Black History Month celebrated in Benin with Benzo, Marie-France Massembo, Chantal Loïal…

Marie-France Massembo

Report in Benin: Ismail Brice Tito Affagnon

As part of the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024, Africa celebrated, for the first time in a socially responsible way and 50 years after the USA, Black History Month from February 1 to 29, 2020. The opening ceremony, led by Mélina Seymour (Africa Mondo Benin), was held in the presence of cultural representatives from Guadeloupe.

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Mélina Seymour, Mother Jah and Father Jah

More than 500 people from several countries (Cameroon, Canada, Guadeloupe, Ivory Coast, Comoros, Senegal, Chad, Benin …) participated in the official opening ceremony which took place on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at the pier of Abomey-Calavi, Benin.

This first celebration of Black History Month in Africa was organized under the leadership of Guadeloupean Mélina Seymour (president of the Organizing Committee, general coordinator and promoter of Africa Mondo Benin).

Throughout the month of February (from 1 to 29), African and Afro-descendant people celebrated Black History Month and, with Mélina Seymour surrounded by her entire team, they experienced great moments of reunion, reconnecting with African roots, through conferences-debates and a multitude of activities in the town of Abomey-Calavi.

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Centre: Moïse Benjamin aka Benzo (hat) and Chantal Loïal

The presence of Guadeloupean cultural actors

Among the guests at this international commemoration were Ndèye Marie Fall, William Chinebu, the Honourable Georges Bada, Jean Paul Sagadou, Isis Noor Yalagi, Baako Seymour, Rose Dasseya but also representatives of the diaspora in the Caribbean, more precisely from Guadeloupe: Father Jah (Guadeloupean) and his wife Mother Jah (Cameroonian) who have been living in Benin with their children for many years; Marie-France Massembo whose family organizes every November 1 in Capesterre Belle-Eau, Guadeloupe, the Grap a Congo, a ceremony in memory of Congolese ancestors; Benjamin Moïse aka Benzo (teacher, storyteller, actor and musician); Chantal Loïal (dancer, choreographer and founder of the dance company “Difé Kako”, based in France) etc.

The rendezvous is therefore given from February 1 to 28, 2021, when Africans and Afro-descendants will once again celebrate the Month of Africa and the Diaspora in several countries.