The revolution and culture
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
There is no society without culture and consequently without civilization. Throughout history, societal development has been a product of man's understanding of his culture blended with his moral and physical capabilities. Culture here refers to the pattern of human activity and the symbols which give significance to this activity. It is represented through the art, literature, costumes, customs and traditions of the society. The cultural values of a community give it an identity of its own. A community gains a character and a personality of its own, because of the culture of its people.
Africa's collective backwardness as a continent is partly due to cultural imperialism. Those who dominated us, started by denying usour identity, they succeeded in this by making us reject our culture as inferior to imperial culture. This resulted to the obliteration of the consciousness of who we are as Africans and hence, denying ourselves a sense of belonging. It is therefore obvious that any meaningful development of the African continent has to begin with the resurrection of the faded culture of the people. It is against this background that the July 22nd revolution wasted no time to ensure that the Gambia regains the lost glory of her culture, since it is that culture upon which the foundation of development can be built.
Since the birth of a new Gambia, the leadership of the July 22nd revolution has capacitated the National Council for Arts and Culture, changing it from a council to a centre to widen its scope. The national museum was also brought back to life. More importantly, the state-supported annual Roots Homecoming Festival and the Kanilai International Festival have all been instrumental in building the culture of the country. It is an undisputed fact that the tremendous success registered by The Gambia in the field of development and the peace and harmony that The Gambia enjoys cannot be explained in the absence of President Jammeh's giant stride in restoring the lost culture of the country and Africa at large.
Cultural displays like the Kanilai International Festival have not only succeeded in restoring our culture, they have done tremendously well in cultivating the seeds of unity, peace and development in the hearts of Africans. Those who are privileged to attend the festival know what we are talking about. Culture is a bond that ties the people of a society together. It is that one common bond which brings the people of a community together.
The customs and traditions that the people of a community follow, the festivals they celebrate, the kind of clothing they wear, the food they eat, and most importantly, the cultural values they adhere to, bind them together. There no doubt that the Kanilai International Festival is providing such bonds among Gambians and Africans at large. In fact the festival can be described as one of those social events wherein people shape their standards and behavior as the festival promotes cultural values that influence one's way of living and thus impact on social life.
Author: Daily Observer