The Consulate of Ethiopia in Jamaica commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), Africa Day, on May 25, at Buff Bay Primary School, in Portland.
Yodit Getachew Hylton, honorary consul of Ethiopia in Jamaica, addressing the event, said, “[T]his is indeed a special day for me! I am privileged to be a part of this year’s celebration of Africa Day 2023 in the parish of Portland here, at Buff Bay Primary School.”
She reminded the guests gathered, that “[I]t was on this date in 1963, that 32 heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia along with leaders from African liberation movements to establish a way forward for Africa’s complete independence from imperialism, colonialism and apartheid. Ethiopia’s former Emperor Haile Selassie, and other important figures, were the founding fathers of this trailblazing organisation.” She said further, “[T]his celebration of the 60th anniversary is an opportunity to recognise the role and contribution of the founders of the continental organisation, and many other Africans on the continent and in the diaspora, who have contributed greatly to the political liberation of the continent, and equally, to the socio-economic emancipation of Africa.”
She commented that, it was an opportunity to share the information, knowledge and best practices of the past and to encourage each other to take on the vision of the AU for Africa, as well as to drive the realisation of the “Africa We Want”, under the Agenda of 2063 by which time most countries in Africa should have achieved developed country status.
Hylton said “[I]t is also a great moment for Jamaicans, the people from the wider Caribbean, as well as Africans, to reflect on the spirit of pan-Africanism – their roots, which connects the past to the present and to the continent’s aspirations for the future.”
Before a group of dignitaries gathered, including High Commissioners and representatives of High Commissions of the continent, the Charles Town Maroons made a superb cultural presentation.
As a part of the grand theme: ‘Our Africa Our Future’, Hylton made an impassioned speech, which detailed the actions necessary to be taken to ensure the success of our generation’s children by exposing them to their African roots. She said, “[T]his new generation of children, here at the Buff Bay Primary School, must be taught through a changed curriculum the benefits of deepening their knowledge of Africa. We could start by introducing the teachings of Jamaica’s National Hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and his love for and understanding of the potential of the African continent many decades ago.” Hylton thanked the Government and people of Jamaica, for this the second staging of the National Africa Day celebrations in Jamaica, which affirms the historic, cultural, economic and people-to-people connections to the African continent. In particular, she thanked the Minister of Culture, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, and Minister of Education Fayval Williams for their contributions to the success of this year’s celebrations.
The Ethiopian exhibition booth showcased Ethiopian flags, artefacts and educational posters and material about the country. Hylton also conducted a demonstration of a traditional Ethiopian Coffee ceremony, and served Ethiopian traditional cuisine Injera, Wat and Defo Dabo. The students, teachers and the Maroon community also had the opportunity to sample Ethiopian traditional food and coffee.
Complementing the Africa Day celebration was an African fashion show displaying traditional Ethiopian clothes as well as West African attire. The music and dance by the Charles Town Maroons, as well as the children of Buff Bay Primary, were very entertaining.