The sounds, rhythyms, movements and vibrant colours of Africa were displayed at the launch of the UNESCO African Ancestry Project on April 7 with a view to bringing greater awareness of African Ancestry apart from the written history of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade which has overshadowed the otherwise rich African history.

Featured speaker at the event Dr. Whitman Brown in his address stated that “the Afro-Caribbean’s ignorance of their past is not by mistake but by design” in an attempt to subject them to manipulation for the benefit of others.

Dr. Brown proceeded to give examples of well known, productive and outstanding African Civilizations pre-enslavement as well as some of their inventions and contributions to the human race. He gave examples of how the slavery experience along with colonization have influenced the black race and admonished that a continuous struggle to increase awareness must ensue if future generations of Caribbean youth are to advance.

Secretary General of UNESCO’s National Commission, Mr. Antonio Maynard said his Organization was extremely proud of its involvement with this project. He said it is a critical component falling within the wider discussion of the rich history of African Civilization.

Mr. Maynard urged the public to take full advantage of the project including regular classroom discussions, community presentations, field trips and lectures which will take place over the next 10 months. He said the activities of the project, “Constitute the internationally recognized Slave Route Project and its National Scientific Committee established locally to manage the process of erecting a national monument to commemorate the abolition of the Slave Trade in St. Kitts and Nevis”.

The Secretary General announced plans to host a sub-regional seminar on July 7-8 at the St. Kitts Marriott entitled “Beyond Reparations – Strengthening the Slave Route Project in the Eastern Caribbean as part of the observance of the 20th Anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project.”

Mr. Maynard specially commended Executive Director Mrs. Evelyn Henville who along with the staff of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society

(NHCS)  is spearheading the implementation of the project on behalf of the National Commission for UNESCO. The project is being coordinated by Mr. Chesley ‘Pharoah’ Davis, Researcher and Cultural Consultant.

Several renowned individuals who have contributed significantly to the development and promotion of African Culture and lifestyles in Nevis were commended for their work including Owen Bussue Hendrickson(banjo making/repairs); Eugene Claude Pemberton aka ‘Canon’ (stringband/shoe repairs) and Elmina ‘Ms. George’ Cornelius (Pottery). A Special tribute was made to Elder Kofi Adams (WASET African School). This award was conferred on “Kofi” post humously.

Featured speaker for the launch, Dr. Whitman Browne, is an Educator, Author & Political Analyst from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis

The African Ancestry Project was launched at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday April 7th.


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