Nigerian High Commissioner Chiogozie Obi-Nnadozie and Khafra Kambon
By TriniView.com Reporters
Event Date: May 25, 2008
On African Liberation Day, May 25, 2008, the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) launched the Emancipation 2008 Celebrations in fine style at the SWWTU headquarters in Port of Spain. The theme of this year's commemoration is "Crossing New Frontiers to Conquer Today's Challenges". In the audience for this occasion was the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the Honorable Marlene Mc Donald; Dudley Thompson of the World Africa Diaspora Union; Nigerian High Commissioner Chiogozie Obe-Nnadozie and Amina Salum Ali, African Union Ambassador.
The Picton Folk Performing Company kicked off the event with a scintillating display of drumming as guests streamed into the venue. Tracy Wilson of the Emancipation Support Committee delivered the welcome address and he shared that, "We are the descendants of those who chose to survive and our accomplishments over the years truly belie our past and present conditions of physical and psychic battering, cultural imperialism and pseudo universalism." Tracy identified some of the current challenges facing the African Diaspora as food scarcity, increases in oil prices, policies of the World Trade Organization, racism, self-hate, migration/brain-drain, and primary resource exploitation and suggested that there was a need to cross new frontiers to deal with these problems.
Chairman of the ESC, Khafra Kambon invoked the name of George Padmore, C.L.R. James and Ben Carson as he explored the reasons for commemorating Emancipation. According to Kambon, the challenges being faced are very real, and include a breakdown in family and social cohesion, crime and exclusion from participation in development. He remarked that the major focus has to be on the mind, as "our minds are messed up" and "we doubt our own capacity as a people." He pointed towards the famous pre-colonial universities in Timbuktu and Sankore as centers of learning that are great inspiration to the African diaspora.
Kambon outlined some of the events that will form part of the 2008 Emancipation commemoration, including the annual Kwame Ture Lecture Series, a business forum, a Pan African Concert, a reggae concert, a food fair, an art exhibition and a special production of "Lion King" to be produced by Lebo M.
In the context of African Liberation Day, several speakers addressed the audience including David Commissiong, Chairman of the Caribbean Pan African Network; Roy Sethapelo, Charge D'Affaires of South Africa; Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the Honorable Marlene Mc Donald; Dudley Thompson of the World Africa Diaspora Union; Nigerian High Commissioner Chiogozie Obe-Nnadozie and Amina Salum Ali, African Union Ambassador.
The Picton Folk Performers were on fire that evening as they gave several pore-raising performances of drumming, dancing and songs that enthralled the audience. Also performing was the Mighty Composer who performed his classic song "Black Fallacy", a song that criticized the makers of the English language for always associating the colour black with negativity and evil. Brian London closed the show with a dynamic performance of several of his popular songs as he got several of the audience members, including Minister Marlene Mc Donald to sing the chorus.
The Emancipation celebrations put on by the ESC will run from July 29th to August 3rd at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village at the National Stadium and will include a Kambule (street procession), cultural performances and numerous booths. More information can be gotten from: www.panafricanfestival.org
Emancipation 2008 Launch in pictures:
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