Feb 9, 2009, 3:40 AM
The culture of involving the other, gripped Alliance Franco Senegalaise by involving young Gambians from a theatre group called Saint Francopoliles' Association that are associated with Alliance Franco- Gambianne.
The young talented lads were asked by the director of Alliance Franco Gambianne, Monsieur Pascal through his counterpart Monsieur Cedric Tourisson, the director of Alliance Franco Senegalaise at Ziguinchor in the Casamance Region of Senegal to attend the three days theatre festival. This enabled the Gambian side to learn and acquire more skills.
Before dispatching the six actors and actresses including a Point Newspaper journalist, Pascal the director of Alliance Franco Gambianne says, "You are talented actors and actresses. You will not be participants but I want to expose you to French speakers and allow you to gain more skills in your actions during performance. Try to bring back something tangible to enable you broaden your horizon."
In an interview with the leader of the Saint Francophile Theatre group, whose actions are mainly in French, Adama Talla said they were excited to go and see bigger groups on stage. "There will be room for broadening our talents and try to excel in our performance," Talla said. He pointed out that they had constraints, that is The Gambia is an English speaking nation, therefore many of their actors would only act well in English, But some of them speak French as well. "We are trying to get more members who can act in French to be part of the whole show," he said. He praised the director of Alliance Franco Gambianne for his openness and good sense of direction.
Upon the arrival of the six personnel for the "Festival Casamance en Scene", the members of the "Compagnie Bousaana" including the director of Alliance Franco-Senegalaise, Monsieur Cedric Tourisson, were there to welcome them whole heatedly.
The opening of the three-day theatre festival called important members of the Ziguinchor community including the governor of the Region.
In declaring the three days festival open, the governor says, "I simply want to thank all who made the festival possible. I want to emphasise the importance of the advancement of culture especially bringing the group from Paris. I now take the opportunity to officially declare the festival open,
Monsieur Sidebeh, the chairman of the occasion welcomed the Gambian delegation and said, "We welcome our friends from the Alliance Franco Gambianne. Gambia and Senegal are part of the same coin; we are the same people with the same culture. If they say "yes" we say "Oui", then we say "Wao" and we all say "ha deh". You are all cordially welcome."
The opening day - 18th December 2008 saw the inspection of locally made items by youths and organisations like YMCA.
Talking on theme 'Child Abuse', Demba Aliou Kebe, a child rights activist talked on his sub theme, "Les sources d'exploitation de l'enfant" - meaning the sources of child exploitation." Kebe said they are tied to help the young and at the same time most of those to protect children are responsible for children's exploitation.
"Les perception de l'enfant different selon les pays et les commemoration."
Demba Aliou Kebe asked what is the exploitation of children? In his response he quoted Article 32 of the convention of the Rights of the child and said it included the children in the family, domestic violence, working in restaurants, selling at home, cooking at home, sexual exploitation, prostitution and its disguise acceptance, force marriage, inter family sexual accomplice, uncles or family members and forced marriages.
He said the problems emanate from social, cultural and camouflage.
Talking about the community's retrogressive contribution towards the exploitation of the child said, "children are sent to war front better still are forced into going to war.
Children are adopted from where domestic violence, illicit activities and some clandestine tourist activities emanate from. Children's work are not commensurate to their age.
They are forced to work more and many are seen gathering "ferai" materials. We see children going to beg. They play with hazardous materials only to go and sell to get money," he said. He further said that children often tend the cattle, they are often left in difficult situations that they cannot contain.
All the ills happen in Senegal but Senegal has signed the convention of the child in South Africa. But still children do the worst. "To load transport is the children, some sleep on the streets as I saw one on my way to the festival.
They should protect the child as we are part of the convention.
Hearing from the floor, the chairman Sulaiman Djawara said the right of the child should be protected and practiced in the family before going to the street.
Awa Karbou, in her contribution in tears blamed their children going for Arabic classes on their husbands.
"They force us to allow our children become apprentice to the "Marabous" and quoted their parents who ask them to obey their husbands.
It is appauling seeing these children go through such. God did not say a child should learn "Marabou," These children are always afraid to ask their 'Oustass' for food they are beaten and left hungry. Other speakers included Appaulinel an artist, said if people stopped giving things to marabou apprentice, they would be forced to stop begging. Another speaker from France said, "I am not a Senegalese but the photos seen are pathetic and the problem seem a long time.
The Festival Theatre, "Casamance en scene was shown.
The first night Peternum Tremens by Spiralum Campagnie, from France with the "Destin du Claudestin" by Compagnie Bousaana from Senegal, Mimosa by Bob from France, Polymachine by Companie Cruellas of Senegal, Le Mandat by Compagnie L. Lamin Gueye, Senegal and La mort de la Mort Compagnie Bousaana entertained the spectators for the three days.
According to observers, the Gambian delegations has a role to play to make the French Language viable by involving others. Libert Sambou a member of L"Association Saint Francophile, Gambia gave the history of their association saying it was born from their desire while in St. Joseph and St. Augustine. The two schools defeated in French drama and then formed their association.
Their president Adama Talla is calling on Parastatals, philanthropists to help their association to promote the French culture through performance. The other members that went to Ziguinchor included, Frederick Jatta, Kumba Jang, Mberry Jagne and their youngest member, Fatmata Bah. They were impressed and now ready to move their association ahead and make theatre more acceptable in The Gambia.
Oumar Badjiane the president of the Bousaana group of Zinguinchor expressed their desire in helping the Gambian group and would come to set things up by training them as they did to others. The three other members who spoke included Ibrahima Camara, Djibril Goudiaby and Diabadong(La mer). Their team comes soon before going to France in March.
The president of the group further said that the festival was its second edition and their engagement had brought respect.He called on all to reflect on the theme of the festival and ask why the theme on children. He said children's rights , particular reference to the sub region may be through ignorance are forgetfulness.
"He said they are happy to use the occasion to use the time of the debate and the intellectuals we invited from France to participate in the action and our spectators in company of Bousaana.
He thanked the people who were present and those who helped and thanked the groups present.