By Yunus S Saliu
Towards the preparation of the celebration of the annual popular cultural festival of Banjul ‘Eggereh’, celebrating the 31st December to 1stst January; the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MoTC), as part of its annual support to all regional cultural festivals, on Wednesday distributed the sum of D300,000 to nine hunting companies in Banjul.
The nine hunting companies included the Ekun Baba Odeh hunting company; Odilleh hunting society; Ball hunting company; Joluv Arts Banjul Cultural Festival; Rainbow Hunting Society; Omo Jesseh Odeh Hunting Society; Midlands Hunters’ Society; Middle Eastern Hunting Society; and Banjul Cultural Committee Festival.
Speaking before the presentation of the checks to the nine representatives of the hunting society at the event, the Honorable Hamat NK Bah, Minister of Tourism and Culture noted that under President Adama Barrow’s government “we believed that we couldn’t promote our country in the absence of art. and cultural. Along with believing, he said that is one of the reasons more resources have been funneled into her.
In recognition of important groups in the hunting society, Minister Bah said “we can only know where we are going if we cultivate the past; nurture it and make sure we protect it, preserve it and move forward with it. This is why we believed that it was fundamental as a government to also come and support you with this symbolic gesture, to recognize what you are doing and also to give you the courage to be able to do more and to work together in harmony to promoting our diversity. “
The Honorable Bah went further by encouraging all Gambians, both at home and in the Diaspora, to support them morally and financially, especially since their costumes and badges for the celebration and the spectacle are quite expensive for each of the wear-alone hunting society groups.
The Minister added that as a government we believe that our strength lies in our diversity and that is why we should always try to promote unity between us and national reconciliations, which he stressed as being the key. and the way forward for The Gambia because “we are a small country, interdependent, the same in both religions, tribes and ethnicities.
He took the opportunity to expand on past support for cultural festivals across the country that his ministry has undertaken since he became Minister of Tourism and Culture in 2017.
Ms. Cordu Linguire Jabang-Senghore, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture revealed that the initiative, for the third consecutive year, was led by the Honorable Minister of Tourism and Culture, “which we continue to ensure that whatever happens, financial support is given to cultural groups that organize festivals and to hunting society groups in Banjul ”, also.
She added that the D300,000.00 distributed is intended for nine hunting society groups in the town of Banjul because “it is this time all over the world wherever Gambians are located it has become traditional that all those who come strive to attend the feast of Banjul, as all of us look forward to every year.
She noted that the Banjul Cultural Festival is something that has been sustainable in the sense that these cultural / hunting society groups have managed to get to where they are.
“That being the case, we have seen the amount of diversity in terms of the representation and display of different costumes and we want to make sure, as a ministry, that this cultural diversity grows,” she said.
In 2019, she said the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, on the initiative of Minister Bah, disbursed over D500,000 to 18 regional cultural groups not only in Banjul but across the country while in 2020 , the ministry also distributed 250,000 D to 15 regional cultural festivals. in The Gambia and “this year 2021 despite all the uncertainties that have been experienced, we still make it our duty and ensure to continue to support these festivals based on these cultural hunting societies in Banjul and we are distributing an amount of 300,000 D among 9 hunting company groups, which means that the financial support we provide is improving every year, ”she said.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) congratulated the MoTC, in particular the Honorable Minister and the Permanent Secretary for the support given each year to all regional cultural festivals.
He noted that the support of the ministry will help them in their preparation for the traditional cultural festivals of Banjul.
DG Hassoum noted that the Eggereh festival is a long standing tradition in the society which is closer to sixty years.
In short, he said that from 2017 the ministry saw the need to strengthen the traditional festival in Banjul so that it becomes a historical cultural event and that in 2019 it was so successful that “we were all taken by surprise and despite the pandemic, 2020 also has been very successful and also this year we are looking forward to a very successful event as well. “
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