JIS News

The blowing of the abeng, the traditional “war horn” of the maroons and the beating of the gumbay drum, will highlight activities at the 267th annual celebrations of the Accompong maroons in St. Elizabeth.
Held under the theme: ‘Celebrating our African ancestry.the Ghana connection”, activities will begin on Sunday (Jan.1) and culminate with the big celebration on Friday (Jan. 6), which is Cudjoe’s birthday and peace treaty day.
Colonel of the Accompong Maroons, Sidney Peddie told JIS News that the theme recognised the important connection between Jamaica and Ghana, noting that most of the early maroon leaders had originated from the west coast of Africa.
“There is a special protocol being developed between us the maroons, the government of Ghana and the Jamaican government, which should culminate in a group from Accompong actually going over to Ghana in 2007 for a very big celebration dubbed the ‘Joseph Project’. This is in fact a gathering in Africa many groups from all over the world of the African Diaspora,” he informed.
Meanwhile, Colonel Peddie is encouraging as many persons as possible to attend the January 6 celebration, noting that it would provide an excellent opportunity for Jamaicans to learn more about the traditions of their African fore parents. “The Accompong Foundation has put together a special educational package built around our theme so my advice is for persons to make the effort to reach as early as possible so that they can be able to observe much of what we have planned,” he urged.
Activities will get underway from as early as 11:00 a.m. and will include drumming and dancing from the Scotts Hall and Moore Town maroons and talks from lecturers at the Northern Caribbean University. Patrons can also enjoy traditional dishes.
It was in 1738 that the maroons of St. Elizabeth, led by Cudjoe, signed a peace treaty with the then governor of the day, which guaranteed them among other things, significant land holdings as well as personal freedom.
Also inculcated in the very historic treaty are the founding principles that to this very day govern the day-to-day activities of the people of Accompong.Many social as well as other political institutions such as the very powerful Executive Maroon Council all derive their “just powers” from this important document.
In addition to next week’s celebration, Colonel Peddie informed that Accompong maroons, in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, will be staging four special workshop days for schools and visitors during the course of the year, which will focus on special themes such as maroon music, folklore and herbal practices, dance and way of life.