Monday, February 26, 2018 2:20 pm
And so the two day extension visit to Haiti’s precious tourism city, Cap Haitien, came to an end with a Cocktail dinner hosted by the Association for the Protection of Haiti Patrimonies, held at its headquarters in middle of the city.
Here, a special plaque of recognition was given to the Special Guest, Wole Soyinka, amid loud ovation by the specially invited eminent Cap Haitians. The event also witnessed the presentation of Haitian Coffee, promoted by the association through the Cooperative of coffee makers of Haiti.
Responding to the generous reception, Soyinka said Haiti represents the true strong and resilient spirit of Africa in the Diaspora. He said Nigeria and Haiti share a lot in common, especially in their experiences of colonialism and recolonisation.
While Haitians are to be celebrated for making a strong choice to resist all forms of domination and colonisation, most African nations said Soyinka, have wilfully submitted themselves to retrogressive forces of recolonisation and neocolonialism that come on the wing of religious ideology, manifesting in the violent and dangerous philosophies of those fundamentalist or extreme groups as Boko Haram, Al Shabba and others in the guise in Africa.
He said while Nigeria thought it had weaken the Book Haram, the retrogressive forces have simply manifested in the Fulani Heardsmen that now slaughter people wilfully while the State seems helpless to tackle the menace.
He warned that since the heardsmen target farmers for seeming intractable elimination, Nigeria and its peoples must brace up for possible farming and food crises.
To the Haitians, he said they have serious Choice to make so they do not fall into the trap of recolonisation as currently manifesting in many countries on the continent.
Excursion to “top of the world”:
The Day had begun with an excursion to Haiti’s most important Tourism property, the Citadelle Laferriere, regarded as “a wonder of the world” and the largest fortress in the Caribbean.
It is 900 meters above sea level, and located 15km south of Cap Haitien. According to Wikipedia, it was built after the Haitian independence in 1894 by Henri Christophe to defend the northern part of the Island of Haiti against possible return of the French.
An estimated 20000 workers were said to have taken part in the construction work, out of which over 2000 reportedly perished in the course of the construction. The blood of the dead mixed with the mortar of the building are said to be responsible for the resilience of the castle against weather and destruction, according to Haitians. But it was damaged in the 1842 earthquake that ravaged Haiti. Reconstruction were however carried out to retire it as a tourism facility. Haitians take pride in what it represents in their struggle against European oppressors and forces of colonialism.
The journey up and down the castle on specially-designed scooters and horses, is exhilarating and breathtaking. An unforgettable experience indeed. The management of the castle gave Soyinka and his delegation a guided tour of over two hours, and later reception at the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site, the Sans Souci Palace, located at the base of the range of mountains atop which sits the citadel.
Soyinka and his delegation will return to Port au Prince for the wrap of the weeklong visitation that had seen him being decorated with the “Medal of Honour and Merit of Haiti of Commander rank, prmal.decoration as Honourary Citizen of Cap Haitien”, and as well a reception by UNESCO.
The visitation coasts home with Exchange with his comrade in writing, and longtime friend, Franketinne this afternoon, and later tonight with a dinner party to be hosted by the Swiss ambassador, Monsieur Virchaux.
The dinner will be dedicated to celebrating the 70th birthday anniversary of the filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, whose birthday falls due today, and whose cinematic works are also being showcased in the programme designed, produced and hosted by Madame Silvana Moi Virchaux-led Laboratorio Arts Contemporain with facilitation by the Lagoa-based Culture Advocates Caucus.