is a call-to-action to people from all over the African Diaspora to discover, embrace and re-affirm their ancestral identity. A week-long celebration May 9th-17th, the Roots Festival is the ultimate experience in cultural heritage tourism.
As more and more people of the African Diaspora the world over long to claim their heritage legacy, the festival offers firsthand experiences in African traditions and culture. Many
people of the African Diaspora in the United States, the Caribbean, Brazil and beyond can trace their DNA to West Africa. The late Alex Haley, author of Roots was able to trace his ancestry to the Gambia which became the inspiration for the International Roots Festival.
Knowledge is power and gaining knowledge about your heritage can help toward liberation from the evils of slavery. This knowledge can also help to dispel some of the negative myths about Africa and her people.
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The late, noted and distinguished historian and educator John Henrik Clarke said, “A people’s relationship to their heritage is the same as a child’s to its mother.” If we have no regard and appreciation for our heritage we are indeed like a child who is lost, cut-off or abandoned. So it is time to return to Mother Africa! Disregarding and being unappreciative of our culture heritage can have negative consequences on all levels, mentally, socially, economically and also spiritually.
* * * * * To neglect one’s ancestors would bring ill-fortune and failure in life according to an African proverb. People of the African Diaspora are the children of Africa. Not knowing our true identity, failing to embrace our culture heritage and neglecting to honor our ancestors can lead to self-destructive behaviors.
Participating in the International Roots Festival is a way to appreciate our heritage and honor our ancestors who endured so much for our liberation. We must preserve this history in order to tell our own stories and pass down our own traditions.
One such story is that of Kunta
Kinteh.You will learn the history when you visit The Gambia’s Kunta Kinteh Island where it all began with the capture of a young man who was forced into a life of slavery. The Gambian government changed this island’s name from James Island to Kunta Kinteh Island at the last International Roots Festival.
* * * * * While on this island, you will get to see remnants of slave forts where they held captive Africans, and you will get to meet some of Kunta Kinteh’s descendants.
You will also get to do an initiation with an African family where you will become a part of that family and learn some African traditions. The Gambian families are warm and friendly and honored teach you about their culture.
The International Roots Festival is a powerful culture tool for bringing people of the African Diaspora together. It is a call-to-action for a cultural heritage homecoming. You must attend this spectacular event to meet and enjoy brothers and sisters from all over Africa and around the Diaspora. The Gambia’s International Roots Festival is an exciting cultural heritage celebration that you don’t want to miss!