Janjanbureh committee through National Center for Art and Culture (NCAC), has announced that it will hold the annual ‘Kankurang’ festival from 28th to 30th of January 2022.
According to the organisation, the objective of the event is to promote culture and tourism through the showcasing of the country’s national heritage one of which is the ‘Kankurang’ masquerade.
The event which is organized by the National Center for Arts and Culture in partnership with the European Union (EU), is funded by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in collaboration with community of Janjanbureh and other tourism stakeholders.
This has become an annual event in the history of Gambia, and the forthcoming event will be the 5th edition since it inception in 2017 by the NCAC.
In 2003, UNESCO recognized the ‘Kankurang’ as a masquerade that represents a culture of humanity found within the Gambia in (Janjanbureh) and Senegal.
The event will showcase ten different kinds of ‘kankurang’ masquerade and some other masquerades like ‘Zimba’ and ‘hunting’.
Sheikh Omar Jallow, the Director of performing and fine arts at the NCAC, said Janjanbureh ‘Kankurang’ festival is recognized by international partners that is why it has been integrated among national events of the country; that it is an honor to be part of the 5th edition of the cultural festival which brings together diverse groups of ‘kankurangs’ on one platform, to showcase what the country can provide to tourism and the people; that the ‘kankurang’ masquerade signified a culture of humanity which UNESCO recognized as a cultural heritage of the Gambia.
”The festival will also promote the ‘kankurang’ site in Janjangbureh and develop it to become a tourism attraction for the development of the industry in the country,” he said.
He applauded YEP for supporting the promotion of Janjanbureh ‘kankurang’ site, and for their partnership with the Ministry since the inception of the festival in 2017.
Jallow said he recognized the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism for supporting the initiative by promoting and developing all cultural heritages within the country.
Ngoneh Panneh, program officer of the creative industry at the International Trade Center, said the objrctive of the YEP is to promote sustainable development for residents of Janjanbureh, with job creation opportunities for youth empowerment. She said the event will create visibility for the island of Janjanbureh, as a tourist destination, with unique and rich cultural diversity; that, there is need to decentralize the tourism sector through the display of goods and services in the area of creative and cultural tourism, in order to make the country a tourism destination, to support growth and development.
She said YEP will continue to support tourism development by working in partnership with NCAC, to develop new policies for cultural diversity, in order to make Janjanbureh a tourism destination. She said the event serves as a platform to create employment opportunities for the people of the Island, through their engagement in activities such as hiking, cycling, etc.
Sainey M. Ceesay, Marketing Manager of the NCAC, said the significance of ‘Kankurang’ festival cannot be over emphasised. He said the event serves as source of togetherness among the people of the Island and tourists.
Speaking on behalf of the people of Janjanbureh, a member of the event management committee Lolly Camara, said the importance of the festival is that it ploughs back development and recognition for the Island, and that the festival creates job opportunities for youth and women of the Island.
She thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Culture through NCAC, for chosing Janjanbureh for such a national event and for exposing the Island to the world.