The Genieri Community Museum in Kiang,Lower River Region, was on Saturday inaugurated at a ceremony held at the community square. The inauguration also marked the celebration of the Genieri Village Cultural and Traditional Festival 2013.
Speaking on behalf of Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, the minister of Tourism and Culture, Baba Ceesay, the director general of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) extended the minister's appreciation over the initiative, for the fact that it is in support of government's policy. Since government cannot establish museums in all regions and villages, Ceesay noted that the strategy NCAC adopted is to encourage the establishment of private and community museums.
"Such initiatives are therefore assisted by the NCAC on behalf of the government. There is no doubt that museums, apart from conserving and showcasing material heritage, have lots of advantages because it will attract visitors not only financial resources in the form of visiting fees, but also opportunities for employment among the youth that will man the museum," he stated.
DG Ceesay said that the case of Genieri Community Museum is particularly interesting because of its origin and link to the oral history of the village. This oral history, he said has been passed on from generation to generation. He explained that the story of a well in the 'Tato' goes back to the jihadist exploits of Foday Kaba Dumbuya during the Soninke Marabout Wars. This fact he said has touched on another aspect of the NCAC's responsibility, particularly the recording and documentation of their oral traditions for the benefit offuture generations.
The NCAC boss therefore expressed delight at the initiative taken by the community in linking the inauguration of the museum with the festival. "Festivals have a pivotal role in realising government's cultural policy. The Gambia government promotes the holding of periodic cultural festivals at the national, regional and village levels because festivals provide a forum for people to sink their differences. Supporting festivals is also part of the global effort to promote understanding, mutual respect, co-operation and collaboration in the interest of peaceful co-existence and human fulfillment," he stated, affirming that a celebration of culture is a celebration of identity.
For his part, Lamin Darboe, the LRR governor lauded the efforts of the Gambian leader, in making sure that our culture is not neglected or forgotten, anddescribed the initiative as motivating.
Speaking on behalf of the Gambia TourismBoard's director general, Fatou Beyai-Raji, the product development director of the Board thanked the community for the move, and applauded their diligence and patience in making their dream come true. Madam Beyai-Raji then commended the organisers of the event, and referred to the new museum as another plus to the country's tourism and heritage conservation.