By Lamin Cham
Leading GSM company Africell yesterday made an undertaking to totally overhaul the Gambia national museum and turn it to a modern facility.
The official signing ceremony of the agreement for the project was held between Africell and the National Center for Arts and Culture at Africell headquarters.
Addressing the ceremony, the Managing Director of Africell Hussein Diab (Sine) said the project has been in the making for nearly two years and paid tribute to the untiring work of NCAC director general, Hassoum Ceesay and his team for guiding the process until today. He said the project would not only involve a revamping but a total overhauling of the museum.
“We are going to do a total makeover of everything in and around the building except bringing it down because we still want to maintain the core pieces of what was there since time immemorial,” he said.
Mr Diab said history, culture and heritage are very important in the lives of a nation and people and this also ties with the current initiative of Africell in promoting Gambian arts, culture and heritage. ”Some of you might not be aware but you will be seeing that we already started a very ambitious campaign and may be the museum project is the most prestigious one, but there are many others ongoing and others to come. For all of us, the national museum strikes a very sentimental code in our hearts,” Diab said. He recalled with emotion and fascination a visit he paid as a student to the museum decades ago when he saw and learned what it was for The Gambia.
“I am even more fascinated today, decades later, to be part of something that will preserve that which makes us all Gambians,” he said.
The Director General of NCAC, Hassoum Ceesay thanked the Africell management for the project. He said the museum is the flagship of preserving and interpreting Gambian culture and heritage. “The Gambia national museum was created in 1985 to showcase our rich material heritage in different forms including music. Presidents, ministers of state, religious icons and simple ordinary Gambians have visited and enjoyed our vast cultural heritage. I must add that with this revamping, more tourists will visit and that would bring about more economic benefits,” Mr Cessay said.
The chairman of the board of the NCAC, Oreime Joiner thanked the Africell management for the initiative. He also noted his board’s appreciation to the government of the Gambia through the ministry of tourism for approving the initiative. The ceremony was chaired by Musa Sise, joined by senior management staff of Africell.