Emancipation Day

redemption-song-monument-in-emancipation-park-in-kingston-jamaica-1600x1066It’s a national holiday here in Jamaica – yay 🙂

It’s Emancipation Day or August morning as it is traditionally called. A celebration of emancipation from slavery; well that’s what it should be anyway but most of us are just glad to have a day away from work.

Growing up in a Caribbean country means that I am surrounded by people of African descent, in our various blends and flavours; so I rarely think about race or even the hardships of my ancestors.

But today is different, it has to be. While, the “Maafa” meaning the great disaster in Swahili or what some refer to as the “African Holocaust“, seems so long ago, it is the very definition of who I am. I am here because my forefathers bled, died and most importantly, survived their oppression.

Here’s a brief history lesson, it’s only been 180 years since my ancestors shuffled off their chains on August 1st 1834, after nearly 340 years of slavery. 340 years of atrocities during the trans-Atlantic slave trade where approximately 20 million Africans were dragged from their homeland to toil on plantations in the new world.

I take this opportunity on this day of remembrance, for the hundreds of years that my people endured, so that I could have this life.

I salute you and I thank you.

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