Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness launched celebrations to mark the International Decade of People of African Descent in Kingston Jamaica.
The launch of the celebrations to mark the United Nations designated period were unveiled as Jamaica observed its fifty-seventh independence anniversary on Tuesday, 6 August 2019.
The colourful ceremony was held at the Jamaica National Stadium and attended by thousands of enthusiastic Jamaicans who travelled from across the country to attend the historic event in Kingston, the country’s capital city.
The highlight of the celebration was a presentation of songs and dances from the Americas which are what people of African descent remember of the traditions they came with to the Americas 400 years ago.
The presentations included nostalgic pieces from Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, New Orleans and Jamaica itself.
The presentations also included songs and dances paying homage to Africa, with special mentions to Kenya, whose President was the chief guest at the celebrations.
Kenyatta, who was the chief guest at the event, said he was honoured to represent the African continent at the launch of the important celebrations.
“It gives me great pleasure to declare Jamaica’s commemorations to mark the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent officially open,” said Kenyatta.
PM Holness said Jamaica will host several events over the next year until 6 August 2020 to celebrate the decade.
The launch of the celebrations coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the time ships carrying Africans first landed in the Americas.
It also coincides with the centenary of when Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey incorporated the Black Star Liner, ships which were to be used to repatriate Africans in the diaspora back to the continent.
Marcus Garvey’s teachings of African unity and independence had significant impact on the Pan African movements and influenced the fight for independence.
Even though many Africans on the continent spend a lifetime without ever hearing of the history of black people in the Americas, there are millions of Africans in the diaspora who constantly search for their heritage and are very attached to Africa.