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JIS News

The Maroon culture has always been a main feature of Jamaican society and from July 31 to August 10, persons in various parts of Canada will be able to enjoy the expression of that culture in all its glory.
When the Charles Town Maroons from Portland visit that country, they will be doing various performances and participating in a number of workshops, showcasing the various aspects of Maroon culture and informing of the history of the Jamaican Maroons.
Led by Colonel Frank Lumsden, the delegation will consist of 10 persons, and is a special invitation extended to the Charles Town Maroons to visit the Province of Nova Scotia, as part of the activities marking Independence and Emancipation celebrations in Jamaica.
The visit is being facilitated by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Jamaican High Commission in Canada.
Much historical importance surrounds the visit, as many maroons were taken out of Jamaica during the 18th Century to Nova Scotia, by the British colonial government, where they subsequently made significant contributions to the development of that province.
Among the places where the Maroons will perform and participate in workshops are Halifax, Preston, Ottawa and Toronto. They are expected to perform the popular Afana Dance.
The afana dance, otherwise called the machete dance, depicts the deportation in 1796 of the Trelawny Maroons to Nova Scotia.
Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Sydney Bartley, says the visit assumes a great deal of significance, given the historical relationship between the province of Nova Scotia and Jamaican Maroons.
“This trip is a reconstruction of the journey made to Nova Scotia by the Maroons in the 18th Century,” he tells JIS News.
“Jamaican Maroons have contributed significantly to the development of the Province of Nova Scotia and the invitation given to them is in part, a recognition of that contribution,” he continues.
The Maroons will do their first performance in Ottawa on July 31, before moving on to Toronto for performances and workshops from Saturday, August 1 to Tuesday, August 4. They will make subsequent visits to Halifax, where they will be guests at a welcoming reception on Wednesday, August 5, before doing another performance on Thursday, August 6.
The delegation will make a visit to Preston on Friday, August 7 for another performance and workshop, before participating in the final workshop on Sunday, in Dartmouth.
Mr. Lumsden is extremely excited about the visit. He believes the trip will present the opportunity to not only highlight maroon culture and history, but also to market Jamaica as an exciting destination, rich in cultural diversity and other attractions, which people the world over will want to experience.
“A trip of this nature has a lot in store in terms of its ability to promote Jamaica as a brand name and to sensitise other people about the story of the Maroons,” he argues.
“It will enable us to show that Maroon culture is not dead, but is evolving,” he adds.