Education in the 70’s was said to be better than what we are experiencing now. At Ackee Tree All Age where the play is set, we are exposed to the opposite. One in which those who are considered slow, underprivileged and black have no place in the school system.
Grade 6Z hosts a class of students who are considered to be in the ‘dunce’ stream. Since they are a group that is considered to be slow and incompetent. There is no hope of getting them to sit the Common Entrance. With the introduction of “Sir” as their guiding light who was caught up in his own vision of a better society in which better schooling comes from teaching those who are more privileged. It seemed as if there was no hope for the students at the end of the year.
The same can be said for their principal who believes that that his friendship exists with the lighter class, who for some strange reason left him to deal with his own people as a principal. So brainwashed by the view of a whiter society being the better one, he segregates himself from the black monkeys who are not able to function in society as their blackness attracts the sun which burns their brains. His name “Drop Shorts” begs to question his morality as a Reverend and Principal in the education system.
From this group we see the potential that exits, and even though they may play a lot and their grammar, deposition and behaviour may not be the best displayed, they do have dreams of becoming successful based on the things they are passionate about. This becomes evident in the challenge against the 6A class. Their stupidity could be considered their confidence, as they were relentless in trying to answer their questions the best way they could by using their experiences to get the “correct” answers. This speaks to their street smart and that intelligence is not limited to just academics but also to your experiences. This is an example of the willingness of those who are considered less fortunate, though they may not have the education that society dictates you to have, they are able to fend for themselves in society. When they do have children and are able to give them something better, they fight for it. This is why Hurricane Hotty marched down to the school and used her charms to get her way with the principal for her daughter to get an opportunity to a better life.
That scene highlighted another issue that occurs in our society, where it’s who you know that allows for you to have a foot through the door. Who knew that Hurricane Hotty would be able to charm the principal and teacher to get her daughter a chance in life?
Fast forward to the future where they have their reunion and the students did get the opportunity to achieve their goals. Though it was no instantaneous, they got serious and motivated themselves towards a better life and not be a statistic of those who aren’t expected to amount to anything.
The message of the play teaches us that our current situation and people’s opinion of us is not what determines who we will be later on in life. Once we decide on what it is we want from this life and work towards it, who can stop us?