On Tuesday, November 13, I attended a Diwali celebration in Kara Kara Linden that was organized by Kara Kara Community Development Committee for the very first time. To begin with it was a wonderful occasion for a first try for which the organizers must be commended in spite of whatever glitches occurred. It was well attended; Kara Kara residents came out in full support along with folks from other parts of Linden; thus the two large tents that were erected were filled to capacity with the crowd overflowing onto the road.
Some 1000 dyas were lit and placed around and at the side of a bamboo arch (split in half) with shaped figures on both sides, and the skies were lit up by quite a number of colourful firecrackers that were set off by both children and grownups – it was indeed fun.
But there was something quite different with this Diwali celebration that amused many. Not only are the residents of old Kara Kara predominantly Afro-Guyanese with a splinter of other mixed and ethnic groups, but as a consequence so was the entire gathering in attendance.
In addition the performers who put on a cultural Indian presentation were 95% Afro-Guyanese! All were decked out in near Indian style attire.
Guyana Miss Universe Ms Ruquayyah Boyer, who is herself a resident of Old Kara Kara and took to the stage, looked sleek and radiant in her beautiful sari and accessories reflecting the national colours. The young performers evoked much laughter gyrating to Indian music which was played throughout the cultural presentation. They offered many expressions of Indian dances to the amusement and delight of the lively audience who obviously were engrossed in what was offered up.
As Mr Basil Jaipaul head of the committee and beaming with excitement said in his thank you speech: “I don’t know where and how these young people manage to put together all of this; yuh aint see is sheer black people here.” Though they may not have done the moves and gestures in the correct form truly reflecting the Indian way, they did symbolize and identify in the sharing of a different cultural expression of our different peoples, which says much. Believe me dear readers, this Diwali celebration was cause for wonderment; every conceivable Hindu Diwali dish that you could imagine was plentiful there – curry and all, prepared by the resourceful folks of Old Kara Kara.
May I say in passing that Old Kara Kara has been known for and exemplifies a kind of togetherness/unity despite any shortcomings. But this unique Diwali celebration made me wonder aloud if this has ever happened anywhere before in a predominantly African Guyanese community, or vice versa – if any predominantly Indian community has ever similarly celebrated a black occasion.