Every year, the Alliance Francaise de Banjul organises what it calls the 'Francophonie Week'. This year was no exception and the observation of the Francophonie Week commenced on Saturday, 9 March, with the official opening ceremony ushered in with French songs by Yves Matrat and the Band from France. Talking to this reporter in an exclusive interview, M. Didier Martins, the Director of Alliance Francaise in the Gambia, said the Alliance Francaise has the objective to teach French as well as to organise cultural activities. He said every year the French communities the world over celebrate what is called the Francophonie.
He explained that Francophonie is the gathering of French speaking people around the world regardless of whether french is their mother tongue, official language or language learnt from school. He said they are partnering with the French Embassy, the French School, the University of The Gambia (UTG), the Association of French Teachers in the Gambia, the Mauritanian School, French Cooperation, the Club France-Gambie and Sant Francophile, which is a group of young Gambian who are interested in learning French. The Alliance Francaise Director said they have a lineup of cultural activities to display the diversity of the cultures involved in the Francophonie. "We have some French and Senegalese artists who are coming to Alliance Francaise to display their talents.
We just have the opening last Saturday in the presence of high level officials and diplomats in the Gambia. We will round up with a concert with Awadi and Matador who are big names in the Senegalese rap and Hip Hop scene. It will be a live band performance and there will be more than 15 artists on stage that night," said Director Martins. The Director further disclosed that on the 29 March there will be a very interesting band, a reggae band which is a mixture of Senegalese, French and U.S musicians. He said on the 22 they will organised a school day where they will invite 10 French clubs from the Greater Banjul to participate in display of the production of French language and also participate in a competition organised by Radio France International (RFI).
He added that there will be many prices to win and also a big raffle. "I want to thank our sponsors Brussels Airlines, Banjul Breweries and CFAO Motors. There will be a lot for students, music lovers Art lovers etc. All these at Alliance Francaise during this month of March 2013," he said. The Alliance Francaise Director said they will make sure those Gambian artists are on stage alongside the invited artists from France and United States. He said they have not yet finalised the list of artists but assured that the Francophonie celebration of French language is also a celebration of culture diversity. "It cannot it cannot be a fruitful festival when Gambians are not part of it," he concluded.