Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Overseas Maroons screen film this weekend

Published:Saturday | January 5, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Roy T. Anderson (left) accepting the Special Jury Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2012 Belize International Film Festival, from juror Edgar Torchia. - Contributed
Accompong Town Maroons marching through their town in St Elizabeth on January 6, 2012. - Photo by Paul Williams

Paul H. Williams, Gleaner Writer


THE COUNCIL of Overseas Maroons, in association with Action 4 Reel Flimworks, will screen Roy T. Anderson's ground-breaking film, Akwantu: The Journey in the community centre at Accompong Town, St Elizabeth today. There is no admission fee.

The film, written, directed and produced by Roy T. Anderson, a Maroon, tells the story of the Jamaican Maroons, from their journey from Africa to who they are today. It was endorsed as a Jamaica 50 event, and had its world premiere in June 2012 in Charles Town, Portland. It won a 2012 Belize International Film Festival Award and has had several screenings in London and North America, and is an official selection to the 21st Annual Pan African Film Festival, to be held February 7-18, in Los Angeles, California.

This evening's screening, the council said, will be part of the 2012 Council of Overseas Maroons Annual Accompong Primary and Junior High School Students Award Ceremony. This annual event "celebrates and honours the extraordinary achievements of the Maroon children and will also recognise the winner of a Maroon Essay Competition".

The Council of Overseas Maroons, Inc is a New York-based, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the protection, preservation and promotion of the Sovereign State of Accompong. Its mission, among other things, "is to help improve the health and well-being of Maroons at home and in the diaspora".

After the screening, Anderson "will discuss with the students the importance of understanding and preserving the rich history and cultural heritage of the Maroons who established the first independent nation in the Western Hemisphere". Maroons from the diaspora will be in Jamaica for the screening of Akwantu: The Journey.

This groundbreaking documentary will be screened under the patronage of Colonel Ferron Williams of the Accompong Maroons, and will precede the annual Accompong Maroons Independence celebrations on Sunday, January 6. This year is the 275th independence anniversary of the victory of the Trelawny Town Maroons of the Sovereign State of Accompong.

When the British militia fighting the Captain Cudjoe-led Trelawny Town Maroons of St James was outwitted and frustrated by the said Maroons, they made a peace offering to Captain Cudjoe. On February 12, 1738, His Majesty George II, king of Great Britain, France, Ireland and Jamaica, gave full power and authority to Colonel John Guthrie and Captain Francis Saddler to conclude a treaty of peace and friendship with the Trelawny Town Maroons. The 15 articles of pacification were concluded March 1, 1738.

Every year for the past several, the victory of the Trelawny Town Maroons is celebrated on January 6, said to be Cudjoe's birthday. Popularly known as 'Maroon Christmas', it's a day of festivities and rituals including an official opening ceremony, cooking of unsalted food under the 'Kinda Tree', feeding of the ancestors, a march to and from the 'Peace Cave', and through the town. Tomorrow promises to be no different.