Another intern and I were sent to the Wreath Laying Ceremony for Emancipation Day last Thursday, a celebration of African culture and freedom. The ceremony lasted for almost six hours and took place in three separate locations.
The ceremony started at the W.E.B. DuBois Center. A symphony played music as everyone walked in. I was surprised to see Western instruments being played like bassoons, flutes, clarinets, and French horns. The ceremony began with traditional African dance and drumming and was followed by a prayer and song.
After listening to many speakers and watching the wreaths being placed on W.E.B. DuBois’ grave, the members of the media were told to go onto a bus to be shuttled to the next location. We rushed onto the bus and all crammed in before speeding away. The bus drove exactly like the magic bus in Harry Potter that can squeeze and speed around traffic, except there was no magic so I have no idea how we did not die. The bus had to stop at a red light and all the people on the bus started screaming and yelling in Twi. Everyone stood up and stuck their heads out the windows, but I had no idea what was going on.
Once we made it to the second stop, the George Padmore Library, there was a quick speech and wreath laying ceremony. We were quickly pushed back onto the bus where the media members were joined by the dancers. The bus became more packed and I ended up basically sitting on a woman’s lap. We passed a parade for a political party waving flags and yelling. Half the bus cheered with them while the other half looked angry and annoyed.
We finally made it to the final destination of the ceremony, the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park. The park was beautiful and had a large grey building where Kwame Nkrumah’s grave was. We listened to amazing speakers, my favorite was a rabbi who talked about African pride. It was so inspirational, and I am not even African. There was also a short skit put on by a theater group. I did not understand the jokes at all though. Everyone was cracking up at things that must be inside jokes to Ghanaians because I was not understanding what was funny.
I felt like I got a huge dose of African culture during this ceremony. It was a great experience and I am glad I got the opportunity to attend.