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NCAC, UNESCO Launch Kankurang Project

Apr 21, 2009, 7:08 AM | Article By: Yerro Mballow

As part of its drive to revive the cultural heritage and traditional values and norms, the National Centre for Arts and Culture in collaboration with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, has agreed to establish a Community Based "Kankurang" centre and a Museum in Janjanbureh, CRR, under a US$63,027 sponsored project approved in July, 2007. This was disclosed at the first meeting held at the Friendship Hotel at the Independence Stadium in Bakau on Saturday 11th April, 2009.

In his opening remarks, Mr.Modou C. Joof, Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, explained that the rational for the meeting is to review the Project's objectives, discuss the types of Kankurang and the areas they are found, as well as the identification, protection, and mapping of associated sacred forests. He said it is also geared towards identifying solutions and chart a way forward which would also provide additional valuable information for the finalisation of the Kankurang project and select representative in the steering committee during meetings. Mr Joof described the meeting as very relevant in enhancing them to expedite the finalisation of the Kankurang project. "It is our strong conviction that without a concerted efforts by all and sundry in this endeavours, we stand to miss our target of achieving our culture" he said. According to Mr. Joof, UNESCO proclaimed the Kankurang project as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity since 2005. He added that the Program was created by UNESCO's General conference in 1997 but was approved in 1998 by UNESCO's Executive Board and its main objective is to raise awareness on the importance of the oral and intangible heritage as well the need to safeguard it among others.

He also revealed that in 2005, UNESCO encouraged Senegal and The Gambia to jointly put up a proposal geared towards the Preservation of the Kankurang Tradition in views of its outstanding values. The proposal, he added, was submitted to UNESCO for the safeguard of the Kankurang and requested a fund from UNESCO/JAPAN and a tune of US$146, 992, was made available out of which, US$63,027 was approved for The Gambia in July 2007 and contract was signed by NCAC on the 25thJuly, 2007. Mr.Joof finally said that NCAC will establish a synergy between National Institutions and communities where the Kankurang Tradition exists, the provision of informative and promotional literature on the Kankurang as well as establish a Joint Senegalo-Gambian steering committee in the near future in Banjul.

Other Speakers in the forum includes, Mr. Baba Ceesay, Director General of the Cultural Heritage; Mr. Bakary Sanyang, Principal Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mr. Ousainou Cham, Forestry Regional Coordinator and Hon. Foday Manka-NAM for Janjanbureh. The vote of thanks was delivered by Cornelius Gomez-Director of Literature, Performing, and Fine Arts.