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Barrow urges Soninke communities to unite, support each other

Feb 24, 2020, 12:34 PM | Article By: Arfang M.S. Camara

President Adama Barrow has called on the Soninke (Sarahule) communities in the country and beyond to unite and be each other’s keeper.

The Gambian leader was speaking on Thursday during the launch of the 6th edition of the International Fest of the Soninke Association (FISO) held at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.

This year’s international fest was expected to gather about 5, 000 participants mainly from The Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, France and Belgium amongst other countries.

The fest, which slated for 20th – 24th February 2020, is being held under the theme: “Baanaaxu” which means our culture is our identity’. It is also meant to bring unity and harmony to the Sarahule communities across the world.

Barrow further advised participants not to only use the festival to have fun but also urged them to build and establish network among themselves.

“I want you people to emulate the Soninke communities that were before us. Those people supported each other in terms of difficulties and also advised each other in terms of religion. They read the Qu’ran and taught others,” he said.

While addressing the delegates, the Gambian leader expressed delight to be associated with the forum, reminding them that they should not allow politics to divide them.

“I’m very happy to associate myself with this international festival. You should not allow to be divided by politics. Everyone has the right to support his/her wishes. However, that shouldn’t affect the way we are living and more importantly our interactions,” Barrow emphasised.

He went on to hail the Sarahuleh community for coming up with such initiative, saying the fest would help in bringing people together most particularly the Soninke communities by unifying them.

For her part, Oumie Bachilly, one of the local organising committee members, said the fest is geared towards promoting the Soninke (Sarahuleh) culture globally. The fest, she went on, would feature a trade fair and confab, noting that there would be a confab on women, youth empowerment and gender equality.

“The international festival will also feature a trade fair which will start from 21st to 24th February and will showcase a wide variety of Soninke cultural materials,” she said.