Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Root Festival Encourage Sharing Values and Experience– President Jammeh
NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- The International Roots Festival that was established in 1996 by Presidents government to forge closer ties with Africans in the Diaspora for meaningful co–operation and development, whilst promoting international cultural understanding and peace, the 10th Edition was official opened in Banjul.
President Yahya AJJ Jammeh, declared the 10th Edition opened in Banjul on the 5th February 2011 at the July 22 square in presence of Gambian vice president, Carbinet Ministers speaker of the house, National assembly members, Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Mayors, Service Chiefs, youths, African Diaspora, women groups among others. According to Jammeh, the Roots festival has attracted hundreds of Africans in the Diaspora to the Gambia, to reconnect with their African ancestry.
He added: ‘this festival encourages sharing of values and experience as well as appreciating Africa’s rich and unique cultural heritage”. Meanwhile, the roots festival also provides an opportune moment for reminding our selves about the daunting challenges that we face in our collective drive to transform the African continent into a bastion of hope economic prosperity, peace and dignity”.
He told African Diaspora that the Gambia is their home saying that “ you(diaspora0 are an integral part of the greater African family and you are needed amongst the members of your family”. The roots festival, Jammeh went on, provides one with the opportunity to have an insight into our history and souci-economic studies and challenges, investment and business opportunities, and tourist attractions such as nature, culture and cuisine. Above all, Gambian leaders says”, during your stay, you will come to realize that the peace, tranquillity, warmth and friendliness associated with Gambia is indeed not a tourism promotion simmick, but a national cultural characteristic and a cognet reality”.
“ I am very please and proud to say that for some 15 years, my government has nurtured the festival with the expressed purpose of building closer tie with peoples of Africa decent the world over, and make them feed that the Gambia, in particular and Africa in general, is their true home”.
President Jammeh stated that the festival remains a celebration of the varied cultures of the African people and forum where Africans in the Diaspora and Africans on the continent with, he added has interact and learn about each other. The project of Africa Unity, Jammeh says cannot be completed without the significant input of Africans living in the Diaspora. This, he continue “is precisely why we always value your (African Diaspora) participation in the Roots festival as well as other cultural festival.
“If African is able to Marshall and canlise the efforts, resources and talents of her children everywhere, she would be a sugar power in substance and out look". ”this he went on, explains the desire of any government to solidity our ties with the African Diaspora”. President Jammeh declared and assure all that the festival is here to stay saying that “ my government will continue to give its unalloyed support, and to work towards expanding its scope and content to make it into one of the best of its kind in the world”, says Jammeh. Gambian leader further commended the ministry of tourist and culture, the National Centre for Arts and culture, the Gambia Tourist Authority, others for timeless commitment for what he described as the success of the festival.
Minister of Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe Njie said since 1996, the Roots Festival has attracted hundreds of Africans in Diaspora to the Gambia to re-connect with their African ancestry, and to immerse themselves in the values and cultures of Africa. The festival , he continued, provides the platform for our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to come back to their roots on a cultural and historical pilgrimage, to network and build everlasting ties with the Gambia in Particular and Africa in general for mutual co-operation and development.
According Tourism and culture minister, the challenges facing the African continent, can only be tackled, "if we work together in a positive manner to advocate the cause of economic and social development”. To reunite with African Diaspora, she said can be done through the vehicle of the International Roots Festival, and to build linkages and partnerships that will have a lasting positive impact on the political, social, economic and cultural levels. She expressed heart felt and sincere gratitude to Gambian Leader for his invaluable personal support to the festival.