google-site-verification: googlea104b15742cb888b.html

User Login

10

February
2017
International-Roots-Festival-Gambia

International Roots Festival (Gambia)

The end is better than the beginning of a thing, the popular saying goes. Which is why in spite of the horrors that form the historical background of the events of which gave birth to the International Roots Festival, the festival itself has become a celebration in commemoration of a homecoming and a return to the roots, instead of the remembrance of slavery and forced departure from the motherland.

Background

Initiated in 1994 by the government of The Gambia led by President Alhagi Dr. Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, the biennial festival was inspired by the publication of Roots written by African-American author Alex Haley and the subsequent television adaptation of the story. Published in 1976, while the TV series started showing the following year, Roots details the life of Kunta Kinteh, an 18th century African captured in his teens and sold into slavery in the US, and the lives of his progenies down to the author himself. Kinte’s roots were traced by Haley to the Juffureh in The Gambia.

Homecoming

Billed when it was initiated as Homecoming, the International Roots Festival is usually held around May with great fanfare and cultural activities, educational symposia, musical concerts featuring international stars, and historical tours to places like Juffureh and other important places. While the ugly and grim realities of the slave trade cannot totally be blotted out of human memory, or from the annals of history, the commemoration has transformed into a joyous occasion of a great homecoming experience and a chance for Africans in the diaspora to connect with their roots and African heritage.

roots-festival-gambi5

The 11th edition of the festival was held from the 9th to 16th of May 2014. It commenced with Jumma prayers at the mosque, followed by registration and welcome reception. The evening was marked with a Night of Griots. Guests and participants took the early part of Saturday to rest, visit sites and do some shopping, while the musical concert took place at the Independence Stadium in Bakau from 9pm.

roots-festival-gambi4

The official opening took place on Sunday afternoon with a carnival procession from the July 22 Square to the iconic Arch 22. On Monday, the Roots Pilgrimage takes place with boat trips to historical places like Juffureh, Albreda, and Kunta Kinteh Island (formerly James Island), where participants had a chance to meet the local chiefs, see the ancestral home of Kunta Kinteh, the slavery museum, and other historic places.

roots-festival-gambia3

The festival continued on Tuesday with a symposium in the morning followed by a regatta at the Banjul wharf. Activities include, boat races, pillow fights, traditional dances and greasy pole climbing, among others. By evening the people started departing for Kanilai village in preparation for the next day. The Futampaf, a Jola rites of passage ceremony took center stage early on Wednesday. The ceremony was hosted by His Excellency, the president who is actually from Kanilai.

roots-festival-gambia2

 

roots-festival-gambia--(1)

On Thursday, the participants go on an eco-tour to Makasutu forest in the morning. In the evening, they were hosted to a Taste of Africa, a gala dinner and award night at the Senegambia Beach Hotel to bring the festival to a close, while everyone departs to their respective places on Friday.

 

roots-festival-gambia7

The 12th edition of the International Roots Festival was held on the 6th to the 13th of May 2016.

 

For more information about the International Roots Festival, please visit:

http://rootsgambia.gm/

http://www.accessgambia.com/information/roots-festival.html

Or contact: 

The Ministry of Tourism & Culture

The Quadrangle,

Banjul, The Gambia

+220 422 4756, 422 2376

njoofa@yahoo.com

 

The Gambia Tourism Board, Kotu

P.O.Box 4085

Bakau, The Gambia

+220 446 2490/1/5/6

info@gtboard.gm

www.go-gambia.com

www.visitthegambia.gm

 

National Centre for Arts & Culture

National Museum Premises

Independence Drive,

P.M.B. 151

Banjul, The Gambia

+220 422 6244, 422 7980

www.ncac.gm

Niyi David

Niyi David

Creative Writer
'Niyi David explores the beautiful and enthralling continent of Africa with Afro Tourism® capturing colorful memories of places, cultures and events in words and images.
Niyi David
Niyi David
Niyi David

Latest posts by Niyi David (see all)

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone
africa Africanfood Afro Tourism City Icon East Africa Festivals holidays Island Memories recipe wednesday South Africa Southern Africa top destination travel stories West Africa

Recent Posts

Archives

MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
2627282930  
       
1234567
22232425262728
293031    
       
     12
3456789
       
  12345
       
  12345
2728     
       
      1
2345678
3031     
   1234
567891011
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
282930    
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
31      
   1234
       
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
       
    123
45678910
11121314151617
       
  12345
6789101112
20212223242526
27282930   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     
    123
45678910
18192021222324
252627282930 
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   
       
15161718192021
22232425262728
29      
       
    123
45678910
18192021222324
       
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
28293031   
       
      1
2345678
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
262728293031 
       
 123456
21222324252627
282930    
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
24252627282930
31      
  12345
13141516171819
2728293031  
       
891011121314
2930     
       
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
       
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   
       
      1
2345678
9101112131415
23242526272829
3031     
      1
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728 
       
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
262728293031 
       
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
       
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
       
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031