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Sunday 19 January 2020
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Youths keep heritage alive

Educator Mc Kenzie praises THA

Roxborough Police youth club drummers perform at the Wake Up Call procession to launch the Black Rock Sea Festival along Shirvan Road, last Thursday.
Roxborough Police youth club drummers perform at the Wake Up Call procession to launch the Black Rock Sea Festival along Shirvan Road, last Thursday.

Noted educator Dr Eastlyn Mc Kenzie says she is pleased with the involvement of young people, so far, in this year's Tobago Heritage Festival.

Speaking to Newsday Tobago, Mc Kenzie said the large turnout of young people at the various presentations augurs well for the future of the festival.

"What struck me is the number of young people and children participating in the festival, so we could see continuity," she said.

"Apart from that, there is an encouragement of the villagers and young people to prepare the scripts for their productions. So, they will write scripts and teach them the dances."

Mc Kenzie said the Tobago House of Assembly continues to play a valuable role in ensuring the history stays alive.

"The assembly assists tremendously because long before the festival they would have people from their culture division going around and helping them to make their dances nicer, keeping the authenticity."

A former teacher, actress and independent senator, Mc Kenzie hosted the Moriah Ole Time Wedding, last week Saturday, for the fourth consecutive year. She also emceed Mason Hall's Games We Used To Play on Sunday.

"We are seeing more and more young people, even children participating."

She said people also have told her the other presentations, thus far, were very educational and informative.

Dancers perform at the Black Rock Sea Festival at Courland Heritage Park last week. PHOTO BY THA

"I have not seen the other presentations live but I listened to some of them on radio. But from Moriah and the people who came to the games, they told me they were more educated, more informed about the ole time wedding and the background to it."

Mc Kenzie said in preparing to host the Moriah ole time wedding, she studied the work of one of the village's sons and also did her own research.

"I got some work that was done by Philbrick Smith who was from Moriah and who performed the part of the parson who married the couples. For over 20 years, he did that part and he actually did the research as to the whole background of the ole time wedding with the part played by the Moravians and the estates and the spread into places like Montgomery."

Mc Kenzie said she also read out the names of those who pioneered the celebration in Moriah.

"So, you can see the void that would have been left by those people have been filled by younger people coming in."

Saying the festival has grown over the years, Mc Kenzie said the event continues to play its part in boosting the island's tourism.

"This year, I had people from Germany, Canada, United States, Antigua and groups from Trinidad. We are seeing the tourism thrust in the whole festival."

Mc Kenzie said Mason Hall's presentation also was well-attended. It featured marble-pitching, kite-flying, musical chairs, hop scotch, greasy pole and needle and thread races, among other events.

The Tobago Heritage Festival ends on August 1 (Emancipation Day) with a stage show and street procession from the Pigeon Point Heritage Park.

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