Hasssoum Ceesay, director general of National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), disclosed this to The Point Newspaper in a pre-interview to the festival in his office at The Gambia National Museum on Monday.
DG Ceesay revealed that this year’s festival is taking a new dimension because the Local Organising Committee (LOC), partners and authorities have learnt and gathered lots of experience from the past editions. “So we have worked to enrich the content of the 2022 edition.”
He added that part of the new dimension to the festival includes ministers from across Africa and beyond attending this year’s celebration. Ministers from Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Kenya among others are those invited.
“We are also expecting lots of international visitors, more tourists, Gambians at home and in the Diaspora because Janjangbureh is one of the oldest communities in The Gambia,” DG Hassoum Ceesay explained.
He also said that there will be an increase in the number of cultural groups this year.
According to him, NCAC will also partner with YEP; GTBoard; GTHI and the LOC to have a tourism forum meant to rejuvenate Kankurang as a cultural identity and also promote tourism.
Ceesay said government will inaugurate the new Youth Centre in McCarthy as part of the festival. The centre was refurbished by the ITC-YEP and The Gambia government and meant to be the information centre for any visitor to the Island and an additional feature to make the Island a tourism destination.
About the Kankurang
In brief, Kankurang is a masquerade tradition associated with the rites of passage or initiation into manhood in Mandinka communities in The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau. In The Gambia, the tradition is closely associated with the Island of Janjangbureh where a special sacred space, Tinyangsita, is dedicated to the practice of the tradition. In 1993 the Kankurang Festival started in Janjangbureh to safeguard and honour the tradition.
The National Centre for Arts and Culture after a hiatus of several years and with support of the Youth Empowerment Project funded by the EU, and in collaboration with community and other tourism stakeholders indicated the revival of the festival in 2018.