In the words of poet D.S. White, strong black people are not dead.
Instead, they have experienced a rebirth through the memories of their children, grandchildren and great- grands, who have chosen to celebrate their uniqueness and strive for their personal best, rather than letting past experiences confine or define them.
The St Jude’s Primary School family this week staged their inaugural African Awareness Day celebrations, paying homage to those strong black people.
African foreparents and the culture of the country were honoured through art, food, dress, music and games throughout the St George school. The activities were the culmination of the month–long festivities and celebrations continued Monday afternoon with
a modelling African wear competition, dance performance, poetry, and a presentation by general manager at the Barbados Water Authority, Dr John Mwansa.
Coordinator of the activities, Vikki Wiggins, told Barbados TODAY these kinds of activities were much needed to help empower the young children about their identities.
Wiggins stressed that, particularly with her Class 3 students, she had noticed the darker skin children were often teased because of their complexion and, as a result, these children then considered such skin tones to be more of a burden for them than a blessing. And added to the fact that some parents did not want their children wearing African garb, these young ones believed being African and highlighting one’s Afro-centricities were the worst thing to do.
“[B]ut as they learned about the African culture more, then they started getting more into it –– they became empowered. I started telling them about their African ancestry and that they became kings and queens, and I told them how we got here. I told them black skin is really beautiful and showed them examples of all the beautiful black people doing great things across the globe and in the modelling industry like [Oscar winner] Lupita [Nyong’o]. After that I have got absolutely no teasing about the black-skinned. The African awareness is a really good thing. Now the children are way more appreciative of African culture and their ancestry,” Wiggins said.
The teacher added that the celebrations certainly would continue again next year; but until then it would be reinforced throughout this year.