GREATER effort is needed to preserve French creole culture in TT.
This was the prevailing sentiment as the Department for Modern Languages and Linguistics (DMLL) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine hosted celebrations on Thursday to observe International Creole Day 2019.
Asked about the significance of the day’s activities, event organiser and UWI patois teacher Nnamdi Hodge said, “It’s a fit way to represent and honour French creole heritage in TT, the wider Caribbean and the general French creole diaspora in TT.”
Hodge lamented the decline of creole culture as he said, “People who speak it (patois) now are in their late 80’s and 90’s and when they die it will be gone with them.”
Attendees at the event were treated to traditional cocoa tea with bake and saltfish.
They were also given a lens into the past and present of creole culture with the screening of four local movies in patois which included 2018 TT film festival favourite sèptant lanné ansanm (Seventy Years Together).
These activities had a greater goal as Hodge said, “We need to bring back some of our old time traditions.”
“We have to start with the children by teaching them songs, games and the language. When they grow up they can bring it back to life and pass it onto their children.”
Students of the Talparo RC Primary School performed patois song ‘Let the Children Lead.’
The school is developing a programme to introduce students to creole language and culture.
To assist the school’s effort DMLL head Dr. Nicole Roberts presented the school with an alphabet poster in patois language.
In her address which was presented in patois Dr. Roberts said, “I think it is really important for us to preserve our creole culture.”
Martiniquan Nicole Taylor hosted a tutorial session which demonstrated the process of tying a traditional creole head tie also known as a “Tèt mawé.”
Thursday also marked the end of International Creole Heritage Month which is annually observed in October.