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City of Banjul
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Promotion of the arts: A national responsibility

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The annual Rhythmic Vibrations event slated for this Saturday which is organised by Balafong, a group of young brilliant and ingenious Gambians, is an event that is based on the performance of poetry, depicting the cultures and traditions of our land, while giving it a high literary standard never before seen in The Gambia. It has served as a platform for the positive marketing of our cultural expression, through theatrical performances, serving ultimately as a springboard for an artistic and poetic renaissance of late.

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Balafong is one group that has endeavoured since its formation to bring quality literary work to the Gambian populace, at a time when performance of poetry by way of slam and spoken word acts was almost nonexistent. This dedicated group came up with the now much cherished Word of Mouth, which is a monthly spoken word night. Amongst other activities that they have embarked on is the Blaque Magique, another very big event that is also geared towards the perfection of the performing arts, by musical and poetic theatrics.

 

The Gambia as a country has been lacking far behind in the culture of literature and art. Around the world, literature and art have become beacons of hope for societies and inspired hope into its young people, through the involvement of its powerful entities and stakeholders, both private and public sector in its promotion and preservation. While many goodwill gestures have been shown to groups like Balafong, a lot of work is still left undone due to the fact that they cannot access enough support and help when needed. This country doesn’t in anyway lack artistic and creative minds, but it is lacking in support from the various levels and strata of society. 

 

Patronising the arts is not only for the good of those involved, but it enhances the country’s economy. Employment creation is one of the basic things that come with the arts. If the authors, painters and performing artists of various forms are supported to perfect their crafts and excel in it, then a very big gap in the economy of our developing nation will be sealed.

 

More than that is the promotion of the culture of reading and writing. It will be next to impossible to achieve a desirable rate of literacy without the cultivation of reading and writing within the citizenry. It’s one thing to excel in exams and  another to be able to clearly articulate and express oneself, and usually the problem in our country which is evident everywhere is the problem of speaking and writing proper English, which is at the core of articulation in an educated society. To stem this tide, we must needs be, promote the cultivation of literature and by extension all forms of written and spoken art.

 

The multi-faceted benefits that ensue from the promotion and patronising of the arts and literature cannot be underestimated. Ultimately the country and the economy is the one benefitting more from it all, and not the groups trying to further the cause. It’s upon all and sundry, from the government to the citizenry to help in making the art and literary renaissance a reality. In the fullness of time, the fruits that shall be reaped will proceed towards the creation of a Gambia, that will be cherished by the generations yet unborn; who we are bequeathing this country to.

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