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Cheryl Bowles sits on Sankofa Stool

Friday, March 30, 2018
Cher Mere MD Cheryl Bowles sits on her Tubman/Claudia Jones 2018 award (a Sankofa stool) as she is blessed by members of Tawo. Surrounding her are Jaime Browne, left, Tawo president Akende Rudder and Roxanne Pantaleon.

On Saturday evening, the Traditional Afrikaan Women’s Organization (Tawo), held it’s annual Recognising Our Warrior Women award and enstoolment ceremony at the organisation’s base of operation in Morvant. Cheryl Bowles, Cher-Mère MD, was awarded this year’s 2018 Harriet Tubman/Claudia Jones Award and Sankofa Stool.

The Sankofa enstoolment ceremony is a symbolic reference to an ancient Afrikaan tradition symbolising the taking the seat of royalty, a ceremony which is only performed by women.

A biochemist and founder of Cher-Mère, Cheryl Bowles gave up a top position at Nestlé with a six-figure income in 1985 where she was the first woman executive, Chief Chemist, Head of Quality Control and Head of Research and Development in T&T to pursue developing her brand which is now Cher-Mère.

“….. but I got a spiritual urge to move to a higher dispensation, to set out into the unknown and take a chance on God,” she explained.

Cheryl began her journey experimenting with making herbal teas that produced sedative results using local products such as sapodillas and chamomile.

It was her mother, hairdresser and aesthetician, who first suggested she create different kinds of local Caribbean products such as hair food, letting her experiment on her clients.

Cher-Mère is now going to be marketed internationally as Bowles’ daughter, Dr Aba Bowles-Mortley, has decided to follow her dream of globalising the brand and will continue the legacy, extending to Canada where she resides in the position of Assistant General Manager/International Marketing, Cher-Mère.

Cher-Mère means “Dear Mother” in French and is a unity of Cheryl’s name and her deceased mother’s “Merle.”

Cheryl urged Tawo ceremony attendees to not just follow their dreams and using their experiences and acquired education/knowledge as platforms to build on, but to also be prepared.

Though it may be challenging to “see the light at the end of the tunnel, envision the end result, take the rose with the thorns, and hold on the glory would come,” she advised.

The ceremony commenced with Bowles being greeted to the sounds of drumming from the Elbe Ashe Drummers of Laventille followed by the a libation by Ayoka-Afuwape Carter, hosted by Tawo founder/CEO Akende Rudder.

Naheela “Nefta” Kojo performed a spoken word piece accompanied by the Egbe Ashe drummers entitled Warrior Womb-Man, a followup continuation to last year’s rendition of the same piece.

Other guest speakers included Francis Morean, an ethnobotanist from Arima, founder of the T&T International Hill Rice Symposium and Festival which runs until April 4.

This organisation will be launching the second edition of its symposium today at the Marac Community Centre, Moruga. It will consist of continued presentations in different areas across T&T including Morean’s office, at El Carmen Street, Arima, L’anse Fourmi Community Centre, Tobago, and the Moruga Secondary School, Basse Terr,e Moruga.

Specially invited guests included Adrian Leonce MP Laventille East; Dr Carol James, 2017’s Harriet Tubman/Claudia Jones awardee and Sankofa Stool recipient; and, Ena Garcia, Women Of The Soil (Wots) founder.


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