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2018 Pan African Festival TT commemorating Emancipation gets underway

Published: 
Friday, July 13, 2018
The Kalabante acrobatic dance company comprises young and talented acrobats and dancers. PICTURE ESCTT

July is a significant month for the Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT), as it rolls out its flag-ship events of the Pan African Festival TT, the activities at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village, the Trade and Investment Symposium and the Kambule on Emancipation Day August 1.

This year, activities at the Village will take place for five days during the last week of July, starting from the morning of July 28. But the events cannot begin without the Blessing of the Ground at 6 pm on Sunday evening July 22. The Blessing of the Grounds of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, takes place at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, and is a necessary part of the Festival as it focuses on bringing positive energies to the venue which will be the centre for all cultural events during the period.

The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village will be formally opened on July 28 at 10 am. The Village was named after the early co-chair of the Emancipation Support Committee, which was formed 26 years ago, to strengthen activities focused on the celebration of freedom from chattel slavery. The Emancipation Village will host a series of events that aims not only at celebration of this victory but at guiding our people to chart the way forward.

The morning opening allows visitors to have a head-start on shopping, as entrepreneurs from the African continent, the Caribbean and the best of T&T will have a wide variety of products on sale – authentic African and Caribbean clothing, shoes, fabric, pottery, handbags, accessories, and a host of natural products and a variety of tasty foods and drinks. From just after lunch, Rhythm and Voices of Africa will take over the Village and the Youth Concert, highlighting the talented young bloods, will be staged from 8 pm.

On July 29, it is Family Day at the village. The population are encouraged to “turn down your pot” and enjoy authentic African and Caribbean dishes. Sounds of the Youth Steel Explosion fill the Village from 2 pm featuring popular youth steel orchestras. From 6 pm, Jazz at Sunset and Pan Night will highlight local talented artists in the jazz genre and feature some of the country’s leading steel orchestras.

July 30 has been designated Youth Day, between 9 am and 3 pm. Organised by youth for youth, the day is meant for children from youth camps, communities and families to participate in creative and learning workshops. Attendance is free, but interested groups are advised to book early by calling the ESCTT office. Later in the evening, at 7.30 pm, Shikamoo – Ancestral Rhythms pays tribute to calypsonian Composer for his contribution to the artform. Leading bards will lift their voices in praise to his years of song.

The Pan African concert on July 31, brings to a climax the celebration of African culture with the presentation of the Kalabante, Guinea’s world renowned acrobatic dancers. Comprising young and talented acrobats and dancers from the West African State of Guinea, the group has received rave reviews across Canada and North America.

This will be group’s first visit to the Caribbean and T&T.

The finale of the celebrations is on August 1, starting with the Drum Call at 4 am at Trinidad All Stars Pan Yard which signals the start of this glorious day. The Kambule – the street procession which makes its way through the streets of Port of Spain - assembles in front of the Treasury Building on Independence Square, the historic site where the Emancipation Proclamation was read 180years ago.

Cultural performances will greet those families who mark the day at the Village and at 7 pm, the traditional flambeaux procession winds its way from the Queens Park Savannah back to the All Stars Pan Yard.

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