[Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society] Some thoughts on 168th Anniversary of the Emancipation of Slavery in British Guiana (Guyana)
Greetings! In the name of the ancestors, the people who gave birth to the High Culture in the Nile Valley regions of Akebulan (Afrika) - Eternal blessings! Be upon them.
In the spirit of the survivors of the Middle Passage – those who were stet free on August 1, 1838 – what Europeans term the Emancipation of Slavery – and especially those who participated in the process of self-reliance and self-emancipation by simply purchasing property, former cotton estates, along the Atlantic sea Coast of British Guiana (Guyana) between November 1839 and December 1852 –Village Movement - those ancestors, slaves, and shareholders, laid down the foundations for settled life, the beginnings of nation building in British Guiana. Peace be upon them.
It is my position, that, one hundred and sixty-eight years, after Emancipation of Slavery, in the British Empire, the ideal of acquiring land – the basis of freedom – remains the greatest achievement of Afrikans experience in British South America. The focus is on Emancipation of Afrikans. Good people, please don’t you ever forget perhaps, an equally horrible system resulted in migration to British Guiana, which resulted in the flavouring of the Guyanese Society. I believe the abolition of the system of indentured labour must be recognized as a national holiday. Good people, you must be cognizant that while Afrikans were emancipated on August 1, 1838, the system of indentured labour as it is termed; A New Slavery was perpetuated and implemented. The system of indentured labour brought Europeans, mainly Portuguese, Chinese, and East Indians, in vast numbers, to British Guiana. In so much so that Afrikans once more than ninety percentage of the population has been reduced to some thirty percentage of the populace, according to the most recent national census.
However, I am well aware Afrikan Guyanese allows our unsung heroes, especially the shareholders and their children to be forgotten – and unknown – even among their descendants. I charge most of us with gross indifference which led to neglecting our own personal social and cultural history. I would love to witness a reversal of this trend. I would love for us to tell our stories ourselves. It is about time fellow Guyanese set aside time to research and document the history of their families, kinship, communities and institutions. I am positive you will uncover your heroes, both males and females, truth that was unknown to you, resting in the cemeteries in the communities, which you and I interpret as our homes.
What is disheartening is that the majority of Afrikans connected to the British experience in the Americas have no idea to-day what August 1, 1838, represents in their existence. Therefore, it is high time the politics of the curriculum be revolutionized to reflect the role and the meaning of Afrikans in the Guianese experience. The first of August – emancipation Day – has been neglected. It has been reduced to less than a footnote in the livelihood of man, in the Afrikan experience in the British Commonwealth. It is appropriate to correct this oversight – and restore the struggles of our ancestors to the mantle place in our daily lives, they deserve to occupy.
I challenge, all to take time out to remember and/or reconnect with the ancestors, the shareholders, the Members of the Local Authorities, schoolteachers, Public servants, farmers, all who contributed to community and national development in British Guiana (Guyana)
I challenge, all to remember, the Afrikans who were murdered in the aftermath of the Demerara Slave Revolt of August, 1823.
I challenge, all to remember, Damon and the outstanding Afrikans who participated in acts of passive resistance and civil disobedience in August 1834 must be fully recognized for their contributions to the struggle for emancipation and improvement of the conditions of life of the working class people, under the yoke of a brutal colonial society. It is high time Guyanese petition their government to make Emancipation Day a national holiday and to enshrine Damon as a national hero. Guyanese ought not to rest until such is accomplished.
I sincerely hope the expressions of my thought process will motivate people to rekindle their past – and thereby seek knowledge of themselves.
Power to people – long live Peoples’ Power. A Luta Continua – the struggle continues.
Posted by M'lilwana to Guyana Genealogical and Biographical Society at 7/31/2006 09:51:00 AM