Roots bear fruit

tpetstmarysafricanawarenessSt. Mary’s Primary this week went back to the roots – almost literally.

Roots being the theme for African Awareness Day, assistant coordinator Shelly-Ann Devonish explained that the idea behind the activities leading up to the day was to educate the children on their history.

“The whole idea is to make the children aware of black history beginning with our heritage. So we focussed on the history, going back to Africa – slavery, how they were transported, the Middle Passage and the Triangle of Trade and the reasons they [the slaves] would have been brought here,” she said.

The education was accompanied by photos and images of slaves in shackles, the slave boats, maps, all of which was information utilised in displays on the day.

She said too that the students were educated on the areas of West Africa from where local slaves would have derived, like Ghana and Nigeria.

“The theme was Roots and the idea was to encapsulate the movement, how black people would have developed from slavery to present. We had pictures of kings and queens of Egypt so they would have better idea of blacks as kings and queens and not just slaves,” said Devonish, who noted that fellow teacher Kamille Marshall was the coordinator of the overall activities.

The task for the Class Fours was even more practical, she explained, adding that as those classes were dealing with the topic of fishing this semester, their project incorporated fishing in Africa.

“They made items like aquariums, and we also had displays of African clothing, jewellery, cou cou, bush medicines and traditions that would have been passed down. Students also did masks and animal collages.

“We tried as well to focus on the ‘now’ aspect, looking at things like entertainment today featuring famous black people like Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and in politics Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Marcus Garvey.”

Children were also surprised to note that several of them had African names, Devonish said, when they made a display featuring some of the popular ones.

On the day Sally Comissiong made a presentation to the school on Africa, examining the language, culture, religion among other aspects, while there was also a drumming session by the Spiritual Baptiste and a dance by students. (LB)

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