The Georgia Gullah Geechee Weekend is celebrated in two parts.
Part one is The Gathering at Geechee Kunda, a festival with music, dance, food and more. It will be April 19 in Riceboro.
"Geechee Kunda is America's Gullah Geechee interpretive center," says Jim Bacote, who founded the center with his wife, Pat. "We started the center to present, promote and perpetuate an accurate account of our collective history, believing that the intellectual liberation, mental empowerment and spiritual healing resulting will help bring about rapid positive social change."
The preservation of the Gullah Geechee culture is important to Bacote, who is Gullah on both sides of his family.
Or as he says in Gullah, "Unnah Gullah Geechee tuway."
"My mom was rooted in Georgia, my dad in South Carolina," Bacote says. "I have relatives in all six coastal Georgia counties."
It is important to honor the Gullah Geechee way of life, Bacote says.
"The culture will never falter or die, but cultural education and installation of pride is really invigorating it," he says. "It is important because in understanding our culture, we see that all that is wrong today in our society is rooted in history."
The Gathering is a festival with fun for all ages.
"The Gathering is a day of honoring, teaching and remembering, committing to redemptive activity for the benefit of all," Bacote says. "There are great performances, exhibits, demonstrations and food."
Among the presentations will be a healing drum circle led by Sistah Bithiah, so be sure to bring your drum. Basket sewing will be demonstrated by Greg Grant.
Ron Daise from Gullah Gullah Island will present "How to save a language," and Bethany Campbell will present a living history.
Musical performances will be presented by steel drum master Boikei of St. Lucia, Malawian singer Maluwa, the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, the Trey Hicks Family Band, spoken word artist Tariq Bey, freestyle vocalist Captain Marshall, the Brando Dancers, saxophonist Bernard Rose, The African Spirits of DayClean and The African Soul.
Admission is a donation. "We suggest a $10 donation to help with costs, but no one will be turned away," Bacote says.
Georgia Gullah Geechee Weekend will continue in Savannah on April 20 with the opening of an art exhibit, "The Art of Richard Law," and a cultural lecture, "Ouida Gullah Geechee: The original and living culture of Gullah Geechee People" by Dr. A. Jamal Toure.
"Richard Law is a local Gullah Geechee artist, chosen because his works capture the essence of the Geechee," Bacote says. "The whole story of our culture by Dr. Toure is a fitting conclusion to two days of learning, celebrating and growing."