of The Gambia, a film about the people and culture that Kunta Kinteh left
behind, has narrowly missed the Best Documentary Award at an international film
awards held in Lagos, Nigeria.
film, written and produced by Ebou Waggeh, founder and CEO of WAX Media, had
been nominated out of at least 60 films for the best documentary film category
of the keenly contested 2017 Africa Magic Film and Television Awards.
Waggeh, who was a producer at the GRTS television, one of the pioneer
producers, recently returned to The Gambia from Lagos, Nigeria, for the awards
night held earlier this month.
was glad that the film that he initiated out of passion and love of culture and
The Gambia has gone far in raising the flag of the country to higher
I missed out the award, but I feel like I have won because the nomination alone
is a big achievement,” said Waggeh, also a founding member of the jury of M-Net
Africa Magic Film and Television Awards, the most prestigious film awards in
Africa – the equivalent of the Oscars in America.
the nominations were open for the award, at least 60 entries were submitted for
the Best Documentary Award category alone.
series of screening processes, just 6 were nominated for the award and Roots of
The Gambia was one of the films.
for me, for my film to be nominated out of 60 films from all over Africa means
it has definitely stood out and that recognition alone, the nomination alone,
is a big achievement for me and The Gambia as a whole because the film is a
purely Gambian film, selling the culture and tradition of the country to Africa
and the world,” the producer said.
film, completed in 2016 after more than 10 years in production, is about the
people and culture that Kunta Kinteh left behind in The Gambia when he was
kidnapped in 1765 from his hometown of Jufureh in Upper Nuimi District. He was then transported across the Atlantic
and later sold into slavery in America.
to Mr Waggeh, the film shows the life and culture that Kunta would have
followed as a young man newly initiated into manhood, if he was not ambushed on
his way to find wood to carve a drum.
‘Roots of The Gambia’, 15 different cultural practices across the ethnic divide
dating back to Kunta’s generation have been dramatised and their cultural and
historical significance explained.
is also one of the documentaries being screened at IREP, an international
documentary film festival currently going on in Lagos.
has also received high ratings at Freedom Park in Lagos where it was shown to
Nollywood producers and actors at a club screening.
to be proud of
his review of the documentary, the director general of the National Centre for
Arts and Culture (NCAC), Baba Ceesay, said he found it to be a very rich
documentation of Gambia’s cultural heritage, both material and intangible.
covers a very wide spectrum of Gambian cultural heritage and traditions
including, life cycle ceremonies, masquerade traditions, food culture, dress
culture, traditional sports and heritage site typologies,” he said.
is no doubt that the film’s nomination for what is considered a very
prestigious award is commendable and is something Gambia can be proud of.”
Mr Ceesay, Roots of The Gambia is not only factual and educative, it can be
also used for promotional purposes for the country.