Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 04, 2019 (SKNIS): Tasked with giving the featured address at the opening of History and Heritage Month on January 31 at Matterson House, Governor General, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton, took the opportunity to highlight prominent African survivals in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Sir Tapley identified the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park as being the most well-known survival and said that it was built by enslaved Africans whose survival over those years should be treasured.
“It is perhaps only fitting that in the Brimstone Hill National Park, which is now a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) world heritage site of universal importance that we can reflect upon the call of our forefathers to lend their ingenuity and skill to this magnificent fortress now hailed as the Gibraltar of the West Indies,” he said.
His Excellency noted that the month of February affords the opportunity to display history, heritage knowledge, understanding and appreciation, for local history through various activities and added that “history and culture go together to foster strong appreciation among our nationals.”
He said that another survival was that of the masquerade, which was accompanied by the ‘Big Drum’.
“This rhythmic resonance fills all with a full sense of wanting to participate. Throughout my years at my home, my family and I look forward to hearing the big drum and seeing the accompanying masquerade,” he said.
He said that aspects of the local dialect also reflect “some smattering of African speech,” and noted that “our research would remind us of the rich tapestry of literature also concerning our African heritage.”
The Governor General reflected on his childhood and said at the age of ten he found out his father was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). He marvelled at the “tremendous work of the NAACP, which was at the forefront of Civil Rights in the United States.”
“We have been able, through our research, to look at so many descendants of citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis whose parents travelled to advance themselves in the United States of America and their and their offspring combined, contributed significantly to the evolution of the USA,” he said.
His Excellency concluded his address by imploring all to continue a “life of learning because it exposes us to so many other new aspects” of life.
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