|Africa Day will be observed on Saturday, May 25 across the globe. (FP)|
Barbados will join numerous other nations across the world in commemorating Africa Day, tomorrow, Saturday, May 25, when the 3rd Annual Mabalozi Conference and Installation Ceremony takes place at the Old Spirit Bond, Wharf Road, Bridgetown.
The Mabalozi Conference, which will feature an Installation Ceremony, is part of the official activities for the Season of Emancipation.
In addition, 21 teachers who participated in this year’s Mabalozi Teachers Training Programme – a schools outreach initiative organised by the Commission for Pan African Affairs – will be "installed" as Mabalozi, Swahili for ambassadors.?? The teachers, who hail from various pre-primary, primary and secondary schools, will serve as the Commission’s representatives in their institutions.
According to a spokesperson from the Commission, the Mabalozi Teachers Training Programme was designed to equip teachers in the island’s schools with the knowledge and skills to create African awareness among children.??
Adding that it also sought to promote cross fertilisation of ideas and collective strategies towards the reinforcement of children’s sense of identity, the official explained that the programme was designed to build children’s self-esteem, confidence and promote national development in the long run.
"We have challenged teachers to collaborate and share knowledge and experiences towards finding creative and empowering solutions to the root problem of low self-esteem, confidence and positive images of black children in our schools," the Commission’s representative said.
The Mabalozi Conference and Installation Ceremony will start at 9:00 a.m. with a drum call by the Director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr. Dyreck Murray. This will be followed by a libation and welcome from Mabalozi, Karen Elliott and Wendy Barrow respectively.
At 9:10 a.m. the installation ceremony for the teachers will commence; following that, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley will give an address.
Students of the Eden Lodge Nursery School and the Grantley Adams Secondary School’s Theatre Arts Class will also give dance and dramatic performances.
At 10:45 a.m., the Director of the Commission will present on the topic, Rising to the Challenge: the Mabalozi Programme; while at 11:00 a.m., Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Rodney Worrell will give a talk on the topic, The Mabalozi, Pan-Africanism & the African Future.
After a lunch break, the conference will resume at 1:00 p.m. with a discussion on The way forward and the Implementation of the Mabalozi Programme in the Classroom.
The joint closing ceremony and Mabalozi Honours Awards Ceremony will start at 3:30 p.m. with welcome remarks from Deputy Director of the Commission, Anthony Reid; and the feature address from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.
Africa Day 2013 also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU), which was established in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.?? While only 30 signatory countries signed onto what was then called the Organisation of African Unity, today almost all African states are members of the AU.