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Emancipation Day 2023 showcases culture, unity, food of ancestors

…as thousands flock parks for picnics, family fun day

Once again, this year, the Emancipation celebrations were held at the National Park, drawing thousands of Guyanese together to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in Guyana. This year’s event at the National Park was particularly significant as the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) marked the 30th anniversary of these celebrations.
In addition to this, the festivities also acknowledged the bicentennial anniversary of the 1823 Demerara Revolt in Guyana. This historic event symbolised the determination of thousands of enslaved individuals in Guyana who courageously rose up against the oppressive British imperial plantation system. The theme for this year’s celebrations was “Tu Ta Shinda, We Will Rise.”

A representative from the organisation expressed deep gratitude for the continuous support of 30 years of Emancipation celebrations at the National Park. They emphasised the importance of fostering unity among the Guyanese people and encouraged everyone to come together in fellowship.
The day’s festivities commenced with a centre stage opening at 15:00 pm, providing a platform for new and emerging talents to showcase their skills, including poets, dancers, acrobats, and singers. The National Park’s tarmac hosted various activities, featuring outstanding local performers such as O.K.C, Akeem Alexander & Fame Band International, cKush, Big Red, Abel Stokes, and the KAST Dance Company. To add to the excitement, spectators were treated to captivating parades by Glaston twirling dancers and fire dancers.

The event garnered immense interest, with ticket booths crowded. Many expressed their excitement, eagerly anticipating the chance to dress in full cultural wear and proudly embrace their African heritage, as this celebration offered a unique opportunity to showcase their fashion. However, the day’s significance extended beyond fashion, encompassing various activities, including football games, food and craft exhibitors, centre stage performances, and the highly anticipated ANSA McAL chief cook-up competition.

Overall, the Emancipation celebrations of 2023 proved to be a momentous occasion, filled with cultural pride, commemoration of historical struggles, and the celebration of freedom and unity among the Guyanese people. Several parks along with the Botanical Gardens were filled with persons who hosted family picnics in these areas.

Also on Tuesday, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips and his wife, Mignon Bowen-Phillips, attended the Revival Awareness and Perpetuation of African Culture (RAPAC) Emancipation Festival, in New Amsterdam, Berbice.
The Prime Minister was also joined by the Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat, and several regional officials.
In his Emancipation Day message, President Dr Irfaan Ali lauded the contributions of African-Guyanese and urged persons to reject all who seek to stoke divisions.
According to President Ali, African Guyanese will share in the benefits that will flow from Guyana’s transformative development, both now and in the future. He further assured that they will have a stake in national development and governance. However, he also warned of forces both within and outside of Guyana, seeking to stoke divisions.

“I am mindful that there are forces inside and outside our country who, for selfish reasons, continue to stoke division and engender fear, mistrust and suspicion. As I have done in the past, I want to encourage Guyanese to continue to reject these attempts and expose the agitators of disunity and fearmongering who threaten our nation’s cohesion and progress.”
“Emancipation Day was a milestone in our country’s history. As we celebrate the anniversary of this historic day, let us recommit to working to create a brighter future where resilience and achievements resonate in every corner of Guyana, inspiring generations, present and future, to unite in building a nation that embodies the spirit of freedom, prosperity and inclusivity,” the President added.