More than 2,000 students and teachers from primary and secondary schools across the island gathered on the grounds of the Seville Heritage Park in St. Ann, on October 16, to participate in the 2019 Seville Heritage Expo.
The expo, which is in its 23rd year of staging, was held under the theme: ‘Experience Cultural Fusion’, and promoted Jamaica’s heritage through exhibitions, speech, drumming, music and dance.
The event was geared towards encouraging the school community and citizens to appreciate the evolution of education in Jamaica and the impact of cultural heritage to this transition.
There were exhibitions from the Nigerian Embassy, Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), Dolphin Cove, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), St. Ann Health Department, CALS Manufacturing and the Jamaica Information Service (JIS).
The expo also featured a wreath-laying ceremony to honour the country’s seven National Heroes.
In an interview with JIS News, Heritage Event Consultant for the expo, Joan Seagears, said the main aim of the annual event is to encourage students to embrace their cultural heritage.
She pointed out that year’s staging was the largest, with over 150 schools participating in the day’s activities.
“It has been growing steadily ever since we started. What we hope to achieve is total involvement of our students and especially our teachers. We know that people have been saying that history is dead but today (October 16), you can see for yourselves that history is alive and history is exciting,” she told the gathering.
Ms. Seagears added that the Seville Heritage Park is ideal for an event of this magnitude, as the historical site celebrates hundreds of years of Jamaica’s history.
“There are so many different historical facts pertaining to this site that is vital to Jamaica’s development. It is rich in heritage, so what we are doing here today embraces the history of Seville and the history of Jamaica,” she said.
In the meantime, Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Janet Omoleegho Olisa, who participated in the day’s activities, told JIS News that the High Commission’s involvement in the expo is a demonstration of Jamaica’s shared heritage with Nigeria and a show of unity.
Ms. Olisa said that she was pleased to see the high number of students who turned out to enjoy the offerings at the expo.
“The reason why the High Commission always participates in the Seville Heritage Expo is that we have the same heritage. When our ancestors were brought out of Nigeria, some came to Jamaica and [this is one of the ways] we can participate and show the oneness, the togetherness and the ancestral roots that we have. So, we participate to teach the children where we are from,” she said.
The 320-acre Seville Heritage site boasts a museum/heritage education centre, which displays a wide array of artefacts and ruins, representing an accurate and comprehensive report of our Amerindian, European and African foreparents, their individual cultures and how these cultures interacted.