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Adwa & Salt River Victory Celebrations Combine Ethiopian & Khoena Culture

Kicking off with a Free Concert on 29 March 2024, South Africans celebrate Adwa & Salt River Victory Day on 1 March with a victory parade in Cape Town CBD with smaller events taking place across the country.

2024 marks the 514th anniversary of the victory at Salt River and the 128th victory at Adwa.
This year the celebration programme consists of a music concert on 29th February, the Victory parade on 1 March and an educational seminar on 2 March.

Every year for 2 to 3 days, the Adwa & Salt River Victory festivities offers a display of arts, rituals, community and cultural expressions originating from Ethiopian and Koena cultures. The blending of Ethiopian and Southern African history is a central aspect of the annual project, particularly parade, the parade spotlights the victory at Salt River 1 March 1510 when Koena warriors defeated Portuguese troops and killed Francisco De Almaida and the victory at the Adwa when Abyssinian warriors defeated the Italian army in their ambition to colonise Ethiopia.

Nyabinghi music is ceremonially performed throughout the parade procession by Rastafari players of the harps (handcrafted Nyahbingi drums). Groups of indigenous practitioners, dancers, healers and speakers engage the participant communities with theatrical and musical performances based on historical as well as current events.

Adwa & Salt River Victory Day, celebrated annually, marks the decisive battles of 1510 and 1896 during the age of empire and the scramble for Africa in which Africa’s warrior and military forces defeated the Portuguese and Italian forces who sought to raid and colonise Southern Africa, Cape Town and the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia.
The day has been celebrated in Cape Town on 1 March every year since 2016.

With its growing success over the past 9 years, Adwa & Salt River Victories Festivities took on the trappings of a professional event, receiving media coverage. This development empowers many communities and families who are unaware of these histories and intangible cultural heritage.

Commemorating African Victories Against Colonial Invasion Attempts

Although it marks the important historical battles, the annual victory parade also commemorates and recognises the contributions of all Africans and African states in their fight against colonial domination and their struggles for independence.

Adwa & Salt River Victory Day is celebrated all over the globe, but the main Adwa military parade takes place in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.
This year aside from our South African celebration in Cape Town, we also know of celebrations taking place in London, Nairobi and Accra.

Hundreds of people participate, including Ethiopian communities, Rastafari communities, pan-African communities, Khoekhoe and San communities and the general public interested in the historical significance of the victories.

Khoi and San language rights activists will be performing a ritual ceremony to commemorate the Battle of Salt River, the group will be lead by well-know language activist Mr. Bradley Van Sitters who was the praise singer to President Ramaphosa in 2019.

WATCH Featured on the Lineup: Niko10Long – Rybewys

The highlight of the celebrations on the 1 of March is the Victory Parade. The music concert with an impressive lineup that includes  pioneering Cape Town hip hop acts like Mr. Mercy and DJ RealROZZANO, hip hop culture trailblazers Niko10Long, YOMA and Miss Morena and the prominent reggae band Sons of Selassie, will take place on 29 February at Wave Theatre Cafe from 7pm till 12am.

What do you think?

Written by Rozzano Davids

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