From 21 to 25 February, Dakar served as host to a weeklong celebration of the much-hyped International Festival Soninke 2018.
The distinguished chief patronage of His Excellency Macky Sall, Senegalese President graced the occasion held at the Estade Aba Mamar Diop in the Senegal’s capital.
The event was designed to revive, promote and develop Soninke rich cultural heritage and showcase the diverse traditional cultural performance of different Soninkara groups in the sub-region and beyond.
In a brief chart with Mr. Jajay Sumare, president of Association for promotion of Soninkara Language and Culture, known in French as Association pour la promotion de la langue et de la culture Soninke (APS), said the Festival was started in 2011, noting that this is the fifth edition.
He added that since inception, the Festival has created more awareness for Soninke people and also play a higher role in national development.
President Sumare who is based in France explained that “the Festival is the biggest of its kind, not only involving Soninkes in Africa but as well as those from the Diaspora, to come together to revive our culture and tradition. It is a very big festival because it this time includes African countries such as Ivory Coast and Egypt; as well delegates from Europe, America and other Latin countries,” he said.
The Festival was characterized by Football competitions, trade fair, traditional dance and language writing.
Prices were giving for the best performance for various disciplines.
Mali served as host of the first two editions of the Festival International Soninke (FISO), followed by Mauritania in its capital- Nouakchott, and finally Dakar.
Idrissa Diabira, President of Wagadu Djida and secretary general to the organizing committee disclosed during the Dakar Festival that the next edition is schedule to take place in Banjul in year 2020.
APS was established in 1972, with over hundred thousand members all over the world, including The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Egypt, and the Diaspora.
Story by Muhammed Lamin Juwara, President of the Sarahulleh Youth Development Association (SYDO), and a Gambian delegate to the Dakar Festival.