JIS News

‘Nakumbuka,’ the annual memorial commemorating the millions of lives lost during the transatlantic slave trade, will be held on February 17 and 18 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Bazba Theatrical Players Limited is organising the two-day event, which is being held in Jamaica for the third time.

The official opening ceremony will take place on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. with a ceremony of remembrance, featuring a drum call and a symbolic “enchainment and breaking of the chains”. Guest speaker will be former Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, Dr. Basil Wilson, who will speak about the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on the modern world.

Friday’s session will cater to more than 1,200 students from 40 schools across the island, who will benefit from lectures in history and social studies, that will assist in their preparations for external examinations. Other activities will include workshops, poetry, drumming, story-telling, face painting, and the sale of food and cultural items. Both days are free to the public.

Managing Director of Bazba Theatrical Players Inc., planning committee member, Yashika Lopez, told JIS News that Nakumbuka 2011 hopes to “continue the awareness of our heritage, our culture, and our history in respect of our student body across the island and our public as well.”

Nakumbuka is a Kiswahili (Swahili)word that means “I remember” and is the name given to the annual day of observance for the “Maafa,” also known as the African slave holocaust.

The memorial, which has to date been observed in the United States, Canada, and Jamaica was pioneered by Jomo Nkombe, a Tanzanian, who lived in Canada during the 1990s.

From early youth, Nkombe was mindful of the slave trade that had been carried out from the East African Coastand his idea was to memorialise the lives of Africans, who died in slave rebellions within the colonies.

The annual observance, which was first held in Jamaica in 2003, is promoted by the World Pan African Movement.