As the International Roots Home Coming Festival gets closer, I would like to seize this opportunity to say a big welcome to all people of African descent to one of the most imperative time in our lives as Africans.
As asserted by the Tourism Minister, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, in your Tuesday publication, “the Roots is a call for action for the African Diaspora to discover and embrace their culture and identity as Africans.”
This year is the eleventh edition of the festival and, according to your publication, it is expected to attract over 200 participants from the Diaspora, mainly those who could trace their origins to Africa.
This is a moment for people of African descent from around the world, the US in particular, to converge and celebrate their culture as a people. The celebration is linked to the life of a black slave who was said to have hailed from a village we know here as Juffureh.
Kunta Kinteh was a Mandinka warrior who showed robust resistance to the slave dealers, from the time of his capture to the plantations. This was indeed a poignant moment as energetic young men and women were subjected to horrendous conditions during the voyage to the new world as slaves.
It becomes imperative therefore, to remember this moment and embrace our culture and identity for sustainability. This desire to preserve our culture for the future generation will never be a reality, if we do not hanker after our origin and appreciate what we are.
From what I read in your publication on Tuesday, the organisers are doing extremely well to get things done this year and make it more special as promised by the Tourism Minister that this year’s event would be bigger and better than all the previous ones. That will indeed be awesome and it will set a new stage for the further promotion of our culture as a people.
As we approach this big, important event, I urge the ministry of Tourism and Culture, the National Centre for Arts and Culture and all other relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts in making the event one of its kind. More importantly, efforts should also be deepened to ensure the conservation of our culture.