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Tings dem say!

Inspiring: Lorlette Hudson and left, some of her cards with their translations underneath

RENOWNED LIFE coach Lorlett Hudson is a woman of many aphorisms; even more so now, since the launch of her proverb cards, Things Mama Used to Say.

Uniquely created by the mentoring guru, the cards are inspired by Jamaica’s humorous traditions and rich heritage, dealing out messages of age-old wisdom.

Modelled on a desk of 52 cards, messages are written in patois on one side, with the Queen’s English explanation on the other. Seeing the cards as a vital tool to help conserve Jamaican knowledge, the award-winning inspirational speaker had no idea they would be so popular.

“When I created the cards in 2004, I wanted to preserve the language,” says Hudson. “I took it upon myself to say, ‘I’m going to make a difference’. But I had no idea the impact it was going to have. It blew people’s minds and the whole response was phenomenal.”

Hudson’s cards feature a range of Jamaican expressions, including “Duppy know who fi frighten”; “Ah tailor nebba own ah good suit”; and “Si mi and lib wid mi ah two different sinting.”

(Hudson’s translations: “People will always pick on others inferior to themselves; “Some people never practice what they preach”; and “Things are not always what they seem. You never truly know someone until you live with them.”)

The cards are an extension of Hudson’s business One Hand Can’t Clap; an organisation that aims to tackle educational underachievement, and emphasise the value of cultural heritage, particularly within black and ethnic minority communities. For Hudson, it is important to try and produce future leaders.

“We live in a culture that doesn’t encourage you to raise the standards. There’s a lot of negativity that stops us. What has kept One Hand Can’t Clap so strong is the relationship building. It takes a lot of courage and strength to be different, and we need more leaders in our community and I’m developing more leaders.

“I think the reason we don’t prosper as much as others is the lack of leadership. No one wants to take the responsibility to lead and fundamentally people are scared to step out and take a bold stand.”

She continued: “I truly believe that we are great people as a race and a community. But when we relate to each other, it’s never about how great things are; we don’t aspire to other people’s knowledge or achievements. We relate to other people in the context of negativity. I want to see more ordinary people who are doing great things.”

The concept of the cards originally arose when the Jamaica-born entrepreneur was working on building the self-esteem of children in schools. Using well-known but often overlooked phrases, Hudson was able to create a new business venture that would inspire others.

“If I hadn’t set up One Hand Can’t Clap 11 years ago, I probably would be fed up and looking for a job. In every situation, you can create an opportunity, once you know what to look for.”

Things Mama Used To Say cards are on sale now. For more information visit

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