Cuba: Celebration of Anglo Caribbean Emancipation Day

Ciego de Avila, Cuba, Aug 1 (Prensa Latina) The immigrants and descendants of the Anglo-speaking islands, residing in this central province of Cuba, are celebrating the day of emancipation from the slavery of the English colonies.

Since early hours the sounds of drums, bongoes and congas united to the rhythm of the calypso have been greeting those arriving in the community called Jamaica Town, in the municipality of Baraguá.

It is one of the most populous neighbourhoods in the country, where immigrants cohabit and are descendants of almost all the English-speaking islands of the region.

The musical-dance group La Cinta is the center of these celebrations that developed starting in 1917 and have become the most representative of Caribbean culture with roots in Cuba.

Founded on September 20, 1975, the group presents dances and songs characteristic of Jamaican folklore, fused with Cuban rhythms, as in the introduction to the famous song Guantanamera.

The traditional show will begin with games like cricket, tug of war, the stick and the Mock Man or Muñecón.

The celebration began with a parade, headed by the Donkey, a dancer dressed up as a burro, giving a distinctive touch to these Caribbean dances.

The narrow streets of the town filled with people who also make the festivity theirs.

During the day they eat typical foods, elaborated by the members of the community, ranging from the bread with lemonade, the wine of the soril flower, rice with coconut, fish with sauce, flour with okra, Black Cake and coconut bread.

The parties of August 1 have become one of the most genuine representations in the culture, customs and language of the Jamaican community residing in Cuba.

In 1833, slavery was abolished in all the colonies of the United Kingdom, for what is now a day of joy for the community of immigrants of the English-speaking Caribbean islands in Cuba.

For original post: Prensa Latina News Agency – Cuba: Celebration of Anglo Caribbean Emancipation Day.

Understanding the value of Emancipation

The following article, addressing the value of Emancipation celebrations, appeared in Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday, Wednesday, August 1 2012.

 Khafra Kambon, chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee.

As the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) marks its 20th anniversary this year, chairman Khafra Kambon takes a look at self-awareness and self-liberation:

“The Emancipation Committee is a force or development in all aspects and areas of human development,” says Khafra Kambon, the chairman of the Emancipation Support Committee. The ESC focus is on Trinidadians of African descent, with the objective of re-opening their minds to the concept of what it means to be liberated.

Throughout its existence this committee has made positive impact on the nation’s people inevitably causing individuals to be freed from their ‘shackled’ minds, economical status and social inabilities.

??It is said by many that the issues of slavery have not been effectively addressed in society, thereby causing residual lingering effects of great trauma on persons.

For the past 20 years, the ESC has journeyed in raising the awareness and importance of one’s individuality.

??The ESC has recognised there are reinforced negative connotations such as “black, ugly” and “black and ugly,” that have caused severe barriers in the positive development of the African people.

For that reason, many Africans take these terms for granted, accepting it as a norm and live comfortably with it.

Eradicating the stigma and this belief is just another important function that the committee has untiringly performed throughout the years.

“Through this process, when negative elements are shown on television, printed in the newspaper, aired on radio or depicted in advertisements, individuals are able to open their eyes and filter out negative messages, still maintaining their self-importance and sanity,” said Kambon.

“Emancipation helps to open our eyes to see these things and understand them for what they are whether unconscious or conscious. It creates the strongest positive images of ‘African-ness’ in the society.”

In terms of economics, the ESC showcases numerous and diverse work individuals perform from within the community. On one level, the ESC provide a platform for sale at the annual Emancipation Village which is open to the public five days until the public holiday at the end of July. It also serves as an opportunity for exposure.

In addition, a special entrepreneur workshop focusing on financial management and business is provided. ??This rich source of business know-how is given by professionals in different fields. Through this venture, entrepreneurs have been able to spur a lot of businesses.

??The celebration of African awareness, Emancipation Day on August 1, culminates in annual parade through the streets of Port-of-Spain. ??The procession brings a togetherness and pride (not only with people of African descent) but also allows persons to enjoy themselves with abandon and encourages social connections.

“It gives people a different feeling of themselves, they understand who they are and they project themselves and their heritage proudly, through their garments, movement and their expressions,” Kambon said. ??Throughout the years the committee has continuously made a positive impact on the lives of everyone, thus desensitising the stereotype of the African culture.

For the original article: Understanding the Value of Emancipation

Celebration of Emancipation

The Committee for the Commemoration of Emancipation Day is inviting everyone to join in the commemoration and internationalizing of Emancipation Day.

This event would be on August 4th, 2012 at Prospect Park, Oriental Pavilion, Brooklyn New York.

Start time is 2:00pm, with a short parade beginning at the corner of Parkside and Flatbush Aves., and entering the park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Ave.  There would be a spiritual and cultural component to the event.

No matter where you are from, whether it is the Caribbean Islands, North or South America, bring your country’s Flag and make this a family day.

