EVENT – SINT MAARTEN: The Moko Fest celebrates Afro-Caribbean culture

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This Sunday, July 3 at Emilio Wilson Park, the Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation is launching its "Moko Fest" festival which will celebrate Afro-Caribbean culture from above, with the art of stilt walking and Moko Jumbie taking center stage. .

The combination of Moko (African reference to designate God) and Jumbie (West Indian term to qualify a ghost or a spirit) characterizes the art of dancing on stilts, an art from West Africa brought to the Caribbean by deported slaves. A Moko Jumbie wears a colorful costume and carnival mask. Demonstrations are common in Trinidad and Tobago, as a celebration of freedom during Carnival, and have been since the 1900s. Despite the lack of records, the Moko Jumbie has also been imported to Saint Martin, and Funtopia keep the tradition. Active since 2014, the Funtopia Youth Initiative foundation works for young people, offering lessons to children from primary schools on the Dutch side to teach them to walk on stilts. The choice of Parc Emilio Wilson is no coincidence for the organizing team. A place of great spiritual and cultural influence on the community, this park located in Philipsburg has strong historical heritage roots in Saint Martin being a former slave plantation. The foundation encourages the population to dress in its African, Afro-Caribbean and Afropunk clothing to celebrate the lived black experience. 100 stilt walkers from the Soualigan Giants troupe, adults as well as children participating in the after school community stilt walking program will parade during the Moko Fest. The festival will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 20 p.m. For one day, Emilio Wilson Park will turn into a cultural village with stalls selling food, Caribbean crafts and local products. Big Al (Alston Lourens) will take on the costume of master of ceremonies, informing the public of the program, with, among other things, a morning yoga session with C.Piper, Afrobeat Zumba with Nico, Capoeira demonstration by Soualiga Capoeira Group, mini-parade by GNSTM Drum Band, poetry shows and of course, music with Ma'At King, Ebony Empress, King Vers, DCG, Charise Piper, Deejay Vybz, DJ Bat KO, etc. Special presentations will also be given by dancer Dashaun Prince and special guests from Trinidad and Tobago (Daddy Jumbie and Russel Grant) award-winning and internationally recognized as Moko Jumbies. Free demonstrations of stilts for children and adults will take place. In the Kids zone, children who prefer to stay down to earth can enjoy bouncy castles, trampolines, face painting and special games. _Vx

Info: mokofestsxm@gmail.com

Facebook: Funtopia Youth Initiative

Tickets: free for children under 5

Children 5 to 17 years old: $10

Adults: $20

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