Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley

Approximately 30 teachers from primary and secondary schools across the island will be installed as Mabalozi (Africentric Ambassadors) tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25, during a ceremony at the George Lamming Pedagogical Centre, Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination, the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, is expected to deliver the feature address, while chairman of the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, Dr. Erskine Simmons, and the Commission’s Deputy Director, Tempu Nefertari, are expected to give remarks.

These Mabalozi – Swahili for ambassadors – will serve as the Commission’s official representatives for building Africentric awareness and promoting African- centred education at their schools.

The teachers were given support from their principals to attend workshops on Building our Children’s Self-Esteem using Afrikan Heritage and Values. They were trained in African sagacity, Pan-Africanism and Africentricity.

In addition, the Mabalozi learn ancient and modern African history, the African origins of civilisation, the diverse African origins of Caribbean peoples, and African spirituality, values and social structures, among others.

The installation ceremony will begin at 3:00 p.m. However, earlier in the day, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Commission for Pan African Affairs will host an inaugural Mabalozi conference at the same location.

An official at the Commission explained that the symposium would be held annually to "promote the cross-fertilisation of ideas and collective strategies towards reinforcing our children’s sense of identity in order to build self-esteem and confidence" and ultimately encourage national development.

The spokesperson noted that the Commission had challenged teachers to work together, share knowledge and experiences and find "creative and empowering solutions" to the root problems of low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

The inaugural Mabalozi Conference and Mabalozi Installation Ceremony are in special recognition of Africa Day, which will be commemorated on May 25, and the United Nations designated International Year for People of African Descent.


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