Emancipation of the slaves is the Ancestors and our business.

Thanks to the the Committee for the Commemoration of Emancipation Day for the information.

 

…Drum Call a ‘tribute to the ancestors’

A HANDFUL of devoted Orisha members yesterday kickstarted the Emancipation Day celebrations at the All Stars panyard, in Port of Spain with the spirutal drum calling.

The drum calling, which was the official opening of the day’s celebration, started at 5 a.m., some 30 minutes later than scheduled, with close to 20 participants, beating drums and other instruments, singing, chanting and calling on their ancestors to not only bless the day, but all people of African origin in the country.

The procession began at the panyard on Duke Street, and then proceeded to Piccadilly Street and on to Independence Square where the participants ended at the Treasury Building where the Emancipation Declaration was signed 177 years ago and celebrated for the past 173 years yesterday.

Speaking with the Express yesterday during the procession, Zakiya Uzoma-Wadada, a member of the Orisha faith and participant in this year’s Drum Call, said the idea behind the exercise is in essence a message to the ancestors.

“We are using the time to give thanks and praises to our ancestors for all their blood, sweat and tears,” Uzoma-Wadada said, adding “it is a tribute to our ancestors because we are showing them that we can walk on this earth as we are, not as slaves but a beautiful, creative people”.

Uzoma-Wadada added that the loss of using the drum is symbolic of “losing part of ourselves”.

When asked what can be done to curb the number of African descendants involved in criminal activity, Uzoma-Wadada said the education system needs to be revamped and teach about the Africans prior to slavery to show the children where they came from.

“We have to educate ourselves about ourselves. African people are the only people on earth who do not educate themselves about themselves,” she added.

For original article: …Drum Call a ‘tribute to the ancestors’ | Trinidad Express Newspaper | News.

Thousands celebrate Emancipation Day at National Park


Thousands of Guyanese made the annual journey to the National Park to celebrate Emancipation Day yesterday. And this year, things were to be spiced up given celebrations for International Year for People of African Descent. The rains, however, marred attendance.
Many dressed in flambouyant African wear, while others dressed casually for the day out – mostly geared towards the cultural show. This was despite the fact that it rained for most of the morning, and the weather remained cloudy for the rest of the day.
The activity is held every year by the African Cultural Development Association, ACDA. President Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and his wife Yvonne, Presidential Candidates of the main political parties, Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green, and members of the Diplomatic Corp were on hand for the celebrations.
While the cultural programme was being staged, President Jagdeo and Presidential Candidate of the ruling PPP, Donald Ramotar, greeted those who were in the National Park.
African drumming helped to create a lively atmosphere as patrons either tried to get African foods, African-inspired jewelry, craft, and even literature.
The celebrations organized by ACDA were held within the theme of the United Nations International Year for People of African Descent (IYPAD): “Recognition, Justice, and Development” for our Emancipation Festival.” ACDA added the sub-theme “Re-uniting the African Family” to add focus to this year’s celebrations.
Ghana, which was the first country south of the Equator to gain Independence from Colonial rule in 1957 and also the first African country on the Continent of Africa to celebrate  Emancipation, also used the theme “Re-uniting the African Family” as both its Emancipation and IYPAD themes.
Every year, ACDA chooses one African country to celebrate, but this year decided to capture inspiration from all 54 African countries.
“The celebration of Mother Africa underscores the reality that Africans were brutally dispersed throughout the World during the Arab and European slave trades and most Africans in the Diaspora cannot be sure of which African country their fore parents and ancestors lived in,” ACDA said.
ACDA also stepped away from its tradition of recognizing one African village for the Emancipation celebrations and instead decided to celebrate the more than 100 villages bought by African ancestors after Emancipation.
A visiting Mexican Folk Dance Group also performed at yesterday’s ceremony, much to the delight of the crowd.

For original article: Thousands celebrate Emancipation Day at National Park : Kaieteur News.

African Heritage Celebrated

The President of the St. Andrew’s Development Organization (SADO), Martha Bowen, has reminded Grenadians of the importance of celebrating their African heritage.

“We must keep that flame burning,’’ Bowen said August 1 at the SADO-sponsored 2011 Emancipation Day celebrations and Rainbow City Festival in St. Andrew.

Emancipation Day commemorates the official proclamation of 1838 when enslaved Africans working on sugar plantations in Grenada and other British colonies in the Caribbean were granted their freedom from chattel slavery.

According to Bowen, Emancipation gave the fore-parents of today’s Africans “the freedom to express themselves and to practice all their customs and traditions.’’

She added that the customs and traditions are now part of “our culture. It is part of us, even though we may be influenced by outside culture. We still have to hold on to what is unique – our African roots.’’

Emancipation Day included a march around the Town of Grenville, a cultural show and an exhibition of locally made craft, clothing, food and drinks at the Grenville Car Park.

Bowen said the event “remains an exhibition of our Grenadian culture centered around Emancipation.’’

