The Buxton First of August Movement (BFAM), in collaboration with the Toucan Multi-Purpose Club (TMC), marks the 175th anniversary of the abolition of Plantation Slavery in Guyana with a series of events over the next month.
The theme for this year’s events is “Emancipation, Reconciliation and Equality.”
“While we celebrate the tremendous achievements of our ancestors who made Emancipation possible, we are conscious that emancipation is an ongoing process that must be constantly engaged. The psychological damage of enslavement cannot be undone by detachment and complacency,” the organisation said in a statement.
BFAM and TMC said they were also conscious of new attempts at division among African Guyanese, we endeavor to use this year’s events to encourage a spirit of unity, solidarity and reconciliation.
“Further, we are concerned at the growing gap between the rich and the poor in Guyana. This class inequality has a racial dimension. African Guyanese in general and the African poor, in particular, are confined to the margins of the socio-economic and political process. We feel that this condition must be reversed as quickly as possible. Hence the stress on equality,” they added.
The Program of activities kicked off on July 17th with Essay and Art competitions for Primary and Secondary School students.
On July 31st there will be a Libation Ceremony by the Faithist/Apostolic Religious Community of Buxton at the Emancipation Monument from 5-7pm. This will be followed by the Emancipation Festival to usher in Emancipation Day at the Buxton Line Top beginning at 8 pm.
The Festival will feature cultural items including dances, poetry, skits, songs, calypsos, drumming, Queh Queh singing and Nancy Story. The performers include Henry Rodney, Buxtonion Folklorist Brian Chester, Ras Michael Jeune, Lasell Duke, Deon Abrams, Ras Jerry Hope and Basil Bradshaw.
The Buxton Fusion drummers and the Buxton Drama Group will be in attendance along with three of the calysonians who competed in the finals of the 2013 Mashrami competition. There will also be addresses by Village leaders such as Barbara Thomas-Holder, Aneisha Moore, and Morris Wilson, Randolph Blair and Yvonne Abrams and National leaders including David Granger, Odinga Lumumba, Nigel Hughes, Eric Phillips and Dr. David Hinds.
On August 1, Emancipation Day, there will be the customary feasting and party for the Elders at the Market Square from 1:00pm. There will also be a Day of Sports at the Buxton Line Top from 9am.
On August 2 there is a “Kaiso Fest” at the Buxton Ball Ground featuring the National Calypso Finalists, including The Professor, Young Bill Rogers, Stella and Rebel.
August 8: A Performing Arts Workshop at the Friendship Primary School 2-6 pm
August 14: A Symposium “This Confounded Nonsense Must Stop: Eusi Kwayana’s life of Struggle” at 6 pm at Friendship Primary School
August 16: An Art Workshop 4-6pm at Friendship Primary School
August 21: An Economic and Business Workshop “Land, Money and Economic Empowerment: Towards a Rebirth of Cooperatives in Buxton” ant 5 pm at Friendship Primary
August 28: An Education Conversation “What to do about the declining education standards in Buxton?” at 5pm at the Friendship Primary School