Masqueraders perform at the opening of the History and Heritage Month.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — History and Heritage Month opened Jan. 31 which was started by the late Sir Probyn Inniss, has the theme, “African Survivals in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

History and Heritage Month features outreach activities held by various organizations including the Brimstone Hill National Park Society, Department of Culture and Ministry of Education, the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society, the St. Christopher National Trust and other partner agencies. The activities are designed to promote greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the history, heritage and culture of the country, and to foster stronger national identities and pride.

“When we speak of African survivals, we refer to the cultural objects or practices brought over centuries ago from Africa that continue to exist and be part of modern-day St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honorable Timothy Harris, while outlining that the African influence has contributed immeasurably to the formation of ideas and cultures throughout the world.

He said that in St. Kitts and Nevis, the African cultural heritage has shaped the Kittitian and Nevisian experience and identity by interweaving itself throughout the history of art and dance as well as throughout history in foods, hairstyles, language, religions, songs, social customs and interactions and even family relations.

He quoted the well-known African proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child,” and stated that it is wisely placing the responsibility of raising happy, well-adjusted children under the family as well as the positive socializing influences of the entire community.

“Preserving the tenants of the African proverb and raising the best possible children are therefore relevant, not just to the security and well-being of our families but also to our own national security,” Dr. Harris said.

He declared the month of activities open and stated that “the greatest gift that we can pass on to our children and to their children is the timeless gift of our heritage, which they must always treasure because of its immense value.”