EMANCIPATION DAY CELEBRATION OPENS
GHANA will attract the attention of Africans on the continent, as well as those in the Diaspora, from today to August 1, as the country hosts patrons and participants, both home and abroad, for this year’s Emancipation Day celebration.
The celebration marks the remembrance of the proclamation of the Black man’s freedom from the obnoxious slave trade which took away more than 300 million able-bodied men and women from the continent.
Emancipation Day 2010 is being celebrated on the theme: “Emancipation, Our Heritage, Our Strength,” with the sub-theme: “Rejuvenating the Dreams and Aspirations of African Youth”.
The emphasis on the role of the youth is to expose them to the atrocities that their forebears went through during the period of the slave trade and also to conscientise them to believe in themselves and fight against any form of oppression, enslavement and discrimination from any external force.
As Deputy Minister Kobby Acheampong put it, “It is an occasion to inform the youth to resist all forms of slavery and oppression”.
Among the activities planned for this year’s Emancipation Day are wreath –laying ceremonies at the W.E.B. Dubois Centre, the George Padmore Library and the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.
The choice of these three freedom fighters, renowned for their eloquence in the cause liberty for the Black man, was not by accident.
Then, as is the norm, a grand traditional durbar will take place at Assin Manso, where he “Donko Nsuo” or the Slave River flows.
It is a place where slaves captured from other parts of Ghana, especially from the northern parts, were given their final bath on their way to the Cape Coast and Elmina castles.
Assin Manso also serves as the final resting place for the remains of a Jamaican, Crystal, who dedicated her life to fight racism, and Samuel Carson, an African American Naval officer from the USA.
They were both buried at Assin Manso in August 1998 after their remains had been flown from the US to symbolize the beginning of Emancipation Day celebrations in Ghana.
An international tourism investment forum has also been planned to coincide with year’s celebrations.
There will be tours for the participants to various parts of Ghana to expose them to what Ghana has to offer the world of tourism.
There will also be a massive concert in Cape Coast, collaboration between the Ghana Tourist Board and the Musicians Union of Ghana, at which members of the Black Stars will be special guests, given their splendid display in South Africa.
A reverential night on July 31, involving candle processions, a roll call of our slave ancestors and the reading of the proclamation against any form of oppression of man by Cape Coast Castle.
This special occasion is a solemn ceremony, as it marks the eve of the proclamation of Emancipation Day when freedom was given to former slaves.
Coming immediately after the excitement created by the superb display of the Black Stars at the ended World Cup in South Africa, this year’s celebration promises to be even more exciting and provides a befitting remembrance of the slave trade.
The trading relationship between Africans and the Europeans prior to the era of slavery started on a mutually beneficial arrangement until it developed into a human tragedy called the slave trade. It later developed into its worst form called chattel slavery.
On August 1, 1834, chattel slavery was abolished in the then New World Societies, the present-day US, the Caribbean and the islands of the Atlantic.
Under the chattel slavery, the victims were regarded as property without any rights. They had no right to education or health. They had no personality and were completely at the disposal of their masters. The slave owners could even decide to take the lives of their victims without anybody questioning them.
Chattel slavery saw the African as the commodity, with the White man as the commodity owner.
The African slave, under chattel slavery, was regarded as unintelligent and uncivilized. He/she was put in chains, irons collars and all forms of inhuman treatment and made to work on plantations.
As the Black Stars of Africa, Ghana has been celebrating Emancipation Day since 1998. Its claims to this position is embedded in the general acceptance that our part of the world served as a major exit point for millions of slaves who were shipped to the Americas.
About 26 forts/castles dotted along the coast of Ghana clearly manifest this point. Three of such monuments at Elmina, Cape Coast and Fort St Jago have been designed World Heritage sites.
By that designation, these forts/castles are on the same pedestal as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal of India, the Pyramids of Egypt and many others.
Daily Graphic page: 16 Wednesday, July 21, 2010.