Gambia’s Janjanbureh Celebrates 7th Kankurang Festival in Grand Style.


The recently concluded 7th Edition of the Gambia’s Janjanbureh Kankurang Festival has been referred to as one of its kind on the historic Island of Janjanbureh also known as McCarthy Island and Georgetown. The festival took place from the 26th to 28th of January 2024.

The three-day festival brought together thousands of visitors, tourists, and enthusiasts of culture and also allowed everyone to mingle and enjoy themselves. It created chances of business opportunities for investors particularly those who want to invest in the tourism and culture sector.

The official opening of the festival on Friday was presided over on behalf of Governor Ousman Bah by Deputy Governor Sainey Mbaye. He revealed that the story began in 2018 when the community was supported by the government through the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Gambia Tourism (GTBoard)  while the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) decided to revive this great festival.

According to the Deputy Governor, in 2008 UNESCO counted Kankurang as a Masterpiece of Humanity which remains a source of pride to all of us. He noted that the island is the home of Kankurang.

He highlighted the importance of culture explaining that it helps to build a self-identity and pride, and it is “our languages, foods, dress and belief systems that make us as real people and not robots. So, the stronger the cultural heritage we have, the more robust our identity”.

He further explained that through s shared heritage such as masquerades, languages, and rituals, the country can always arrive at solutions for its political and social differences. “Through our shared cultural heritage, we can build a united and prosperous Gambia. Jobs can be created in the creative heritage industries. This is why the government of His Excellency President Adama Barrow will continue to support culture and this community”, he added.

Deputy Governor Mbaye expressed appreciation to the board and staff of the NCAC; the Gambia Tourism Board and the Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute for giving the much-needed support.

He applauded the NATCOM UNESCO for its support to NCAC through various interventions such as the Kankurang Centre on the island and also the Event Management Committee (EMC).

Member of the National Assembly for Janjanbureh, Honorable Omar Jammeh praised the members of EMC for putting together the event without any hitches and expressed gratitude to all of the attendees for helping to make it The Gambia’s first-ever festival to remember.

In order to prevent or lessen urban and rural migration, he described the festival’s significance and provided investment opportunities in a variety of sectors, including lodging, the use of the Gambia River, and the creation of jobs.

Senior NATCOM UNESCO program officer Mr. Lamin Jarjou spoke about the significance of the Kankurang and commended the Janjanbureh community for taking the initiative. He stated that festival is being affected by climate change issue as the trees in the bush that are used to dress the Kankurang are felled in the forests.

Speaking on behalf of the Director General of the NCAC, Mr Sanna Jarjou showed appreciation to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, its satellite institutions as well as the supporters from far and near. He pointed out the challenges facing the Kankurang traditions and adviced the people to have its chains maintained.


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