Jamaica is preparing to celebrate Africa Day for the first time on May 25, 2022, joining the African Union and other countries with a high percentage of the African Diaspora.
According to Marlon Williams, the senior Education Officer in Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth, the celebration will be a part of the schools’ Culture in Education Program. On May 25, schools will be given the chance to participate in activities that focus on the African culture and heritage of Jamaica.
Williams said that the celebration of Africa Day will give Jamaica’s children and youth greater knowledge of the African continent and work to eliminate misconceptions and misinformation about Africa that is proliferated among Jamaicans.
Kingston’s Mona Heights Primary School has been chosen to be the “featured school” for the event in 2022. It will act as the venue for showcasing the four African countries being celebrated this year, which include Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia. Planned activities include a fashion show and an exhibit of the nations’ cultures and cuisines.
Ghana is the original country of most of the Africans captured, enslaved, and transported to Jamaica. Nigeria was also a source of many Africans enslaved and brought to the island. South Africa and Jamaica have a strong relationship as a result of the island’s contribution to the release of Nelson Mandela. Ethiopia has strong ties to Jamaica’s Rastafari community.
Other Jamaican schools will choose one of these four African countries as the focus of their activities. Schools have been asked to use Africa Day to conduct ceremonies that celebrate the selected country, centering on its location, population, capital city, languages, politics, flag, motto, anthem, and other cultural expressions. Other suggested activities include a pictorial exhibit of the nation of focus or a fashion show with an African theme supported by relevant musical selections.
Williams noted that the Education Ministry continues to emphasize character-building among students in all its programs. Therefore, schools have been reminded to use their activities to promote positive attitudes and values.
Africa Day celebrations represent a collaboration between the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of Education and Youth.
Photos by Ian Macharia and James Wiseman on Unsplash