Jambanjelly in on collaboration with the Jambanjelly women involved in
horticulture Wednesday joined brothers and sisters from the diaspora to
celebrate a festival they called ‘Kwanzaa’.
Kwanzaa, which means the first fruit in Kiswahili language, is a way of retrieving the past. Organisers said this year’s event is to enhance culture and agricultural production.
Speaking on the occasion, Famara Badjie, a native of Jambanjelly, said agriculture being the backbone of the nation should be a priority to every Gambian.
He also stressed that Gambians should preserve the rich culture of the country as well.
Brother Berenga, member of Kwanzaa, said their ancestors had celebrated the same ceremony as the Kwanzaa festival “so many years ago”.
He said the key initiator of the Kwanzaa festival, Karengka, had conducted research for seven years to enable African-Americans in the diaspora, who are separated from their cultures and traditions, to know their heritage and come back to their roots.
“Karenga drew from a number of different African harvest festivals, black nationalist ideology, and other cultural influences to create the seven ‘Nguzo Saba,’ or principles of African heritage,” he said.
“Each of these principles is represented by a physical symbol, one for each day of Kwanzaa.”
Brother Berenga said the whole idea is to get all Africans to go back to their roots and be who they are.
According to him, the key challenge in black peoples’ lives is the challenge of culture.
“Therefore, what Africans must do is to discover and bring forth the best of their culture, both ancient and current, and use it as a foundation to bring into being models of human excellence and possibilities to enrich and expand our lives,” he affirmed.
On the agricultural connection of the festival, Brother Berenga said Africans could only be self-reliant when they venture into agriculture by eating what they grow and grow what they eat.
“Our forefathers were great men because they harvest and value what they have,” he said. “Today, if we want to develop as Africans, we have to look at what Mother Nature has given us. Let us make the best use of what we have because food security is stability and back to the land is the solution.”
According to Brother Berenga, Africa is the richest in the world in terms of resources but has the poorest economy because African people underrate their potentials.
“God has blessed Africa with so much yet Africa is referred to as the home of the poor and the helpless. If we want to make this a history, we should start cherishing our motherland and leave Europe to be ruled by Europeans,” he said.