A day of national mourning

August 1 and 6 are national holidays in Jamaica. August 1 commemorates the anniversary of the Emancipation day proclamation in the British Colonies and August 6, the passage of the Jamaica Independence act by the United Kingdom Parliament in 1962.

The Emancipation Day proclamation of 1834 ended the use of African slave labour in the colonies while the Jamaica Independence act made the colony of Jamaica a self-governing territory.

Independence and Emancipation are important celebrations in the life of the Jamaican nation. It seems like an important time to remember the journey to being Jamaican, however Independence and Emancipation are not the only important times in the life of a nation. Jamaican citizens have to live with many painful memories and a lingering trauma of many unexplained events.

On May 26, 1980, the Prime Minister of Jamaica Micheal Manley, declared a day of national mourning at the mass burial for 153 elderly women who were burnt to death in a fire at the Eventide Home on May 20, 1980. How many more days of national mourning should there be in Jamaica? and how many have we forgotten?

Listen to “A day of national mourning”, a selection of tracks featured in the Sound Gallery at djafifa.com. It is dedicated to the memory of the elderly women who lost their lives in the Eventide Home Fire and the other “days” of national mourning that we have forgotten.

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