Walk to celebrate end of slavery

2018-12-04 06:00
The lanterns were carried throughout the walk, led by traditional marching bands, which passed by the Bo-Kaap Museum on the way to St George’s Cathedral

The lanterns were carried throughout the walk, led by traditional marching bands, which passed by the Bo-Kaap Museum on the way to St George’s Cathedral

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The annual Emancipation Day “Walk in the Night” commemoration took place on Friday 30 November.

The commemorative walk takes place through the streets of Cape Town, and traditionally starts on the eve of Emancipation Day – the day slaves were officially emancipated in 1834 – with the celebrations running into Saturday 1 December.

The theme of this year’s walk was “The Music of Slavery”, and it highlighted the musical influences of the enslaved people who were brought into this country from Malaysia, India and West Africa, to name a few.

The first step in preparing for the annual celebration was a workshop hosted by the District Six Museum with its elderly Seven Steps members, as well as youth and students from the University of Cape Town, at its Homecoming Centre. Workshop participants, ranging in age from six to 75, created lanterns and looked at the different musical influences of the enslaved people, particularly focusing on the origins of goema. This understanding inspired the shapes of the lanterns created during the lantern-making session.

“The lanterns and music symbolise the fire and celebration of those who were finally freed on 1 December 1834,” the District Six Museum says in a statement.

“The walk is not only a celebration of their freedom, but it also honours their memory, emphasising current-day themes of trauma, resistance and conscious healing.”

The celebration started at the Strand Street Quarry where the lanterns were lit. These were carried throughout the walk, led by traditional marching bands, which passed by the Bo-Kaap Museum on the way to St George’s Cathedral.

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