Afro Colombian Heritage Week

Publié le par hort




http://www.afropres id30.html

Afro Colombian Heritage Week: May 19 through 23 in
Cartagena, Colombia

By Karen Juanita Carrillo

In Cartagena, Colombia this year, the Cabildo Afrocaribeño "Gavilaneo" will sponsor a series of forums, marches, lectures, presentations and other events between May 19 and 23.

With the slogan, "Our Territory is also Our Culture" the Gavilaneo wants to emphasize their local community's Afro Caribbean culture and show that it is an integral part of the rich diversity of Colombia.

"May 21, 2008 will mark the 157th commemoration of the legal end of slavery in the Republic of Colombia," write the historian Alfonso Cassiani Herrera and the anthropologist Jesus Natividad Perez Palomino in response to a questionnaire presented to the Cabildo Afrocaribeño "Gavilaneo" about the week of celebrations.

"This date was declared by law in 2005 as national Afro Colombian heritage day. This all came about because of the struggles and efforts made by our well-organized African descendant communities who, among other successes, got the government to sign Law 70 (Ley de Negritudes/Law of the Blacks) of 1993. One major part of Law 70 recognizes Black communities as a distinct ethnic group and establishes procedures for recognition of the community's ancestral lands.

"Every year, the 21st of May is commemorated as the national day of Afro Colombianidad - it's now an event of political, social and cultural interest for the entire Colombian community.

"Some people commemorate just the day, others celebrate the whole week and others even commemorate the entire month - they'll get their municipalities, districts or states to make declarations about the day."

The Cabildo Afrocaribeño "Gavilaneo" was formed on the Colombian Atlantic Coast, in the state of Bolívar. It forms part of an effort to have various  organizations pool their resources and work together to strengthen the Afro Colombian human rights struggle. The group is comprised of some 15 different organizations: Corporacion Afrocaribeña Jorge Artel; Centro De Cultura Afrocaribe; Coretnoeducacion; Funsarep; Fundacion Surcos; Fundacion Hogar Juvenil; Asociacion De Etnoeducadores De Comunidades Afrocaribeñas; Instituto De Educacion Manuel Zapata Olivella; Grupo Juvenil Benkos Kusuto; Asociación De Mujeres Afrocaribeñas "Graciela Cha Ines"; Red De Consejos
Comunitarios Del Caribe Colombiano; Corporacion De Desarrollo Solidario; Corporacion Festival De Tambores De Palenque; Aprodic; and, Comité Local De Mujeres Afros.

In its literature, the Gavilaneo declares that it takes it mandate "from the African ancestors and their libertarian world vision; their transformational historical memory;...and their wisdom which has been proven adaptable to many aspects of everyday life and has been maintained by generations of Griots."

Cabildo members felt they were obligated to combine their activist efforts and "to share and to coexist democratically, so that we could obtain all of life's necessities, and conserve our territory -- one of the most important aspects of our cultural and ethnic world."

For the Gavilaneo, commemorating the anniversary of the abolition of African slavery in Colombia is an opportunity to emphasize the fact that more needs to be done to aid Black communities in Colombia and strengthen their fight for ancestral lands.

"We want specifically to go beyond the sole commemoration of the abolition of slavery," members note, "and to push for the fulfillment of the territorial, social and economic rights of the nation's Afro Caribbean towns - particularly those located in ancestral and traditional territories. Many of these territories have been turned into tourist attractions, and this is not in line with our historical project.

"That's why we have chosen the slogan, 'Our Territory is also Our Culture' for this week: it is the embodiment of our belief that Colombians need to not only recognize the spiritual elements of our culture - our music, language, world vision, religiosity, traditions and customs - they also need to recognize, respect and see to it that our people fulfill our historical right to our ancestral island territories and the other rural and urban territories our people have long inhabited."

For more information about Afro Colombian Heritage Week or to contact the Cabildo Afrocaribeño "Gavilaneo, email:


Publié dans African diaspora

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