festivals are an integral component in the development of any nation. Many are
of the view that cultural development serves as an integral component of the
national development process, as it is the vehicle for instilling the love of
the arts, moral values, and helping to build national unity and the patriotic
fervour. Local cultures could therefore serve as a basis for human development.
Such efforts could also be used to promote the local identity, regional
languages and minority cultures.
While economics and industry drive material development, culture develops and nurtures the development of the mind, which is as equally important as the former.
As rightly stated by a renowned historian -Hassoum Ceesay, who is also the acting director general, National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the importance of festivals cannot be overemphasized.
Festivals, as he aptly put it, fall under the vision of National Development Plan (NDP) of the government,though, the inclusion of culture into community and economic development models can take many shapes and forms. However, culture can serve as the central focus. Included would be tourism and other efforts that focus largely on the promotion, preservation, or enhancement of local or regional cultures.
It can also be a factor that needs to be addressed to determine its impact on new or existing development programs (resource management, environmental protection). In facing development, the programmes that communities are willing to accept and embrace are likely to depend largely on cultural factors. It is therefore vital that problems and potential solutions are defined in a manner consistent with the local culture.”
Promoting cultural norms and values are crucial as part of the National Development Plan focuses on promoting culture and history through tourism and that is exactly what NCAC is spearheading.
It was in 2016 when the Youth Empowerment Project and the National Center for Arts and Culture partnered to revive the history and culture of Janjanbureh Island also known as MacCarthy Island.
It is no gainsaying that those cultural festivals add value to the local economies by creating employment for the countless youths through tourism. This in turn helps in reducing dependency.
“I cannot look at modern buildings without thinking of historical ones.”