Picture: Facebook / SABC
Cape Town – Capetonians commemorated Emancipation Day - the end of slavery on December 1, 1838, in the Cape Colony - with a night march through the City centre on Saturday.

Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people of African descent.

The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into full effect in the Cape Colony on December 1, 1838, after a four-year period of forced apprenticeship. 

About 39 000 enslaved people were freed and money was paid out in compensation to 1300 former slave-holding farmers in the colony.

On Saturday, locals made their way from 10pm through the Company’s Garden, along Government Avenue, past the National Library, through Greenmarket Square and Trafalgar Place, ending the march at Church Square at about midnight.

Mogamat Kamedien, who took part in the march, said: “The annual emancipation remembrance walk is meant to connect the descendants of the Cape Flats communities with the embedded ancestral roots of their enslaved forebears from the four corners of the Indian Ocean as forced labour migrants and their locally born enslaved labouring pool of ancestors who built the Mother City.

“The Walk in the Night offers a living heritage platform for the displaced Group Areas Forced Removals Cape Flats communities after-hours leisure access to the inner city which must still deal with the impact of spatial apartheid urban planning legacies of this modern port city.”

To highlight the historic milestone, the Iziko Museum’s Emancipation Day programme was celebrated with a stage performance exploring the lived experiences of ex-incarcerated coloured men in Cape Town.

The performance was staged at the Iziko Slave Lodge.

Cape Times