The Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee (NRC) joins the rest of the world in observing Nelson Mandela Day on Monday, 18 July 2022.
Nelson Mandela Day was designated by the United Nations on July 18, 2009, the birthday of the first Black President of South Africa and has been observed annually since then, promoted globally by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Mandela would have been 104 years old this year.
NRC Chair Earl Bousquet said on Monday: “As Saint Lucia prepares to observe Emancipation Month 2022, Nelson Mandela Day, which also happens to coincide with carnival Monday here, is an opportune time to recall that Mandela actually visited Saint Lucia on July 4, 1989, as a special guest of the government of Saint Lucia, during the CARICOM Summit.”
Bousquet recalled: “While here, Mandela offered wise counsel to the Caribbean’s leaders and shared South Africa’s experiences in adjusting to the post-Apartheid era.”
This year, he added, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s focus is on “Promoting community and home-based gardens, supporting fruit and indigenous tree planting and creating awareness of the intersections between Food Security and Climate Change.”
For 2022, the Foundation’s highlight is on “Food Security and Climate Change” with the tagline: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are!”
According to Bousquet, “As the nation and the region adjust to the increasing challenges and difficulties of constantly-rising food and fuel prices and the difficulties posed by COVID-19, Climate Change, the Ukraine War and related Trade Sanctions and Blockages and the Supply Chain crisis, the NRC is calling on all Saint Lucians to follow the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s tagline, especially when it comes to food, to do what we can with what we have wherever we are.”
The NRC’s chair said the month of activities organized by the government “has the full support of the NRC” and he invited Saint Lucians “to take the opportunity of an entire month of educational and entertaining cultural and historical review to better understand what Emancipation was to both the enslavers and the enslaved.”
According to Bousquet, “The month also provides an opportunity to refresh and reboot our minds and ourselves from the mental slavery that people of African descent in Saint Lucia and across the Caribbean have lived with since Emancipation, through Apprenticeship, after Indentureship and throughout the colonial experience, until the age of independence.”
Source: Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee