This Sunday, May 27, 2018, Guadeloupe celebrated the 170th anniversary of the end of slavery, first abolished in 1794 after the French Revolution and restored in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. Several events were organized on the island, especially at the Memorial ACTe, the “Caribbean Center for Expressions and Memory of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery”, inaugurated in 2015.
To celebrate the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Guadeloupe, the Memorial ACTe, in collaboration with the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, had prepared a rich program for the public. The Salle des Congrès et des Arts Vivants hosted two films as part of the CineMACTe: at 10:00 am, “Citoyens, Bois d’Ebène”, a documentary written and directed by Franck Salin and co-produced with Frédéric Tyrode-Saint-Louis which take us to Benin in the footsteps of Georges, Dr. Emmanuel Gordien’s ancestor who was a slave in Guadeloupe; at 18:30 pm, “1802, l’Épopée Guadeloupéenne” by director Christian Lara (present during the screening of the feature film as well as actor, Luc Saint-Éloi) which highlights the struggle of Louis Delgrès, Joseph Ignace, Solitude and their followers against the restoration of slavery in Guadeloupe in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte that was abolished in 1794 by the Convention, after the French Revolution.
A tribute to the beat of ka
At 3:30 pm, after ceremonial speeches including that of Deputy Olivier Serva and a passage from the poem “Au bout du petit matin” by Aimé Césaire recited by Jacques Martial (actor and president of the Mémorial ACTe) white flowers were thrown into the sea to salute the memory of African ancestors. Then, gwoka dance and music filled the Place de la Commémoration with the association “Dimension Ka” and its choreography entitled “Nou Sé Nonm” (We Are Men) – an event which we will talk about in a next article – and the beautiful show by the association “Akadémiduka” chaired by Nadia Pater and founded by Jacqueline Cachemire-Thôle who also was the patron of the 21st edition of the Relais Inter-Entreprises, a running race launched by Harry Noyer that took place, in the morning, between the city of Basse-Terre and the Mémorial ACTe in Pointe-à-Pitre.
This day of commemoration of the abolition of slavery ended with a “Kout Tanbou”, with the participation of several “tanbouyés” (drum-ka players).