This year’s exciting event themed ‘Celebrating the Past; Breaking New Ground.’ continues the trend of drawing larger crowds each year and the organizers did well on their promise to deliver a morning filled with the sights, flavours and sounds of Tobago’s History and Heritage.
Breaking new ground at the 14th Edition of their Ancestral Walk on Saturday August 9th 2014 at the St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, Mt Pleasant. The Walk commenced at 6:15 AM with the blessing of Fr. Hilton Bonas.
The colourfully clad crowd dressed in Ancestral Walk T-Shirts, walked from the Mt Irvine Beach Facilities to St Patrick’s Church, with bricks in hand re-enacting the trek taken by the former slaves, who carried fire bricks from the ships to build the Church.
Walkers walked and swayed to the pulsating sounds of Drummers of Tomorrow and the songs of Charlotteville Heritage Folk Performers.
Participating in the Walk, alongside Bishop Claude Berkley and Fr. Hilton Bonas, was Chief Secretary oh the Tobago House of Assembly Honorable Orville London, Secretary of Community Development and Culture Councilor Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt Angus, Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Claudia Groome-Duke, Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Assemblyman Huey Cadette, Assistant Secretary of Health and Social Services Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham, Assistant Secretary Education ,Youth Affairs and Sport Assemblyman Jomo Pitt.
Heritage Dancers performed an invocation dance, as the impressive parade paused at the foot of the church hill where the Mt Cullane Tambrin Band treated the audience to a scintillating dose of their musical dexterity.
With bricks in hand, the contingent then moved to the proposed site of a Multi-Purpose Complex where Bishop Claude Berkley led the laying of bricks and blessed the site.
The Walk ended at the grave of Jane Lovell, the last of the Ancestors who toted bricks to build St Patrick’s Church. Accompanied by the Tambrin Band, Pearl Eintou-Springer paid tribute to our Ancestors and challenged all present to ensure the retention of our Ancestral Traditions.
Secretary Tsoiafatt Angus was invited the lay a wreath at the grave, while Chief Secretary Orville London and Bishop Claude Berkley laid wreaths at the graves of two other Ancestors.
A sumptuous Tobago breakfast comprising Dirt Oven-baked bread, sweetbread with Chocolate Tea and St Patrick’s blend of Mauby, Tamarind and other juices followed, to the sounds of the Dixieland Steel Orchestra.
Addressing those gathered, Secretary Tsoiafatt Angus observed that this event, “is an authentic reflection of important aspects of our history and heritage. As such, after seeing and participating in last year’s event, I felt it imperative that the Division provide another level of financial and collaborative support for the Ancestral Walk.”
This year 2014, marks the Official inclusion of the St Patrick’s Ancestral Walk, on the Tobago Heritage Experience Calendar, as the Division of Community Development and Culture continues to provide financial and general support for this important historical event.
Reminiscing on his own introduction to the re-enactment some 14 years ago, Bishop Claude Berkley spoke about being inspired on reading historical documents in the Church and about being approached by Mr Harry Thomas to stage the very first Ancestral Walk.
Today, the Ancestral Walk Committee, Chaired by Ms Lois Leslie, continues to celebrate the Ancestors, who laboured to build the Church and to highlight the significant place this Church has earned in the corridors of Tobago’s History.
The site where the Church stands has officially been declared an Historical Site by the Tobago House of Assembly.
Other attractions: at the Event included:
- The Heritage Bakery, selling bread, pone, tart, sweetbread
- The Ancestral Caravan showcasing medicinal plants and artefacts of our Heritage. This was a show stopper as crowds gathered to enjoy the descriptions, explanations and humourous banter between the Bush Doctor, Mammy Daphne Thomas and the morning’s co-host Dunstan Leslie.
- The Association of Nigerians Living in Tobago, raised the Health Corner, providing complimentary medical services.
- Demonstrations of the Dirt Oven, Farine- making, and roasting bake with fire on top and below
- Breadfruit Oil Down cooked on spot and sold out immediately!
- Cultural Programme – excellent show! Co-host Reynel Clarke
- Black Sage – had the crowd eating out of his hands and even did an ex-tempo session
- Ziggy Rankin – crowd loved him!
- Pleasure Pirates, Tobago Heritage Festival 2014 Calypso Monarch Caston Cupid, Miss Tobago Heritage Festival 2014 Zoba Samuel, Kleon McPherson, Charlotteville Heritage Folk Performers, Mt Cullane Heritage Performers, Leandro Noray on pan and Jumoke Lewis (monologue). – All were just fantastic!