This year’s Emancipation Day activities promise to be another memorable affair with an attractive programme scheduled for Friday, August 1, 2008 at the Bay Street Esplanade, St Michael.

All Barbadians including community and youth groups, religious organisations and churches are being invited to bring their flowers and congregate at Independence Square, the City at 6:30 a.m. for the walk to Bay Street. 

This year’s event, held under the theme “Emancipating the Body, Unshackling the Mind: Celebrating Our Beauty,” will focus on those indigenous, cultural icons that have contributed to the process of emancipation and empowerment. The celebrations will also highlight the African influence on many aspects of Barbadian culture.

Among those cultural icons to be featured include gospel artiste Paula Hinds, the Barbados Landship which will celebrate its 145th Anniversary in October this year and the credit union movement. The event will also highlight the many elements which define Barbadian culture such as the visual and performing arts, fashion, architecture and the literary and culinary arts.

The programme at Bay Street, which is produced and directed by Winston Farrell, will feature a potpourri of performances including dance groups, drummers, poets, singers and folk musicians.

It will be divided into three segments: “An Act of Slavery”, “From Emancipation to Independence” and “The Final Ritual”. Performers will include Tony “Commander” Grazette who will be giving a rendition of his song “Slavery Done”. There will also be an artistic piece by Dancin’ Africa and dramatic skits highlighting this country’s journey to emancipation.

Prime Minister, David Thompson, is scheduled to deliver remarks during the Rally at Bay Street.

Following the official ceremony, a new attraction, the African Caribbean Emancipation Village, coordinated by the Commission for Pan African Affairs, will be set up along Bay Street, giving vendors an opportunity to display their art, clothes, jewelry and craft for members of the public. The village will also ‘come alive’ with musical performances, a fashion presentation and the return of the Griot. An exhibition entitled “Goré Island” will be on display in Bay Street. “Goré Island” is situated off the coast of Senegal and was the place where slaves were housed before being transported to the New World.

The Walk and Rally events are highlights of the Season of Emancipation which was launched on April 28 this year with National Heroes Day. The Season runs until August 13. It encompassed African Liberation Day on May 25 and the Day of National Significance on July 26.  Other notable dates are Marcus Garvey Day on August 17 and UNESCO Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on August 23. The Crop Over festival is also a critical element of the Season.  

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