POS 2007 Emancipation Day Celebrations

Thousands gathered in front of the Treasury Building on Independence Square
Thousands gathered in front of the Treasury Building Reporters
Event Date: August 01, 2007
Posted: August 06, 2007

Thousands of people gathered in front of the Treasury Building on Independence Square in Port of Spain on August 1st for the start of the 2007 Emancipation Kambule Procession. Decked off in colourful African wear, the young and the old, men and women lined the streets to celebrate Emancipation Day with the annual Kamule Procession through the streets of Port of Spain to the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village. Kambule is Kikongo (languge of the Congo) for street procession. According to a release from the Emancipation Support Committee, the Kambule pays homage to our African Ancestors who commemorated the end of slavery by processing through the streets.

The Grupo Axe group, led by Sekhetneb Amunwah, which practices the African martial art called Capoeira, demonstrated their acrobatic skills on the Brian Lara Promenade. They had initiated the energy which oozed throughout the march to the Jean Pierre Complex.

On the side of the road nearer to the Treasury Building, a truck blasting Orisha chants had arrived blasting the Orisha worship chants by Orisha songstress, Ella Andell.

Guest of honour Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet
Guest of honour Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet

The crowd swelled, but some grew impatient awaiting the guest of honor, Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda. With his arrival at quarter past nine, the official launch of the procession began with a libation by Elder Equino Moyo who declared that this celebration was special as it commemorated the liberation struggles of our ancestors. He further mentioned that all African countries were now celebrating the end of slavery, which he said was a monumental achievement.

Tracy Wilson of the Emancipation Support Committee highlighted that the spot right in front of the Treasury Building was where the Emancipation Proclamation was made in 1838, and declared that the present generation stood on the shoulders of those who have gone before.

Minister of Community, Culture and Gender Affairs, Joan Yuille-Williams told the thousands gathered that the ancestors must be an integral part of the way forward as without the past there would be no place to begin. She highlighted that each one of them has the opportunity to influence their social space and commended Khafra Kambon and the ESC for their work in keeping the fires of Emancipation burning.

T&T Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Janet Museveni, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Hazel Manning
T&T Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Janet Museveni,
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Hazel Manning

The guest of honour, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni conveyed his pleasure at being in Trinidad for the Emancipation commemoration and told the crowd that they are descendents of Africans and should be proud. He also proposed in his address that CARICOM should become the sixth region of the African Union. Museveni spoke of the unifying effort within Africa, telling the crowd that he is working to unite East Africa. The African Union, which is made up of five regions, recently concluded a conference in which plans for a more united Africa were discussed.

Speaking of his thoughts on Trinidad and Tobago, he said that the people of Trinidad and Tobago have been able to transform themselves through education for all. He saluted Trinidad and Tobago for being able to industrialize and for having a surplus in their balance of payments accounts. Museveni closed by praising the pioneers of Trinidad.

During Museveni's talk, drama nearly erupted when a homeless man, who said he sleeps in front of the Treasury Building, stood in a restricted area near the dignitaries which had been cordoned off and refused to move. When a uniformed police officer asked him to move, he loudly said he was not moving and dared the policeman to move him, threatening to let the Ugandan President and the mass of media know how he was being treated. The man, however, moved off after some minutes of quiet persuasion from the police officer.

Kambule 2007 Emancipation Procession
Kambule 2007 Emancipation Procession

Accompanied by African drumming and songs, thousands participated in the procession from Independence Square to the Lidj Yasu Omawale Village in the Jean Pierre Complex. Estimates of the procession were upwards of 15,000. Moko Jumbies, drummers, dancers, and stick-fighters featured prominently in the procession. Groups including the Laventille Rhythm Section, Picton Folk Performers, Pelican African Drummers, the Fondes Amandes Reforestation Project as well as numerous civil and religious groups participated in the procession.

The rains came heavily just after 11 a.m., and while some people took shelter, many continued in the colorful procession, singing and dancing in the rain to African drumming and Orisha chants.

POS Emancipation Day Parade in pictures:

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