Guyanese urged to remember their history at 8th Annual Ghana Day Celebration
DPI, GUYANA, Sunday, March 4, 2018
This year’s Ghana Day Celebration was well attended and commenced this morning with a parade moving from the Square of the Revolution proceeding along Durban Street, Lodge and culminating at Congress Place, Sophia, for the grand cultural show.
The Ghana Day Queens and Courts were greeted with the sounds of African drums. This was followed by the cultural programme which featured dancing, singing, poetry and more drumming.
Feature speaker at the event, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, reflected on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and how slavery impacted Caribbean Culture and lifestyles.
He told those gathered that in order to know where they are going, they must learn and have an appreciation for history.
Ghana day is celebrated in Guyana, since it was the first country on the African Continent that attained Independence. Minister Greenidge said most of the remnants of African culture in the form of music, dance, food and dress in Guyana, was adopted from Ghana.
He explained that, “Guyana and Ghana have in inextricably linked not always visibly but they have been inextricably yoked and that yolk has touched on many aspects of our lives, what may be called the Rights of Passage for example. The process of growing up, marriage, funerals, culinary things, the foods we prepare and consume, the songs and the mode of dancing.”
The Minister noted too that the structure of Caribbean English has been affected by the African influence on it, particularly that of the Creole dialect.
The work and influence of Ghanaian politician and revolutionary Kwame Nkrumah was highlighted by the acting Prime Minister during his address.
“Nkrumah himself had been an icon to much of the world leading his nation inspiring West Africa and elsewhere in Africa to seek their independence, to value their cultures … and on the political front [he] was very inspirational, publishing the Class Struggle in Africa for example, which addressed the challenges of trying to live through domination,” he pointed out.
Kwame Nkrumah was the first prime minister and president of Ghana, having led it to independence from Britain in 1957. An influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962.
Former Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green in his address at Ghana Day echoed similar sentiments, while pointing to the negative effects of the slave trade, specifically the exploitation of natural resources.
He noted that, “the British decided that they will control all of West Africa and so when the Asante King died, who has been the catalyst of the resistance movement, they saw the opportunity to continue the process of accumulation. They increased their effort of exploitation of four items…gold, cocoa, timber and palm oil, they virtually raped the gold coast.”
Green too called for an appreciation of culture and history.
The event also featured an education talent pageant, performances by Queen Makeda, am audience participating fashion show.
An exhibition was held on the lawns with a colourful display of African wear, accessories, pottery, figurines and more.
African foods such as cook-up, white and black pudding, drinks and other treats were on sale.
This year’s event was held under the theme, “Designing a strategy in recognition of our rights to demand justice over two hundred years of unrewarded labour and for affecting our development through unity.”
By: Stacy Carmichael