Hundreds celebrate Emancipation Day with King Tutu II

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Asante King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II makes his way to the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah to partake in Emancipation Day celebrations on Tuesday. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE – Angelo Marcelle

VIBRANT hues of red, gold, green, and black painted the streets of Port of Spain as the city marked the Emancipation Day celebration with a street procession.

Independence Square brimmed with excitement as the massive crowd gathered. Every side street was filled with people of all ages; even babies in strollers were among those waiting in anticipation for the historic arrival of Ghana’s Asante King, Otufuo Osei Tutu II.

As the sun blazed overhead –becoming unbearable for those who held a front row along the pavement – a murmur of anticipation swept through the crowd, signalling the imminent arrival of a distinguished guest.

Suddenly, the mesmerising, steady rhythm of drums echoed through the streets, drawing everyone’s attention to the end of the red carpet leading to the entrance of the Treasury building –in sight of where the Emancipation Monument was erected in 2020, in commemoration of ancestors who triumphed over enslavement.

King Tutu II with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his wife Sharon Rowley during the Emancipation Day procession in Port of Spain. – Angelo Marcelle

People craned their necks, eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of his royalty. The sound of joyful cheers, ‘freedom’and ‘ase’, rose in unison as the King’s entourage made its way through the sea of excited onlookers and photographers rushing to capture this historic moment.

Emotions ran high, and it was clear that this celebration held a deep significance for all, including the Prime Minister who described the day as a significant event for the country and all its citizens.

An explosion of colour emerged as the King’s arrived in his ceremonial attire. Dressed in rich kente cloth and adorned with the weights of intricate gold jewellery, the Asante King embodied tradition, royalty, and shared heritage to TT.

The vibrant hues of his embellished robe mirrored the vibrant spirit of the occasion, infusing the pore-rising atmosphere with a sense of pride and unity.

After speeches by Dr Rowley and the Emancipation Support Committee executive director Zakiya Uzoma-Wadada, the procession moved slowly toward Frederick Street.

The rhythmic sounds of African drums and melodic chants filled the air, joined by the sweet sounds of pan moments later.

Smiling faces illuminated every inch of the route, though there was some discomfort in the moving crowd of spectators hoping to get a glimpse of the King as he was guarded by tight security.

Still, the grins reflected the joy and freedom that Emancipation Day represented. As the King walked the streets, the massive crowd cheered and waved at him.