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Nova Scotia: Creoles set to significantly honour their cultural heritage

14 August 2019 at 00:28 | 1421 views

By a Special Correspondent

On August 29, 2019, the city of Halifax in Canada will come alive with a five-day lineup of multicultural and multi-generational events to celebrate and recognize the richness and diversity of Creoles.

The goal of the activities which will be hosted by the Creole Heritage Association Canada (CHAC), a chapter of Creole Heritage Association International (CHAI), is to inspire, educate and to leave a lasting legacy in Nova Scotia. Though a step-up, this year’s adventure is a replay of the 1st 5-day Celebration in Nova Scotia held by CHAC in 2016.

Inaugural celebration in 2016
After the American War of Independence, enslaved Africans were freed and resettled, first in Nova Scotia and then in Sierra Leone. Halifax was the departure point for the groups of liberated slaves and Black Loyalists who sailed to Sierra Leone in 1792. Thus the maiden voyage of Creoles to the 2016 inaugural CHAC celebration was viewed as a retracing of steps taken in 1792, a return to the birthplace of the Creoles of Sierra Leone – Nova Scotia.

This year’s "Zion March" “
Among highlights of the five-day celebration, August 29 - September 3, 2019, will be the 1st Welcome “Zion March”. In 1792, Zion Church (see photo) was built in Freetown and it is now one of the legacies of the Nova Scotian settlers.
The March is to remember the early settlers in what is today Freetown, Sierra Leone. The purpose of the March is to celebrate the achievements made by Creole people in Sierra Leone in particular, and to highlight the significant events that have influenced the development of the community.

Rev. David George
A major objective of the March, also, is to pay homage to the life and legacy of Rev. David George (c. 1743–1810). George, a Baptist preacher and Black Loyalist from the American South, founded the Silver Bluff Baptist Church in South Carolina in 1775, the first black congregation in the present-day United States. He was later affiliated with the First African Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia, the oldest Black church in North America.

George escaped to British lines, accepted transport to Nova Scotia and eventually resettled in Freetown. After migration from the South, he founded Baptist congregations in Nova Scotia and Freetown; he played important spiritual and secular roles in the Nova Scotian and Sierra Leonean Black communities.

In sum total, George pastored the first all-black Baptist Church in America, planted the first black Baptist church in Canada, and established the first Baptist church on the continent of Africa. He wrote an account of his life that is today one of the most important early slave narratives.

Other highlights
Included, also, in the host of events are a symposium in honour of Arthur Porter, first vice-chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone who spent his last days in Canada where he passed in March this year, the 2019 Awards Dinner and Dance, “The Year of Jubilee Thanksgiving Service”, Awujoh (food, entertainment, performances) and more.

Mission of CHAC
CHAC provides Creoles in Canada with a forum for preserving and promoting the history, culture and heritage of Creoles worldwide – the mission is to provide their kith and kin with a forum for collective cultural expression, a conduit for participation in the general affairs of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and in Sierra Leone and to raise funds to effect its goals and mission.

For further information about this year’s historic five-day lineup of activities, visit the CHAC site at https://www.chacanada.org.

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