Increasing awareness for Keti Koti as more initiatives celebrate end of slavery
On July 1 tens of thousands of Netherlands celebrate Keti Koti, commemorating the abolition of slavery in the country. Awareness for the day and support for the celebration seem to be spreading, with more and more initiatives emerging around Keti Koti, NU.nl reports.
Like every year, the national commemoration of the abolition of slavery will happen in Amsterdam at the national monument in the Oosterpark. The program, which starts at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, includes a minute of silence, a performance by Jeangu Macrooy, and speeches by caretaker Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, and Linda Nooitmeer, the chair of the national institute for Dutch slavery history NiNsee.
Due to coronavirus restriction, the commemoration will again only be accessible to invited guests and the traditional Keti Koti Festival afterwards will not happen this year. Instead, well-known Netherlands residents will speak about their feelings around Keti Koti.
New initiatives for Keti Koti this year include a theater event Theater for Keti Koti, according to the newspaper. Theaters and art institutions throughout the Netherlands are combining programs around the commemoration of the abolition of slavery. On Wednesday and Thursday, stages and other cultural places will tell stories about the Netherlands' colonial past and slavery past, and its impact on Dutch society today.
This initiative stems from the major Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, which happened worldwide after Black American George Floyd was killed by a police man who knelt on his throat for nearly nine minutes.
A Keti Koti breakfast will be held in Amsterdam on Wednesday and Thursday, in which around 220 Amsterdam children will participate. Group 7 and 8 pupils from primary schools in various district will get together to reflect on the Netherlands' history of slavery.
Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht recently proposed that Keti Koti be turned into a national holiday to commemorate slavery and celebrate its abolition. The mayors and aldermen called it important to have "a day where we mourn and celebrate, look at lessons learned from the past and a shared future, just as we do on May 4 and 5".
FunX DJ Fernando Halman, The Black Archives, and the Nederland Wordt Beter Foundation together launched a petition calling for the same, as well as for the Netherlands to formally apologize for the Dutch role in slavery.