The Emancipation Village in the Jean Pierre Complex was a melting pot of colour, music, food, pottery, handicraft and garments that celebrate the culture that the Africans brought with them and carefully preserved in spite of the struggles they endured as slaves.
On the occasion of Emancipation Day, the Emancipation Support Committee chose to honour Henk Tjon, Surinamese. The Ambassador said slavery was a dark period in the history in the West Indies.
“I feel very connected to Trinidad because we have so much history in common. We celebrate our Emancipation Day on July 1 and on August 1 we are happy to celebrate the emancipation of the slaves in Trinidad,” Tjon said.
The Teke Lelie drum group from Suriname performed a spectacular piece which represented the Maroon community which still practices the dying art form of the “Atinti” or “speaking drum”. The Maroons were African slaves who escaped from the plantations and hid in the remote parts of the island. To communicate to the members within the tribe and event for different tribes to communicate messages to each other, they used a specialised drum language to warn of danger.
The Emancipation Village is open to the public until the grand finale tonight. The venue has many booths with traditional African clothing, jewelry and artwork. Throughtout the day and into the night various acts will take the stage to energise the crowd with African music and movement.