May 25: Afrikan Liberation Day

Peeps, Afrikan Liberation Day is almost here. What are you up to this year? Some families wear white and have a special meal with friends & fam. Drumming/chanting are in order if that’s your thing.  Others  play relevant music , share poetry/readings & discuss our liberation stories. Whatever you do make sure it’s child-friendly. Take pictures, play games, have FUN! There are lots of public gatherings going on too. Check out if you’re interested.

PM wants African Liberation Day on national calendar

DOMINICA – Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 AM

March at African Liberation Day celebrations last year March at African Liberation Day celebrations last year

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, is calling on Dominicans to embrace their African heritage and wants African Liberation celebrations to be part of the National calendar of events.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony of the 50th anniversary of African Liberation Day celebrations at the Arawak House of Culture on Tuesday afternoon.

“And I want to say that from henceforth this government shall continue to recognize and to play its part in the celebration of African Liberation Day as part of our national calendar of events in Dominica,” the Prime Minister said.

Skerrit pointed out that when Dominica celebrates African Liberation Day “it is an expression of solidarity to Africa and in so doing we are in fact expressing solidarity to our own people; and that African liberation is not a’ Rasta man thing. It is our thing as a people, as a nation and as a region.”

The Prime Minister also said that ways must be explored to improve relations with the African Union and the people of Africa.

“We at the level of government are engaged in Africa in various ways and in various contexts,” he said. “There are many issues that unite us. We are still victims of trade imbalances; we are still affected by international systems which work against our interests. This is why models of cooperation have emerged in Africa and in the Caribbean. Here in the Caribbean we have the OECS and CARICOM. These are well established models of cooperation. More recently we created ALBA and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and the new arrangements such as Petro Caribe.”

The prime minister noted that these cooperations are ways “of guaranteeing economic security, political sovereignty and independence of our countries.”

“In the spirit of African liberation and solidarity we need to find ways via these regional arrangements to deepen our relations with the African union and with the people of Africa,” he said.

Meantime Minister for Culture, Justina Charles, said that African Liberation Day is a special day and should be celebrated as such.

“It is indeed a special milestone and it is very appropriate that we celebrate it in a special way…not only as a special day for the Rastafarian community but for the nation as a whole,” she said. “This is why Government has become more engaged, more involved in the observance of this special day, we recognize that African liberation day is a special and symbolic day for Africans at home, on the continent and abroad.”

Charles also urged persons to reconnect to their roots and support the activities.

Several Cabinet ministers as well as officials from the diplomatic corps were in attendance.

African Liberation Day will be celebrated on May 25.


Jamaicans celebrate 50th African Liberation Day

Published: Wednesday | May 22, 2013

Duane Stephenson
Duane Stephenson
Ken Boothe
Ken Boothe
Pashon Minott
Pashon Minott

Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer

At least three events are planned between tomorrow and Saturday in celebration of the 50th African Liberation Day. All three events feature stage shows and will see Jamaicans celebrating freedom through music.

African Liberation Day has its roots in 1958, when Ghanaian leader Dr. Kwame Nkrumah convened the First Conference of Independent States in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. April 15 was named African Freedom Day, as the formal decolonisation process gained momentum across Africa. When the Organisation of African Unity was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, African Liberation Day was declared on that date.

Full stage shows rare

Compared to the regularity of former years full-scale stage shows are now a rarity in Jamaica, with Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute and Western Consciousness three of the few calendar events remaining. However, all the celebratory events incorporate the stage show format.

US-based reggae artiste Eljai is in high spirits for the African Liberation Day celebrations. He speaks highly of  Flavors Fest, to be held in Central Village, Spanish Town, St Catherine, tomorrow.

“Flavors Fest is a culturally rich event. When you talk about Africans you talk about a rich cultural heritage. So this event will, no doubt, bring about that element of our past to life. I have some strong songs with rich material to unveil to the people and trust me, who never enlightened are going to be,” Eljai said.

Eljai is currently signed to Jah Mix Entertainment and is expected to debut his single For You at Flavors Fest. Other notable acts booked to perform include Tarrus Riley, Romain Virgo, Duane Stephenson and George Nooks.

On Saturday, May 25, a collaborative event between the University of Technology, Jamaica, (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, called the African Liberation Day Cultural Programme is a three-day celebration. It will be hosted in UTech’s Sculpture Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Saturday celebration will feature African drumming and Mutabaruka playing recorded music, with performances by Warrior King, Mikey General, The Informative History Man, Ras Takura, Scrathylus, Mau Mau Warriors, Kshema Francis, Nature, Keke I, Jah Bouks, LSX, Steppa, Simji, Exile Di Brave, Empress Italafiyah and Princess Love.

Not all music

But it will not be all music, as there will be two panel discussions on the day as well. ‘Developing African-Centred Consciousness as a Means for Community Empowerment and Development in Jamaica’ will feature Dr Kadamawe K’nife, Dr Clinton Hutton, Dr Jahlani Niaah and Dr Copeland Stupart.

The other panel session, ‘Reflecting on the Pan-Africanist Movement of the Sixties to Chart a Path Forward in the 21st Century’ will feature Willie Ricks and Dr Allister Hinds, among others.

Preceding that, on Friday, May 24, a symposium entitled ‘Pan-Africanism or Perish’ will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre (N1), UWI. The slated speakers are Mutabaruka, Ras Miguel Lorne, Reverend Majorie Lewis, Minister Clive Muhammad, and Willie Ricks (Baba Mukasa).

The celebrations return to the Neville Hall Lecture Theatre on Sunday, May 26, for a film screening session from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Documentaries on Dudley Thompson, Peter Abrahams and Fela Kuti, among others, will be shown.

“This is basically a three-day event and there is something in it for everybody. We have an open symposium on Friday and we will deliver some cultured music on Saturday at UTech. Then on Sunday we have a film festival at N1, UWI. It’s basically a three-day festival,” Dr Michael Barnett of UWI, who is organising the celebration, told The Gleaner. He will chair Friday’s symposium.

In a prior release, Barnett noted the significance of the celebration. “Ever since the formation of the OAU in 1963, African Liberation Day has become a much celebrated date on the calendar for Pan-African organisations and Pan-Africanists on the continent and in the African Diaspora. So far as African Diaspora communities are concerned, it has long been celebrated in the United States and in Jamaica,” Barnett said.

“Various community organisations have hosted African Liberation Day since the 1970s in Jamaica, and UWI had the distinction of hosting one such event in 2012. This year being the 50th anniversary of African Liberation Day offers a great opportunity, in my opinion, for UWI to provide both a special educational and cultural programme to commemorate the occasion,” he said.

On Saturday, May 25, Minott Productions, spearheaded by Pashon Minott, will host the third staging of Sugar Minott Day celebration. Pashon said the night’s theme is ‘Black People Unite’ and the event will feature a special authentic African drumming display by Nyabinghi drummers.

“The day commemorates African Liberation Day and I want to pay homage to that. We wanted the drummers for the celebration last year, but it didn’t work out. But this year it’s definitely on. We want all African descendants and everyone to come out and unite at Sugar Minott’s Day celebration on African Liberation Day,” she said.

It will be held at Youth Man Promotions HQ, 1 Robert Crescent, St Andrew, and features Sizzla Kalonji, The Mighty Diamonds, Ken Boothe, Queen Ifrica, Iba Mahr and Eddie Fitzroy, among others. The event runs from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.       Sizzla’s “African Liberation”      Garvey’s Afrikan Liberation Day message     Dennis Brown’s “Black Liberation Day”


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