The National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and The Gambia National Commission for UNESCO on the 5th May 2022 celebrated the African World Heritage Day as proclaimed by the 38th session of the General conference of UNESCO in November 2015.
The celebration that was held at the NCAC conference hall in Banjul was centered on the theme; ‘African Heritage as a source for Humanity, Innovation, and Resilience’. African World Heritage Day is an opportunity for the World, particularly Africans, to celebrate the Continent’s unique cultural and natural heritage.
Reading his statement at the event, Mamat Sallah, assistant director of Museums and Monuments at the NCAC disclosed that in 2003, the Kunta Kinteh Island and its Related Sites were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List; in 2006, the Stone Circles of Senegambia were also inscribed into the World Heritage List as a trans-boundary Property.
“The Gambia therefore boasts of its numerous World Heritage Properties, which have the potential to strengthen humanity through forging closer ties with and between communities to nurture and sustain peace and tranquility,” he said, noting that World Heritage Sites are places of reflection for the betterment of the communities through skills acquisition, reconciliation and education.
According to him, through the World Heritage Sites, they can support youths to innovate and thereby make the sites even more relevant to the needs and aspirations of the host communities. He added that the role of World Heritage in building community resilience is also important noting that this can be achieved through using the World Heritage Sites to equip youths, women and marginal groups with skill sets such as tour guiding, souvenir making, cultural performances, gardening, arts and craft to respond to the needs of the visitors and enhance income generation.
Mr. Sallah stated that The Gambia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites have great potential to improve livelihoods and support strong and sustainable resilient communities against hunger, unemployment and the negative effects of climate change.
Accordingly, he went on, the theme for this year also indirectly urges for continuous community participation in the management and conservation of World Heritage Sites. According to him, community participation and involvement cannot be an afterthought; it should always be a forethought so that our World Heritage Sites will always be in a winning situation.
“This year, NCAC and NATCOM will mark the events at Kerr Batch Stone Circles site at Nianija with series of school/community activities with Chamen and Buduk schools, including debates, quiz, work sheets and cultural performances as well as cleansing exercises,” he concluded.
Source: Ministry of Tourism