By Juldeh Njie
Famara Fofana, author and former editor of the state broadcaster, has said that young people should venture in revitalisation of their cultures and traditions because Africa is mostly portrayed in a negative light.
“In this modern era, all of us are being carried away by technology, where beautiful stories are shared. But the African child has so many beautiful stories to narrate, someone has to take the responsibility of reminding the younger generation where we come from and some of the things we have been doing years ago,” he said.
He told The Standard Tuesday that his new book which will be launched on February 10 titled ‘Recollections of An African Child’ is a non-fiction work that chronicles the story of an underprivileged but happy African child growing up in a quintessential traditional setting.
Fofana said he felt that he is obliged to contribute his quota in cultural revival because culture and tradition are fading away.
“The recollections capture with the power of imaginary and spellbinding storytelling, and vividly capture the daily routines and rituals that were the hallmarks of rural life in an undiluted Gambian village,” he added.
He said the inspiration came from his first book When My Village Was My Village, because he believes that the African child has been given a lot of things to narrate but the word is modernised by Western culture and if the African culture and tradition are not revived, they may be lost.
“We spend a lot of time watching other people’s stories and the stories in those movies are the same we have here. We can also make movies or write books about our cultures and tradition, but if we allow other people to write about our stories, the tendency is that they may be distorted or misconstructed which is very dangerous.”
He said those coming here to act movies about The Gambia are after their own interest, saying Gambians should take up the responsibility to write about the untold stories because Africa is mostly portrayed in a negative light.
“So, we have to write the real us. This country and her people are gifted,” he noted.
He said the solidarity shown in his previous book was “massive” but was quick to add that he was disappointed with those who pledged to buy a book but never turned up.
He also talked about the importance of storytelling in the educational system which he said can help boost the public speaking capabilities of pupils.
“If we have them in our educational system it will help the students to know their cultures and traditions and also help rekindle our parables as they are part of our norms and values,” he added.
He also appealed to the educational authorities to help Gambian writers by incorporating books in the school system.
He urged young people to believe in themselves and value the cultures and traditions and to be focused on their dreams.