When the UK Parliament on March 25, 1807, passed a legislation abolishing the slave trade, it was the culmination of a long struggle in the UK against the Trans–Atlantic Slave Trade, which, for centuries, defined the relationship between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, as well as the Americas.
For the victims of the trade in human beings and the societies from which they were wrenched, the scars of this historical reality run deep. For many European nations like the UK, which were the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the trade also, there are deep scars which cannot be over looked. Altogether, the Transatlantic Slave Trade has left an indelible mark on global human inter-relationships.
Significantly, even after the abolition of the slave trade in the UK Parliament, it was not till another 150 years later that the Gold Coast became the first Colony in Sub-Saharan Africa that obtained its independence from colonial rule.
In Ghana, therefore, a commemoration of the 200th year of the UK Abolition of Slave Trade Act, in a year that marks the Golden Jubilee on Independence form colonial rule, provides poignant reminders of much unfinished business in the quest for freedom.
There remains in the relationships between independent Ghana, indeed, Africa (including the Diaspora), and outlived both the abolition of the slave trade and the end of colonial rule.
The British Council, with support from the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat and the Edinaman Traditional Council, is organizing “Reflections”, an event to be held on March 25 2007 at the Elmina Castle, to Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the UK Abolition of Slave Trade Act.
It is a commemorative event aimed at reflecting on the significance of the abolition of the slave trade by the UK. More importantly, it is aimed at exploring the relationship which has existed between the UK and Africa over the past 200 years. It is also aimed at exploring a future of more positive relationships.
The event will be attended by about 600 invited guests including Chiefs, Government, Officials, members of the Diplomatic Cops in Ghana and the general public.
President Kufour and Baroness Amos, Leader of Britain’s House of Lords, and President, Privy Council, (who is also of African descent), will be the guests of honour.
Among the renowned poets and musicians of African descent and from the UK who will participate in this creative and inspirational gathering are:
- Linton Kwesi Johnson, poet and activist from Jamaica;
- Professor Anyidoho, poet and Professor of English at the University of Ghana, Legon;
- Hugh Masekela, the well-known South African Musician;
- Youssou Ndour, internationally acclaimed Senegalese musician;
- Agya Koo Nimo, a distinguished Ghanaian Musician;
- Eliza Carthy, one of the brightest young stars of English Folk;
- London Community Gospel Choir, the UK’s leading and best known gospel choir;
- Winneba Youth Choir, a youth Choir that is a household name in Ghana;
- Obour, one of Ghana’s foremost young hop-life musicians;
- Amandzeba Nat Brew, a well known Ghanaian musician with a rich sense of history and culture.
The National Dance Company of Ghana will also be amongst the participants.
This evening of Creative and shared artistic experience that reflects on the past, present and the future will be broadcast nationally and internationally.
Reflections is part of “Africa 2007”, a three year programme by the British council, which explores culture and identity to generate fresh ideas and create new relationships between individuals and communities in Africa and the UK.
“Africa 2007” also involves other programmes featuring artistes from Africa and the UK, changes between young people from Africa and the UK, as well as exchanges between professionals and an exhibition on families in Africa and the UK over three generations.
Daily Graphic - 20 March, 2007. Page: 9