THE Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) launched commemorative stamps on Thursday to honour the late renowned Guyanese musician, Valerie Rodway, on the occasion of her 100th Birth Anniversary.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes,, speaking at the simple launch held at the National Library, indicated that Valerie Rodway belonged to the cadre of Guyanese women whose endeavours have made an indelible impact on the country.
“I’ve always known that Guyanese women are special. Our nation’s history has been printed with some very remarkable achievements from some small women who’ve done great things with their lives,” she said. “We continue to remember them, to celebrate them and their work which has brought us to where we are today.”
Speaking specifically about Rodway, Hughes reminded of the woman’s unending love for Guyana and for music. Importantly, Hughes underscored that in the 1960s, Rodway helped to usher in the period in Guyana’s history where National songs were ubiquitous.
“Valerie Rodway’s life is an example of a teacher, performer, composer of music… A life that stands out as a phenomenal guyanese woman,” she said. And as such, she expressed appreciation that the woman was being honoured in this manner. Postmaster General of the GPOC, Karen Brown, indicated that the stamps released were the first release in GPOC’s commemorative stamp collection for 2019. “[They] will be available to the public from [Friday] in denominations of $100 and $150, until the supplies run out,” Brown noted.
She also explained that the stamps are usually printed in limited quality, which means that in the long term, their value will increase- which is particularly interesting for “serious” stamp collectors. Relative of Rodway, Pamela Fraser shared too: “Her music transcends time. It is current now as it was then.”
She expressed her elation that her aunt was being honoured in this manner and expressed gratitude to the government and GPOC, on behalf of the entire family. Rodway was born February 12, 1919, in New Amsterdam, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six), and is best known for her composition of national songs and other melodies. Kanaima, Hymn for Guyana’s Children, Arise Guyana and Guyana the Free are among some of her more popular works.
She also put to music, the famed Guyanese Independence poem by Martin Carter, ‘Let Freedom Awaken’.