Culture of Guyana

Did you know? While musing the topic of Guyana’s culture, the lyrics from an old but warm, uniquely motivational and encouraging childhood song, “Born in the land of the Mighty Roraima” comes to mind:

Mt. Roraima. Elevation 2,810 m (9,220 ft)

So, like the mountains, the sea, and the rivers
Great, wide, and deep in our lives we will be

Onward, upward may we ever go,
Day by day in strength and beauty grow
Till at length we each of us may show
What Guiana’s sons and daughters can be![1]

Arguably, in his hunt for El Dorado, Sir Walter Raleigh missed what even back then could have been easily imagined. This “Land of Many Waters” offered significantly greater returns of unmatched natural beauty and promise as opposed to merely – gold… Today, Guyana is a rich geographical treasury of flora, fauna, and warm cultural hosting that historically reflects:

The influence of African, Indian, Amerindian, British, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Latin American, and Dutch cultures.[2] And somewhat understandably, Guyana is one of a few mainland territories in South America “easily confused” as part of the Caribbean…

But despite visual ties to the Caribbean, obviously the above list of people groups morphed into a unique, enchanting cultural mix. For visitors to Guyana, the culture is much more than curry and roti, cook-up rice or unique refresh of coconut water. It’s far and away too intricate an experience to easily compare:

Consider: Holidays in Guyana, while landmarks to her colonial past, unabashedly serve as seasonal reminders and rewards for and of – a better future.

In Guyana, hope for a better future is huge. For like many countries, her past is a painful quilt of blood and battery from colonialism and slavery’s cruel whip.  

But rather than dwell on past evils, the daughters and sons of Guyana are rather, prone to tirelessly work – and easily sing. Sing their cultural songs of undying hope:

And the dawning of thy glory.
O’er the long – long night is cast.
O arise triumphant, glorious, 
From the ashes of the past. (Repeat)

In closing, the hard choice of “nomad” is still one shouldered by many young Guyanese. Consequently now, her vast and uniquely influential diaspora are citizens, residents, or otherwise attached to “foreign lands” worldwide. But life-long cultural ties of “my home” etched in unforgettable lyric and song will never fail to (even if only inwardly) resonate:

And though I rove o’er hill and dale and brave old Neptune’s foam,
O’er crags and rocks and mossy dells, I still will turn me home;

For when at length I come to die, I want no gilded tomb,
Just let me rest within thy breast, where thy sweet flowers bloom,
Where thy sweet flowers bloom.

‘Course, while the “ensuing years” of a Guyana nomad typically results in familial and other ties ‘too hard to undo”, the advice of Paul in Colossians 3:23 “And whatever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men” seems intuitively to instruct and encourage the lifestyle or culture of the usual “personal sampling” of Guyana:

Onward, upward may we ever go, day by day in strength and beauty grow
Till at length we each of us may show, what Guiana’s sons and daughters can be!


Carlton J. Bruce aka Dr B.
GO! Editor & Ministry Partnership Development