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Slavery Remembrance Day Events

24 August 2007 by Lisa

An African woman in traditional dress

Helen Renner in her wonderful dress

I was pleased to be able to go along to the Slavery Remembrance Day events yesterday at Otterspool Prom. Thank goodness for the great weather! It was a busy afternoon with delicious Caribbean food followed by the libation ceremony and a mixture of live performances. The libation ceremony was a unique experience – it is a solemn African traditional ceremony, which remembers, acknowledges and honours African ancestors, elders and leaders. Chief Angus Chukuemeka commended the work of National Museums Liverpool and its staff, in producing a museum which he said touched deep seated emotions.

After the ceremony I met Helen Renner (pictured) a resident of Birkenhead, originally from Ghana. I wanted to talk to her because she was wearing amazing traditional dress! She explained that it was made from the commemorative cloth of her school, whose patterns symbolised different aspects of the school and Ghanaian culture. You can see it has a pattern of fish scales and cocoa pods, to represent the importance of the fishing and cocoa industries and is decorated with images of people from the Achimota School that it commemorates. Helen had been around the slavery museum and was planning to go back to have more time to take it all in.

My favourite part of the live performances that followed were the two dancers who performed fantastically energetic routines to traditional African music by the River Niger Orchestra. It was quite moving when they performed a dance to show how the slaves were forced to dance on the ships and how they were whipped as they did so. Everyone enjoyed the poetry performance by Levi Tafari who was met with cheers and got people on their feet. A day of great variety that I enjoyed being part of.

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