Emancipation Day – ‘honouring the ancestors’

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 1, 2019

Decked out in full traditional African wear, scores of Guyanese citizens flocked the National Park today, to be part of the annual Emancipation Festival organised by the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA).

Waking around the park, the Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to several persons who had gathered with their picnic baskets and booth operators that were selling with mouth-watering dishes or colourful African regalia.

Sherwin Clarke said he was appreciative to be able to spend the day with his family. “I am so happy to be out here… everything, I see today is just wonderful.”

Vendor, Emania Israel, who operates her booth at the festival every year said it is always good to see fellow Guyanese decked in their traditional wear getting more familiar with their cultural background.  “It is good to see everybody, but we need to see more. We must not only have people dressed in their cultural wear on one day but continually. We have a rich culture that we are proud of and we need to continuous showcase it,” she said.

Also, in attendance was His Worship the Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine who shared that he was happy to be there learning more about the wide and varied cultural backgrounds of his African Guyanese brothers and sisters.

Among the many features of the day was the much-anticipated Chief Cook-up contest with a cash prize of $100,000 and a chance to win a catering contract with ANSA McAL. There was also the Best Dressed African Wear competition.

The 2019 Emancipation celebrations began in July with a Spelling Bee Competition and cultural exhibition at Main Street bazaar. There was also the screening of the movie ‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ which is based on a true story based in Malawi – the country chosen by ACDA to be honoured at this year’s festival

ACDA’s Emancipation Coordinator, Aisha Haynes, said “no matter what your background, no matter what your race, no matter what your religion, everyone can stand united and agree that slavery is something that should never be allowed to happen in our history.”