As part of a three-day joint steering committee meeting between the Gambia and Senegal on the UNESCO sponsored Kankurang project, officials of the National Centre for Arts and Culture(NCAC) and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and their Senegalese counterparts last Friday embarked on a day-long field trip to Janjanbureh (Tinyansita), the proposed site for the Gambian Kankurang Centre. This was meant to familiarise themselves with the progress made on the project.
Speaking at the meeting held in Janjanbureh, the Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, Mr Momodou C Joof, said the trip was meant to acquaint themselves with the land allocated for the proposed site of the Kankurang centre. He added that there are many places that have Kankurang culture, but they chose Janjanbureh because of the town's richness in culture and heritage.
He added that the cultural heritage of the people, especially the Kankurang significantly needs to be preserved for generations yet unborn, noting that Kankurang has a cultural importance in the Senegambian region.
Director General Joof also highlighted some beneficial effects of the project, including imparting knowledge, centering cultural stories, and creating many new opportunities for residents, urging the villagers to be co-operative to ensure the realisation of the project.
He said that a society without culture is not respected and the project will also help future generations to know their culture. He also commended UNESCO for funding the project.
Addressing the gathering, the National Assembly member for Janjanbureh, Hon. Foday Manko, said the establishment of the Kankurang centre would go a long way towards preserving the rich cultural heritage of Janjanbureh.
He implored on the residents to pray for the realisation of the project, adding that the Kankurang have both spiritual and cultural importance that needs to be preserved for future generations. He said in the olden days, Kankurang used to be a powerful highly feared masquerade that's capability of doing many things.
Speaking earlier was the chief of the village, Bakary Jam Jawo, who applauded the National Centre for Arts and Culture for choosing Janjanbureh for the establishment of the site, adding that the proposed site has been in existence for more than 300 years.
Chief Jam Jaw assured the delegation of his communities' tireless support towards the project. He revealed that the project is extremely timely, when the culture of Kankurang is about to disappear. He said the benefit gained from the project will solely be reaped by the residents of the area.
For his part, Abdul Aziz Cisse, the Deputy Director of Cultural Heritage of Senegal, also spoke at length about the significance of the project, while hoping that both projects will benefit both countries in preservation of their cultural heritage.