The Nassau Accord Ceremony & Soweto Gospel Choir Were The Caribbean Muzik Festival’s Highest Notes
In the midst of the celebration that was the 2015 Caribbean Muzik Festival based in the Bahamas, organizers found a seamless way to merge fun and liveliness with more serious, celebratory matters. Last Thursday (Oct. 29) musicians, national dignitaries, international guests and residents of New Providence (the most populated island of the Bahamas) gathered in Nassau’s Rawson Square with the fest’s second official event, the Street Party and Baccanal.
It is here that the Caribbean country opened their arms out to all visitors and select persons worthy of honor, but specifically those hailing from South Africa. The event commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Nassau Accord, which marked the first international location Nelson Mandela visited after being released from a 27-year prison stint. The Nassau Accord was signed in the Bahamian capital in October 1985. The Nassau Accord called for the South African government to dismantle its apartheid policy, enter into negotiations with the country’s black majority and remove itself from Namibia. It also appointed the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, whose job was to investigate the South African issue and report back with recommendations prior to the special 1986 CHOGM in London. The daughter of the late former Prime Minister of Bahamas, Sir Lynden Pindling, accepted a commemorative award to acknowledge her father’s role in the implementation of the Accord.
Both the High Commissioner for South Africa, H.E. Mathu Joyini, and Bahamas’ own Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie spoke to the historic event with personal addresses. Fittingly, the two-time Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir blessed the stage with lively selections from their own catalog as well as covers of pop culture songs.
Before the rest of the musical acts took the stage to lead into the party portion—Junkanoo and calypso artists Geno D, Funky D, Ancient Man, Elon Moxey and Peruchin Band were the evening’s tapped talent—awards were given out to deserving individuals. Bahamian calypso and “rake and scrape” artist Ronnie Butler and McCartha Sandy all walked away with engraved honors, the latter of whom received the annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Caribbean Muzik Festival weekend did not go on as planned. The next night, the organization spearheading the fest announced the postponement of the remaining two events—concerts featuring artists like Kes The Band, Lady Saw, Alison Hinds, Ziggy Rankin, Etana, Admiral Bailey and many, many more—citing “insurmountable logistical difficulties.”
Flip through to see photos of what you missed of the event.