The Canje Creek community of Baracara in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) has been named as this year’s honorary community for the African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA), as the cultural organisation hosts Emancipation Day celebrations on August 1.Baracara is a small village along the banks of the Canje River, and has at its roots a history passed down in the folklore of its residents over the years which points to it being a community which originated as a refuge for Guyanese Maroons, or runaway slaves.The stories roll off the lips of the village elders of the findings of lead shots for muskets at the waterfront immediately in front of the school, to the passing down of folk medicine that over time has proven to be very effective. This community is now set to transition into a local government area administrated by a Neighbourhood Democratic Council, a project that is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Communities.Baracara VillageWhile many of the villages honoured by ACDA under the spotlight of the Emancipation celebrations have a common history of being purchased by freed slaves, Baracara is said to have a deeper, more mysterious origin, which is passed down in oral history.The honouring of the riverine community comes as ACDA celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year and its 22nd Emancipation Day Festival at the National Park on Freedom Day, Monday, August 1.This is the second Emancipation celebration during the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD), which commenced in January 2015 and will come to an end in December 2024.It is a special year as Guyana celebrates its 50th year of Independence. This year’s celebration will be held under the theme, “African Guyanese achievements in the year of our Jubilee”, with a sub theme, “Building Strong Families through Entrepreneurship”.According to ACDA, the themes have been chosen in recognition of the importance of youth knowing their history and the legacy of their ancestors.Honouring the African presence in GuyanaACDA also celebrates an African country annually since most Guyanese of African descent cannot trace their ancestral roots to a particular African nation. In choosing a particular African country to highlight every year, ACDA seeks to educate the young and old about African countries and to remind them that Africa has 54 countries and is not a single country like China or India or the United States.Traditionally, ACDA honours an African country at every Emancipation Festival by building an educational booth for that country. However this year, 2016, the focus will be placed on Guyana, in keeping with the Jubilee celebrations.“A country with a very rich African influence, history and culture, Guyana will be the centrepiece that ACDA will proudly showcase during the observance of this Emancipation, as we explore our glorious past,” ACDA said.ACDA said a number of activities have been planned for this year’s Emancipation Day Festival. The organisation said it tried every year to raise the bar on performances in the National Park by providing some of the best local, regional and international performing groups. This year, it said, will be no different.According to ACDA, “For the first time ever in 2013, we were able to bring performers from Africa via the USA and we have managed to continue to expand our international acts since then in our hope to foster the growth of professionalism and diversity within the Guyana performing arts field especially amongst our local groups. The aim is to bring something different every year to the festival which does not already exist in Guyana… The past three years we have brought a Nigerian mime, acrobats from Kenya, a juggler from Ethiopia and a ventriloquist amongst others, all talents that were fairly new to the Guyanese people.”This year, the organisation said it was seeking to expand on this by bringing to the National Park Jamaican reggae star Luciano, who has emerged as one of the most prominent singers in decades and the greatest hope for roots reggae’s survival in the digital dancehall era.
- ACDA to celebrate the community of Baracara during Emancipation celebrations