Among the hundreds from St. Andrew and across Grenada who attended the August 1 celebration of Emancipation was MP for St. Patrick East, Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas.

The theme of the Rainbow City activities was, “Celebrating our African Heritage with the Spirit of Emancipation”.

For original article: Spiceislander.com » African Heritage Celebrated.

Emancipation Jubilee 2011 a fitting tribute to our ancestors

Drums beat the language of freedom Sunday night at Emancipation Jubilee 2011 in Seville, St Ann, paying respects to ancestors who fought and died to break the bonds of slavery over 170 years ago.

A huge audience turned out to celebrate the event, held under the theme “Let the drums talk,” with support coming from brothers and sisters from continental Africa, in the form of the Nigerian Dance Troupe (Nigeria) and the Tribanghi Cultural Group from South Africa.

The two overseas groups joined the likes of Kingston Drummers, Children of the Drums, along with other cultural groups from St Ann, St Mary, Hanover, Westmoreland, Portland, Kingston and other areas, for a spectacular show.

Full story: Emancipation Jubilee 2011 a fitting tribute to our ancestors – Lead Stories – Jamaica Gleaner – Tuesday | August 2, 2011.

 

Celebrating Freedom: Caribbean People commemorate Emancipation.

For the last quarter century, during the last week of July and the first of August annually, celebrations and commemorative events have been hosted in recognition of the Emancipation from slavery, which was proclaimed in the Caribbean in 1834 and fully enforced from August 1, 1838. These contemporary events are held throughout the region in many of the islands, such as the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Anguila, Antigua, Dominica, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent, Montserrat, and Trinidad and Tobago. The South American mainland Caribbean nation of Guyana also bear witness to the emancipation festivities.

The 2011 Emancipation festivities a particularly significant in the context of the declaration of 2011 as ” The Year of People African Descent” by the United Nations. This declaration was made in recognition of the millions of people worldwide, whose ancestors came from the African continent, and especially in recognition of the horrors experienced during the near 400 years of slavery and the continued discrimination and racial abuse faced since. In making this declaration it is the hope that efforts to end discrimination on the of race would be redoubled.

The last half of the 19th century saw the coming in to being of emancipation celebrations akin to those of today. In many of the islands at the time, freedom from the shackles of slavery was celebrated in that first week of August. Many of these celebrations eventually became subsumed by the various Carnivals that emerged then and are still held to this day around this time of the year. An example of this is the Cambulay that was held on August 1 in Trinidad but was suppressed in the famous Riots of 1881. The procession, masking, music, and other performance forms associated with this events eventually becoming incorporated into the pre-lenten Carnival. However, the Carnivals of places such as Barbados, Antigua, and Grenada continue to be hosted during the last week of July and the first of August, close to the August 1st proclamation of freedom.

In 1985, Trinidad and Tobago became the first country to declare a public holiday annually in recognition of this historically significant event in the history of the “people of African descent” and indeed, the history of the world. The acceptance of this holiday by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago came after the ground was laid by the Emancipation Support Committee in the years prior. The committee was then spearheaded by the late Lancelot Layne and included leading members such as, Ella Andell, the late Brian Honore – Commentor, John Cupid, in addition to some of the members that hold the fort today.

The commemorative activities initiated by this early committee included processional visits to historic areas and sites, significant to the experiences of the enslaved and their descendants in Trinidad and Tobago. Some of these included: Lopinot, Aranguez, the Lavantille and Picton Hill area, and the Gonzalez/Belmont community which was a former slave village. Sites of cemeteries for the slaves; trees on which hangings and beating were carried out, were pointed out to participants in these processions, which served an educational function in addition to the celebratory. These emancipation commemorative activities have developed to include an extended Emancipation village in which performances and speeches featuring local and foreign guests (especially from African countries) are delivered, and it culminates with a procession on August 1.

Similar types of celebratory events and activities are hosted in other parts of the Caribbean region. In Jamaica the day is recognized as a national public holiday. An Emancipation Park was opened in Kingston in 2002,
and festivities are held in many different parts of the country. For instance in Spanish Town, St. Catherine there is a reenactment of the reading of the Emancipation Declaration. This town was the seat of Parliament for the colonial government when the abolition of slavery was proclaimed in 1838. Other towns, such as Morant Bay, St. Thomas, host celebrations that feature cultural forms such as mento, and kumina among other cultural activities. In 2011, the community in St. Anns hosts activities that culminate on July 31 with festivities entitled “Let the drums talk”.

In Guyana the occasion of the emancipation anniversary is observed throughout the country and is marked by road and cycle races, the distribution of hampers to the poor and elderly, and essay writing competitions. Additionally, church services are held in some areas and there are performances of dance and song. Groups from neighboring Brazil and Suriname are invited to participate and contribute to the events, particularly in some of the border towns. And, processions are held in which the participants adorn themselves in West African print and march along to the strains of African music.