GUYANA: Ron Bobb-Semple has taken his final bow — by Francis Quamina Farrier

Ron Bobb-Semple as Marcus Garvey

— by Francis Quamina Farrier 

Guyanese veteran Communicator and actor of stage and screen, Ron Bobb-Semple, recently took his final bow on the stage of life, having lived the prescribed three scores and ten. He is yet another long-standing friend and colleague of mine who has died as a result of COVID-19 complications.
In the Pepperpot Magazine of September 27, 2020, I wrote of losing other long-standing friends and colleagues, including veteran actor of stage, television and screen, Gordon Case, who was based in London, England. Billy Braithwaite and Jimmy Bacchus, two businessmen who were based in New York city and who had contracted the coronavirus in the early stages of its arrival, were featured in the first article of mine which focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. They both were friends of mine for over 55 years.

Sadly, with the death of Ron Bobb-Semple I must now add another long-standing friend and colleague, to that list of COVID-19 fatal victims of the disease. Bobb-Semple was based in Tampa, Florida in the USA for many years. However, he visited Guyana from time to time and was involved in theatre activities. On one occasion, he toured with his popular one-character play, “The Spirit of Marcus Garvey” which was staged at the Theatre Guild, Playhouse in Georgetown. He also performed the play in New Amsterdam. More recently Bobb-Semple also played the title role in my play “The Slave and the Scroll” which was sponsored by the Ministry of Education as part of Guyana’s Jubilee celebrations in 2020.
Before he migrated to the United States, Ron Bobb-Semple while being a full member of the Theatre Guild, was also part of a fringe group of actors there. The group was named “The Dramatic Core” and was in no way a rebel group. In fact, it was a group of young ambitious and talented actors who realized that they had an added role to play beyond the Playhouse on Parade Street in Georgetown. With the blessing of the committee of management, they gave themselves the task of taking quality theatre productions beyond the capital city, and toured to Anna Regina, Bartica, Buxton, Charity, McKenzie, New Amsterdam and to a few small venues across the coastland and hinterland.
The group became well-known and respected by the audiences beyond the city. Those audiences were somewhat different from those in Georgetown, as they were deeply involved in the plots of the plays, and openly supported or showed their displeasure with the characters as the play unfolded. For example, there was a scene in a play which was being staged at Buxton, in which a young female character was pleading with her lover who was going overseas, to promise that he will return and marry her. It was an intense exchange of dialogue with pleading and promising by the two characters; so-much-so, that a mature female in the audience who couldn’t contain her emotions, shouted out to the male character, “Hi Jim, if yoh nah like de gal, tell am!”
Ron Bobb-Semple was a member of some of the teams which made those tours to rural and hinterland areas of the country. During that time, he showed a drive to perform to a variety of audiences in many areas of the country and was a dedicated team player and much fun. He also proved to be a terrific all-round performer on the stage of life, having given to others – his audiences – so much of his talents, and as such, increasing their quality of life. For every citizen who had the opportunity and joy to see Ron Bobb-Semple on stage whether in “Rogue’s Trial” at the Theatre Guild Playhouse decades ago, or his one-character play, “The Spirit of Marcus Garvey” which he toured to his homeland Guyana and to so many other countries including Ghana and Senegal in Africa, or in my play “The Slave and the Scroll” which was presented at the Guyana Jubilee celebrations not so long ago, it was always a memorable experience. Along with his mammoth body of work on stage, Ron Bobb-Semple will also be remembered for his appearances on screen. His film credits include his role in the movie “See You Yesterday” which was directed by the Legendary American film director and producer, Spike Lee.
The recent passing of Ron Bobb-Semple was sudden and shocked all who knew him. “These people don’t come every day.” Zide Muhammad stated in a Facebook comment. And in another, Shaun Junor said; “Guyana has always had great talent.” No doubt there are many other similar comments about this iconic Guyanese celebrity of stage and screen.


Ron Bobb-Semple at an Emancipation Day Celebration at the National Park in Georgetown. (Photo by Francis Quamina Farrier)

Ron Bobb-Semple at right with Ricardo Smith in “The Rogues Trial” at the Theatre Guild Playhouse, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana.

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  • guyaneseonline  On 01/24/2022 at 12:27 am

    1/18/22 – From Bro Eusi Kwayana

    I am sending late, but sincere, condolences to all those bereaved by the untimely passing of Ron Bobb-Semple. Those who mourn the loss of this gifted son of Guyana include his widow and offspring, the alumni of Central High School, Guyana, his colleagues and a large number of artistic workers, resident in Guyana and abroad, and members of his enchanted audiences in many parts of the world. He was well-known as a laureate of the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) for his dramatic rendering of the achievements and legacy of the Hon. Marcus Garvey and of Martin’s Carter’s “I Come From The Niggeryard Of Yesterday” and other gems of Caribbean creation. In his chosen occupation as an electronic media provider, he tried to set a pace in supporting the best human aspirations of freedom of expression and communication among the world’s peoples. May his family and loved ones be comforted and may his future pathways be richly illuminated!
    Eusi Kwayana

  • John DrePaul  On 01/24/2022 at 6:54 am

    It is with saddened hearts that Ingrid and I read Francis Quamina Farrier’s article on our dear friend Ron Bobb-Semple’s recent departure from his earthly journey. Ron will always be remembered for his insightful brilliance, sense of fair play, and good-natured humor. He was there for us, during our darkest moments, with the untimely departure of our youngest daughter. Be assured that she is there to welcome you.
    To his dear Cecily and family members, please accept our sincerest condolences. And Ron, may “flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.

    Slingshot and Ingrid

  • Henry Decaires  On 01/25/2022 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for sharing Ron was a classmate of mine at Central High School and I used to see him in Brooklyn at the Guyana Day festivities I will miss him May he Rest In Peace My name is Henry Decaires

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