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The Roots Festival

Feb 7, 2011, 11:44 AM

The country Saturday celebrated with much spectacle and pageantry, the opening of the 10th edition of  the International Roots Homecoming Festival at the July 22nd Square in Banjul.
This year's celebration was unprecedented in the sense that top Jamaican musician Luciano and Senegalese superstars Thione Seck and Kumba Gawlo Seck, including our own local artistes, all graced the ceremony.

Is that not wonderful? Of course, yes. The presence of these high-profile personalities at this cultural extravaganza speaks volumes for the potential of culture as a catalyst for social cohesion, and as a bed-rock for development.

Against this backdrop, we quite agree with President Yahya Jammeh that the festival marks a celebration of the varied cultures of the African people, and as a forum where Africans in the Diaspora and Africans on the continent interact and learn about each other.

It also provides a festival, but also the impetus for cultural emancipation and spiritual fulfillment.

Therefore, the participation of people from all over the world in the Roots Festival is indeed ground-breaking, aware of the fact that this will give them the opportunity to get a glimpse of the richness of the diverse cultural heritage of this great country.

While welcoming home our sisters and brothers from the Diaspora, who have come to share with us this momentous event which is currently under way, we ask them to feel at home and to be rest assured that they will definitely find their stay in the country a memorable one.

However, we hope the call by President Jammeh for Africans to unite and the need to preserve our cultural heritage will be taken seriously.

The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC)should really redouble its efforts in promoting our own local artistes who, no doubt, are among the custodians of our culture.

The NCAC should always remember that it has an important role to play in attaining cultural preservation in the country and in making it a success story.


"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit."

Jawaharlal Nehru