By Arfang Camara
President Adama Barrow has urged the Soninke (Sarahule) communities across the world to support each other and be each other’s Keepers .
The Gambian leader was speaking Thursday evening during the launching of the 6th edition of the International Festival of Soninke Association (FISO) at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
This year’s edition which ends on Monday, is expected to attract thousands of participants from mainly The Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Mauritania, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Mali, France and Belgium.
The theme of the four-day event is “Baanaaxu”, serahule term which means ‘our culture’. The idea of the festival is to bring unity and harmony among Sarahule communities across the world.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Serahule, President Barrow advised the participants not to only use the festival to have fun but also to see it as an opportunity to build and establish network among themselves.
“I want you people to emulate the Soninke’s that were here before you. Those people supported each other and also advised each other in terms of their religion. They read the Quran and taught others”
He told the Sarahules not to allow politics to separate or divide them, adding that everyone has the right to support anyone.
He went on to hail FISO for coming up with such initiative, noting that the festival will help bring together all Soninke’s communities to unify and collectively work towards developing each other.
For her part, Oumie Bachilly, one of the local organizing committee members said the festival is geared towards promoting the Serahule culture. According to her, the festival will feature a trade fair and conference under the theme: Soninkara Business, Economic and Political Integration and Networking.