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Emancipation Jubilee 2011 a fitting tribute to our ancestors

Published:Tuesday | August 2, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

Drums beat the language of freedom Sunday night at Emancipation Jubilee 2011 in Seville, St Ann, paying respects to ancestors who fought and died to break the bonds of slavery over 170 years ago.

A huge audience turned out to celebrate the event, held under the theme "Let the drums talk," with support coming from brothers and sisters from continental Africa, in the form of the Nigerian Dance Troupe (Nigeria) and the Tribanghi Cultural Group from South Africa.

The two overseas groups joined the likes of Kingston Drummers, Children of the Drums, along with other cultural groups from St Ann, St Mary, Hanover, Westmoreland, Portland, Kingston and other areas, for a spectacular show.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding in his message, read by state minister and member of parliament for Southeast St Ann, Shahine Robinson, said the occasion was reason to celebrate.

"It is a cause to celebrate, for slavery is the worst abomination that one set of people can, through their power and might, inflict on another," said Golding in his message. "In that celebration, we honour the courage of those leaders who fought the battle against slavery at times when it seemed to be a battle that would never be won, those who sacrificed their lives so that our forefathers could be free and our nation be built."

Positive messages

South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, spoke of plans by that country's ruling African National Congress (ANC) to celebrate 100 years of existence in 2012, a celebration which will be done not just by South Africa, but the entire world. He said South African President Jacob Zuma would be inviting Golding on the occasion.

With other positive and encouraging messages coming from speakers on the night, including Robinson; youth, sports and culture minister Olivia Grange, Mashatile, and Professor Verene Shepherd, the occasion was a fitting tribute to those who were being saluted.