Ghana has begun the celebration of this year’s Emancipation Day with wreath-laying ceremonies.
The ceremonies took place at different locations in Accra, including, the Dubois Centre, George Padmore Library and the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. At the George Padmore Library, a perpetual flame was lit to inspire the continuous quest for total emancipation.
Emancipation Day is set aside for the celebration of the “emancipation” of slaves in the Americas and the Caribbean. In modern times however, other forms of ‘slavery,’ continues to exist; such as economic slavery which is seen in African countries’ constant reliance on foreign countries for financial assistance even for the provision of basic needs of their people. Racism also continues to plague the Black Race in many western countries.
In 1998, Ghana joined the celebration of the day which had begun several years prior in the Americas, the Caribbean and other parts of the world.
In its 20th year, this year’s Emancipation Day is being celebrated under the theme, “Emancipation: Our Heritage, Our Strength,” with the sub-theme, “Celebrating the African Resilience.”
At the wreath-laying ceremonies, the country’s Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku (MP) said the celebration is introspection into the life of those who fought against slavery, imperialism, racism and colonization.
“As we mark the 20th Anniversary celebration of Emancipation, we reflect on the heroism, awe-inspiring courage and indomitable will of our forebears, as well as the legacy they have bequeathed to us, she said and added that ”they stubbornly rejected the mental chains which the slave masters would impose on them. They rejected the view that they were less that their masters and that they were destined for subjugation.”
According to her, slavery was an egregious and vulgar incarnation of bigotry, intolerance and disrespect. “It was the ultimate disregard for freedom of speech and association”
The Minister called on Ghanaians and Africans in general to resist any idea that seeks to degrade the image of the Black Race as poor and ought to be treated as slaves. Our forefathers did not accept that their fate was written in the stars or in the will of God. No, there was no divine will to poverty and enslavement. Today, we have to similarly reject any notion that we as a nation are deserving of it.
Madam Afeku stressed that Africans defeated the grossest form of human exploitation and manifested incalculable courage and resilience in the face of the most brutal and inhumane treatment. She said our forefathers demonstrated their love of freedom over love of mere existence and “we cannot squander such a legacy.”
“Today, we must be resilient in the face of our contemporary challenges. We must keep up the fight against crime, and violence, injustice, economic underperformance, carnage on our roads, social exclusion, intolerance and all forms of bigotry,” she appealed.
A host of activities have been planned by the Ministry, Ghana Tourism Authority and other agencies to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Emancipation Day celebrations.
A Grand Durbar of Chiefs and people in Assin Manso, Wreath-Laying ceremony on the graves of two former slaves and a visit to Nnoko Nsuo (Slave River) will culminate the activities on August 1, 2018.