Day 14 – the exhaustion of EMANCIPATION!

 

i am worn out! and the markings are GONE!

the markings i received during the pre-emancipation ritual last nite have disappeared…somehow the mystery of their disappearance comforts me and i begin my journey back to Assin Manso – where EMANCIPATION day activities are to take place…i was told to meet peeps from Panafest at Adisadel and we will all leave from there…fortunately on my walk there, T spots me and redirects me to Heritage house (Panafest’s headquarters) where he has been told there will be vans to take us to Assin Manso…we are supposed to be there by 8am for pick-up…we arrive by 8:30 and by 10am (right on GP time) a van arrives…

They are still setting up for Emancipation at Assin Manso, so i take this opportunity to revisit the sacred slave bath BEFORE the Emancipation laying-of-the-wreath ceremony brings the throngs of people to the river…

i dip my hands in the water and cleanse my face and feets…i feel refreshed and ready to deal with MORE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE…this event will feature GRAND DURBAR of many chiefs of the regions and i am excited to see this procession…

the sun is BLAZING and the tented areas are packed…i stand on the perimeter of the partitioned square that encases the commeration area…due to intensity of the heat i only get glimpses of the DURBAR as i move from one shaded area to the next searching for a place to sit and stay out of the sun….

i see Chiefs being lifted and carried by their assistants as large umbrella like props shroud them…they are carried in a circle around the crowd in what seems to be a very specific procedure…language is spoken that i cannot make out as another Chief is lifted and carried around…..this goes on for hours and then leads to introduction after introduction after introduction…

this is by far the LONGEST display of ceremonial circumstance that i have encountered ever…
i go back and forth between the ceremonies and the impromptu marketplace that has been set up… getting worn down by the sun, i finally just find a place to sit and wait for the Events to shift towards the Slave River…for what feels like three hours later, the Emancipation ceremonies have ended – including the one at the river…i must have dozed off or dazed out while this was going on, but am glad to be ready to head back to Cape Coast…

the Emancipation activities are far from over though…from Assin Manso people will head to El Mina for the St Joseph project Healing ceremony at the Dungeon….there people will do the final step of the journey – heading back through the door of no return as it is redeemed as the DOOR OF RETURN…this is the climax of Emancipation – drawing upon the first time the remains of the slaves were brought through the door of no return at Cape Coast….it should not be missed!

i took my tired bones back to the hotel and missed it! fortunately T went to El Mina and was able to detailed the events that occurred..i would have to bask in hearing him speak about the ceremonies there and extract what i could from his recount, as this was the LAST day of Panafest…

EMANCIPATION? i am not sure if i felt the exhiliration i longed for when first reading about this inaugurated day at least 7 years ago, but i sure DID FEEL EXHAUSTION

D UNDERBELLY Home page

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Author: Barak adé Soleil

creative practitioner, independent consultant and curator. making dance, performance art and theatre. working within community.

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