The curtains fell recently on activities marking the six-month long commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade in St. Kitts and Nevis at Independence Square.

The grand finale of the observance came at the Cry Freedom Concert and Knowledge Fair. Legendary Soca King Black Stalin of Trinidad and Tobago and Dub Poet Mutabaruka of Jamaica shared the stage with many local performers such as the Okolo Tegremantine Arts Theater and Tafari Ayendi.

?It was fantastic,? raved Antonio Maynard, the general secretary of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO ? the organizers of the commemorative activities. ?I think that we were successful in communicating the powerful message of black history and reminding persons where we come from.?

Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Sam Condor ? who also serves as the Chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO ? were among dignitaries addressing the large gathering that assembled at the site where their ancestors were sold as slaves centuries ago.

Mr. Maynard said that he was overwhelmed by the attendance and was particularly pleased to see so many young faces in the audience. He noted that this was important as the efforts to maintain cultural traditions rely heavily on the participation of the youth.

The observance marking the end of the slave trade began in February. Activities held throughout the period included a Cry Freedom Lecture Series which featured prominent personalities including Rex Nettleford, Verene Shepherd and Ashra Kwesi. Other functions such as a church service, panel discussions, school visits and an arts and craft exhibition were also held.

Maynard said that the range of activities ensured that a wide section of the population was exposed to the historical and cultural messages of the celebrations thus raising awareness about the issues.

The general secretary encouraged other agencies and interested individuals to continue efforts to mark the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

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