College, University and community organization, please contact him at


tcslawder said...

What a great show you guys had. I watch it with my son when he was about 2 or 3 yrs. old, now he's 19! Can you believe it! I still catch him singing the theme song from the show over the last few years (ha ha). I love seeing you and your wife sing together (as the two of you looked lovingly into each other eyes)- I always wanted to do that with my wife, but between the 2 of us we sounded like the polliwog :} Stand firm in your values; keep teaching it to others. In this day & age we have truly lost our way. God Bless you & your wife's life work! KEEP IN MIND ITS NEVER FOR NOTHING TO STAND UP FOR WHATS RIGHT AND DESENT IN THE WORLD! May your show air in reruns 4 EVER as a testament to the traditional Black American family life!

T. C. Slawder

Tash said...

Love, love the program, even to this day as they show the reruns. God bless you all --Ron and Natalie Daise and the whole cast, blessings to all. My son who is 3 1/2 yrs old loves your program and he doesn't even know I loved watching you in the 90's along with my younger brother when I was almost out of high school. You all look fabulous and are fabulous continue being a blessing to all with your art.