Barbadians are becoming more interested in learning about their heritage and how their ancestors lived, producer of the Crop Over Heritage Bus Tour Alison Sealy-Smith has said.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of yesterday’s tour, Sealy-Smith disclosed that the response to the event now in its fifth year was overwhelming.
“I think heritage tours in Barbados are growing. But we were surprised right from the very beginning when we first started with culturally enhanced heritage tours in 2012. We were surprised then by how passionately people responded.
“We had this kind of myth that Bajans don’t care about their own stories and we are ashamed and so on. What we have found from 2012-2017 since we have been doing these heritage tours and I don’t know if it’s just the way the NCF does them or if we were wrong in the first place and Bajans do want to hear about their past, but it has grown,” she said.
The acclaimed actress was particularly pleased that new presentations used to bring the historic stories to life appeared to be a hit with participants.
“What we are trying to do is to put a face, put something real to it. We all know that slavery was bad, it was humiliating, people died and so on. It’s hard to imagine it. But then when you see it being played out that’s a completely different thing.
“On our walking tours, we didn’t just tell you about King Dyal, we showed you King Dyal. We didn’t just show you Rachel Pringle. She probably looked a lot different than in the pictures that you see. I think it’s the coming alive of it. I personally think we were wrong in saying Bajans don’t like to hear about themselves. It’s just you have to give it to us in a way that we can appreciate. We may not want to sit down and read it in a history book… but when you show people that it’s not boring… we like that,” she explained.
The tour took hundreds of Barbadians on an entertaining and informative journey, telling them bittersweet stories of molasses and rum.
The tour commenced at Cavans Lane, The City, a former burial ground for slaves.
Participants first observed a minute of silence for the African slaves who died before a brief introduction from lead tour guide Morris Greenidge.
The presentation on the slaves’ arrival was so captivating, especially the monologue by young Saniyah Braithwaite, that it left some members of the crowd dabbing tears.
The tour then went on to Sunbury Plantation, St Philip for the party at the Great House.
From there it was on to Foursquare Rum Distillery, where the crowd learnt the story of the evolution of the rum enterprise.
The next stop was the Newton Plantation, a former burial ground for enslaved blacks.
The tour then concluded at an old Bajan Rum shop in The City. (DB)