BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Prominent African survivors should be treasured for their efforts during the foundation of St. Kitts and Nevis said Governor General, His Excellency Sir S.W. Tapley Seaton during his featured address to highlight the opening of History and Heritage Month on Jan. 31 at Matterson House.
Sir Tapley identified the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park as the most well-known survival site and said it was built by enslaved Africans whose survival over those years should be treasured.
“It is perhaps only fitting that the Brimstone Hill National Park, which is now a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site of universal importance,” said Sir Tapley. “We can reflect upon the call of our forefathers to lend their ingenuity and skill to this magnificent fortress now hailed as the Gibraltar of the West Indies.”
Sir Tapley noted that February affords the opportunity to display history, heritage knowledge, understanding and appreciation, for local history. “History and culture go together to foster strong appreciation among our nationals.”
He said that another survival was that of the masquerade, which was accompanied by the ‘Big Drum.’
“This rhythmic resonance fills everyone with a full sense of wanting to participate,” said S. Throughout my years at my home, my family and I look forward to hearing the big drum and seeing the accompanying masquerade,” said Sir Tapley.
He said that aspects of the local dialect also reflect “some smattering of African speech,” and noted, “our research would remind us of the rich tapestry of literature also concerning our African heritage.”
Sir Tapley.reflected on his childhood and said at the age of ten he found out his father was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). He marvelled at the “tremendous work of the NAACP, which was at the forefront of Civil Rights in the United States.”
“We have been able, through our research, to look at so many descendants of citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis whose parents travelled to advance themselves in the United States of America and their and their offspring combined, contributed significantly to the evolution of the USA,” he said.
Sir Tapley concluded his address imploring everyone to continue a “life of learning because it exposes us to so many other new aspects” of life.