“We have done a lot of marketing and hopefully we will have over 200 participants from around the world – the US, the UK, Nigeria and even Senegal,” Minister Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie has said.
The Roots festival commemorates the Atlantic Slave Trade, drawing inspiration from the book Roots by the late African American historian Alex Haley, who traces his origin to a Gambian village of Juffereh.
This year’s is the eleventh edition of the biennial event which allows people of African descent to “reconnect with their roots.”
On Saturday April 5, the tourism minister led a delegation of the organising committee for the 2014 edition to Kanilai to formally inform the people of the president’s native village about the upcoming event.
Speaking to the press, Minister Jobe-Njie said: “In every Roots Homecoming Festival, “Futampaf” which is the rite of passage for the Jola tribe is part of the highlights. The participants are basically taken through the rite of passage.
“We came today with a bag of cola nut; myself and the organising committee to talk to the elders and the local organising committee of Kanilai that the festival is happening and this year is going to be even better and bigger than all the previous festivals.”
With barely one month to go, the tourism minister said accommodation, security and logistical arrangements were intact.
As part of the activities, renowned Jamaican singers Sizzla and Mutabaruka will join Gambian musicians for a fundraising musical show slated for May 10 at the Independence Stadium. A symposium which will feature Julius Garvey, the son of Marcus Garvey is also planned.
“The festival is a call for action for the African Diaspora to discover and embrace their culture and identity as Africans,” she said.
Meanwhile, the delegation comprises the permanent secretary, ministry of Tourism and Culture, officials of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, and the Gambia Tourism Board. Another salutation visit is slated for Wednesday April 9, this time round, to Juffureh.
By: Essa Njie]]>