By Aisha Jah
The International Day for People of African descent celebrates the idea of having brothers and sisters of shared cultural backgrounds, this celebration takes place every year on the 31st of august. Across the world people can share their diverse African heritage together in each community whilst encouraging various traditions from 54 different countries alongside spreading international cultural awareness to those people who do not share the same African background.
2022 is the first year to experience this worldwide event full of culture and ancestry as the celebration has only recently been developed by the United Nations.
Following the awareness of black and African history this event similarly intends to stimulate and intensify passion towards past events dating back to colonization of Africa, furthermore, a historical journey of highs and lows for these people and their ongoing fight for independence against Europeans and Americans.
The African timeline differentiates throughout its historical events influencing changes and ultimately, leading up to the Africa we know as today. Although Africa has come a long way as a continent due to migration, slavery, segregation and other elements of transport; African culture now exists internationally. Meaning that places all over the world are becoming more diverse and can share their individual stories with the rest of the world.
With the African continent containing 54 different countries and over 200million people obtaining an African descent across the globe, meaning that each individual has their own black African experience to tell. This is especially important as the culture of each ethnic group holds together the authentic social fabric of traditional practices and rites, art, music, and oral literature throughout which identities are built.
Let’s talk about culture.
Traditional culture of Africa comes in different forms, such as art, music, dance, sculpture and beadwork. These types of traditions are deeply ingrained into African societies. African dances, performing deeply woven into the social fabric of Africa and generally involving aspects of musical and theater as well as rhythmic bodily movement which can express various forms of passion. Akan art is known for vibrant artistic traditions, including textiles, sculptures, Akan goldweights, as well as gold and silver jewelry commonly used by those of African descent as more modernly today being involved as a part of fashion worldwide.
Why am I talking about culture? Well, this particular culture is the backbone of the international day for people of African descent. Culture is used throughout history, to be able to bring history to life so it is vitally important that culture exists today. This is so that we can understand the means and ways of the past, even if it can only exist inminiture day-to-day expressions such as art, music, hairstyles, jewelry, in order to appreciate it.
African history entails the study of the economic, political, cultural and social activities of the people who live or once lived in Africa. To be passionate about the rich diversity of our human experience is to be part of a supportive community that appreciates the struggle of the African ancestors. That is why it is important we use this day to acknowledge, not only descendants of the African, but also the victims of the trans-atlantic and mediterranean sea slave trade.
Overall, this day should be taken upon all people with ethnic background alongside those with African descent to honor the vibrant culture of an international community while celebrating their values and contributions. On the 31st of August it is only right to award recognition to the justice and development for people of African descent.