Aug 02, 2016 News
It has become a feature of Guyana’s Emancipation celebrations for Guyanese, particularly those of African descent to flock to the National Park to partake in the festivities organised by the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA).
This year was no different. Guyanese from all walks of life, descended onto the Park yesterday afternoon to celebrate the freedom of enslaved Africans who were uprooted from West Africa and brought to the Caribbean during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Individuals and groups stepped out dressed in their African wear which featured assorted colours and patterns. From babies to teenagers were decked out, as some families chose to dress alike in clothing made from the same material.
The day’s programme began with a cultural presentation at the eastern end of the National Park. Chairing the event was media personnel Mondale Smith who kept the crowd intrigued and excited about the many acts.
Cultural groups from across Guyana and abroad performed items to the delight of the large gathering. Performances included dances, poems, drumming, songs and dramatic pieces.
The presentations were not short of an African flavour due to the fact, that afro-beats were incorporated with the use of pre-recorded music and live drumming.
Some of the performers included the Divine Stars dance group from Berbice, the Buxton Fusion Drumming group and the Mystique Dance Group. Also, a Nigerian singer with the stage name “Esther” attached to the DP Records Label blessed the crowd with her songs.
Other forms of entertainment included the National Steel Pan Orchestra representing the Ministry of Education’s Museum of African Heritage, who serenaded the crowd with a mixture of soca and afro-beat vibes.
Those in attendance could have made purchases from the various booths outlining the roadside within the Park. Persons sold items inclusive of leather sandals, bracelets, chains, other accessories and clothing.
Additionally, some vendors sold African dishes—Conkie, Cassava pone and metemgee.
As is the custom over the years, many of the patrons would retreat to the stage area of the National Park to socialize and relax their feet after walking around the park. However, this year, free entry was denied to that Arena due to the planned concert featuring reggae superstar, Luciano.
Some persons were disappointed since they were unaware of the entry cost. Some even shouted that due to their freedom they should not have to pay to enter the arena. However, the disgruntled few eventually conformed and entered the arena to await the evening’s proceedings.
Ultimately, it was clear that persons were indeed happy to share in the celebrations. Walking amongst the hundreds gathered, one could have heard exultations by persons declaring their freedom when greeting their friends and loved ones.
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