A royal duty: Junior Gong’s flagman takes pride in his job

Garfield ‘Donovan” Logan (Photo: Dennis Brown/BUZZ)

You don’t go to a reggae music stage show to see the flag man in performance. But you cannot deny that he adds something very unique to the artiste’s performance.

With the red, green and gold flag, waving rhythmically from side to side in the air, and his body moving in sync with the music, he creates a vision that is not only appealing to look at, but also serves to draw you into a sort ritual, and make you feel more connected to the whole experience. 

For Garfield ‘Donovan” Logan,  the flag man for reggae superstar, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, this is not a responsibility that he takes lightly. 

A royal duty

“It’s a royal duty eno,” he said as he fumbled with the flag in his hands, and a smile crept to his lips.

“The flag man is the head of the army, so I am head of the troop, defender of the faith, so it’s major. It’s nyabinghi order, flag man is Rasta duty,” he continued.

‘flag man is Rasta duty’ (Photo: Dennis Brown/BUZZ)

As the wind in the Emancipation Park, in Kingston toyed with his locks which he wore draped around his face, Logan told BUZZ the story of how he started out on this journey of being a flag bearer. 

“I grew up in Nine Miles, St Ann, so I was always around them [the Marleys], we grew up like family,” he said. 

“But I  always operate the kitchen whenever I come into Kingston. And then 1988-1989 when Damian decided to put a band together, I was the one who was running the kitchen that time, and I ventured on the road as his personal chef. When the original flag man decided to just put it down, I tell him him have to pass it down to mi,” he continued.

Logan started out as Junior Gong’s personal chef (Photo: Dennis Brown/BUZZ)

That was 19 years ago. Since then, Logan has ‘lapped the world a few times’ travelling and performing with the international reggae superstar.

 “I go to Ethiopia, I go to Ghana, I go to Gambia, Australia, New Zealand, countries in Europe. It’s really vast, and for the past couple of years we’ve been doing a lot of shows in the Caribbean,” he said. 

Preparation

Although the job requires a certain amount of stamina, the preparation that Logan undergoes before each show is surprisingly effortless.

“It’s just a stretch, I’d normally stretch before I go on stage and prepare the muscles. But the thing more important is prayer. Typically the Our Father prayer, because prayer is a natural thing for us, as Rastas,” he said. 

Stressing the importance of his role, Logan graciously admitted that flagmen don’t often get any kind of recognition, but that this is changing.

“A king don’t get honour in his country. Jamaica, wi little bit slow inna everything, but everywhere I go, I must say, I really being honoured,” he said.

Logan (foreground) on stage with Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley (Photo: Chris Lewinson/BUZZ)

However, contending that his job is ‘amazing’, Logan told BUZZ that being the flag bearer for the Junior Gong has opened a lot of doors for him.

“It put me on a pedestal and a platform where I’m able to function naturally, and able to bring forth a lot of me. I’m a chef, and because of that right now, I post a few things about what I do, and because I’m Junior Gong’s flag bearer, that bring a lot more recognition to me,” he said.