Belizean Icon and ambassador of the Creole culture, Artist Emeritus Myrna Manzanarez, 75, has passed away.
Manzanares, who fell into a coma last week, following a stroke, died on Tuesday, December 21st, just before 2:00 a.m inside the Intensive Care Unit of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).
Manzanares we were told was reportedly found unresponsive and in a critical condition inside her home last week Wednesday, December 15th, by a friend who had gone looking for her when she failed to show up for an event. She was transported to the KHMH for treatment, where she reportedly remained unresponsive until the time of her death.
Following the news of her humble departure from earth, an outpour of condolences and farewell from the public, family, friends, students, political parties and organization flooded social media, as they all bid farewell to a one of a kind national figure that held the Creole culture, practice and people close to her heart.
One such body that joined in the bereavement was the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology who wrote, “Myrna Manzanares was a cultural ambassador, well known in Belizean and international cultural communities. Throughout the years she played an important role in safeguarding and promoting the Creole culture and, by extension, all cultures of Belize. Her life’s work encouraged the inter-ethnic harmony of our Belizean people.”
The Ministry further stated, ”As we take this time to mourn her passing, we are also grateful for her many contributions to culture and education. On behalf of the MoECST family, we say ”Thank you, Ms. Myrna!”
Manzanares who is one of the ten founding members of the National Creole Council which was formed in 1990, dedicated her life towards the preservation of the Creole culture and advocated for racial justice in Belize and the Diaspora. She was a trained counselor, oral historian, storyteller, and the author of several books ranging from poetry, prose, non-fiction, and even a creole dictionary.
The National Creole Council in a Facebook post said, ”We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved sister and friend Myrna. You left a hole in our hearts and we will never forget you. Our Kriol gyal, the woman that doesn’t play about her culture. God called you home so we cannot question his work.”
During the course of her life, the Creole Queen was the recipient of several awards including being honored as a member of the Order of the British Empire for her service to education, culture, and social development in 2008 and again that same year as Belize’s Outstanding Women Awards. Manzanares was also named Artist Emeritus in 2018 by the National Institute of Culture and History.