African culture will be on display at St William Grant Park on May
25. The occasion is to celebrate African Liberation Day, and is part of
the celebrations to commemorate 140 years of Kingston as the capital of
Jamaica. Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke said the concert was also
part of the wider Jamaica 50 celebrations.
“I believe that there is no way Kingston should not be host
(of both activities) so we decided to start there,” she said. The mayor
said the event, which will be an annual one, is being planned with a
multi-stakeholder team with representatives from the South African High
Commission, Nigerian High Commission and Senegalese Embassy, liaising
with local bodies like the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.
She said booths from the various groups will be open from 11 a.m.
to 2 p.m. with items compassing various aspects of African culture. The
idea is to showcase a little of our proud, local history but also for
Jamaicans to see the history of our African ancestors up close. The day
is under the theme, ‘Nation On A Mission, Celebrating Its Cultural
History’. There is no admission fee.
There will also be a concert starting at noon and featuring some
of Jamaica’s best music, speech and dance performers. Artistes slated
for the concert include Tony Rebel, Yasus Afari, Roy Rayon, Mutabaruka,
as well as the popular Dance Xpressionz group. Lesser known performers
include the Royal African Soldiers and the Rekaka Drummers. Mayor Brown
Burke said there actually would be quite a few community-based
performers like East Kingston’s Denise Spice on the show.
“We had a low budget and really didn’t have much time to plan,
but we also do believe that we have some very good talent that we want
to highlight,” she explained. The South African movie, The Choir,
will also be shown. The plot revolves around a group of inmates in
Leeukwop Prison, South Africa’s largest prison, who are not only trying
to win the National Prisoner Choir Competition, but are also trying to
survive their day-to-day trials.
The foreign missions, will not only have their booths, but will
have wine and food tasting, giving local tastebuds a chance to sample
their culinary delights.
Left: Jamaican poet Yasus Afari. Right: Tony Rebel
Dance Xpressionz – File