Tobago Heritage Festival – Looking Back Before Going Forward

A recession always seems to cause us to evaluate priorities and the value of money (and the value we get for money.) Of course with this comes the need for accountability in public life, for public funds. Word is the Tobago Heritage is soon to be evaluated and according to yours  is probably long overdue.

Tobagonians have felt for many years that the Heritage has not only become monotonous, but that no improvement or development is evident in the quality of presentations and productions (from lack of professional lighting, to poor stage management, acting and directing – among other things). 

My hope is that this upcoming evaluation will not just be another “talk shop”, which leads to no action, but that it will involve meaningful critiques and the development of a plan of action that will be actualised.

Below: Pictures from Pembroke Heritage Festival – Salaka Feast. This event recreates the yearly thanksgiving festival to African ancestors for guidance and favours granted during the past year. The event starts with an early morning meeting at the crossroads where the ancestors are summoned with the sprinkling of rum and sweet water, the blowing of conch shells, the sweeping of sacred ground with the cocoyea broom and prayer. The villagers gather and dress in the clothing and colours of the Nations or Tribes (Yoruba, Kromanti, Ibo, Mandingo, Congo, Temne) and a procession begins which ends at the Pembroke Heritage Park, where singing and dancing takes place. The food is prepared in the traditional way: roasting a whole pig in the ground and baking in the dirt oven etc. Later in the evening the stage production depicts the feast in its entirety within the context of a village story.

Pictures from Canaan/Bon Accord Stage Production:


Onika Henry

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