Kankurang Centre discussed
Monday, April 20, 2009
The first ever UNESCO-sponsored Kakurang Centre for The Gambia, was on Saturday 11th April, discussed in the conference hall of Friendship Hotel in Bakau.
The project was subjected to a thorough examination by members of the selected National Coordinating Committee and officials from the Department of State for Tourism and Culture, National Centre for Arts and Culture and other stakeholders in the development of arts and culture in The Gambia and beyond.
The meeting was a follow-up to the stakeholder workshop held in Janjanbureh from 8th to 11th May 2008,where the National Coordinating Committee was formed and the subsequent adoption of Janjanbureh as the host for the Kankurang project.The Apirl 2009 meeting was characterised by presentation of papers on the propossed Kankurang Centre, to be established in Janjanbureh, Central River Region (CRR).The centre once in operation is expected to host different facilities such as a museum, performaning stage, rest and conference rooms among others.
In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed Kankurang as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.This proclammation signifies UNESCO’s strategy for the safequarding of the world’s living heritage.The proclammation was made during the 1997 General Conference of UNESCO and it was adopted by its executive board in 1998. The UNESCO proclammation on world heritage aimed among other things to raise awareness on the importance of oral and intangible heritages and the need to safequard them.
It also aims to encourage countries to establish national inventories and to take legal and administrative measures for the protection of their oral and intangible heritage, as well as promote the participation of traditional artists and local practitioners in identifying and revitalizing their intagible and cultural heritages.The masterpieces are selected on six criteria; such as those possessing outstanding value as a masterpiece of human creative genius,those that are rooted in the cultural tradition or history of the community concerned, those threathened with disappearance due to insufficient means of protection, among others.
Momodou C Joof, director general of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, speaking at the opening of the meeting, gave a brief historical background of the UNESCO-sponsored Kankurang project and the actions taken by his institution in collaboration with the Department of State for Tourism and Culture, and other stakeholders in the world of arts and culture in the Gambia. Mr Joof explained that UNESCO encouraged The Gambia and the Republic of Senegal to jointly establish a project proposal geared towards preservation of the Kankurang tradition, cognisant of its outstanding value.
According to the NCAC boss, UNESCO had approved the Gambian proposal on establishment of a Kankurang centre and the project is also aimed among other things at establishing a synergy between national institutions and communities where the Kankurang tradition exists. He further said that the centre will be equipped with a museum to be managed by a local committee, as well as some tool kits dealing with the protection of forests including afforestation of the trees that are associated the Kankurang, and an establishment of a joint Senegalo-Gambian Steering Committee for safequarding of Kankurang tradition.
Baba Ceesay, Director of Cultural Heritage at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, presented a paper on the review of the project objectives and assement of progress made. Bakary Sanyang, assistant director of Research and Documentation at the NCAC, gave a brief and detailed summary of Kankurang types and the areas they are found in The Gambia and beyond. He singled out Fanbondi, Fara Kankurang,Fita Kankurang, Janbajabali, Senko,Mamo amongst types of Kankurang found in The Gambia and beyond.
Author: By Sanna Jawara