A slice of Africa in Puttalam-by Dishan Joseph


A slice of Africa in Puttalam-by Dishan Joseph Source:Dailynews Most Sri Lankans in Colombo city would have caught a glimpse of robust women, of African descent dancing to pulsating drumbeats. We have applauded the performances of the African Manja group. But have we truly understood their origins, displacement and hardships hidden behind their smiles. I firmly believe that after their generations have lived here for 500 years, they too are very much Sri Lankan. For centuries Ceylon had been a maritime domain for foreign traders, and defiant conquerors. All these foreigners left behind their ancestors, who with time integrated into our society. There were many nationalities that lived here in those ancient times – Arabs, Europeans, Indians and Africans. Due respect has been given to all, but people of African origin are forgotten, perhaps because their humble ancestors once came to Ceylon as slaves?. In 1807, the British Parliament passed the Act abolishing slavery. Chief Justice of Ceylon Sir Alexander Johnston also recommended the abolishment of domestic slavery. But we…

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