Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs last week concluded a six days cultural festival held at Coronation Field Bo city. The event, which attracted people from all works of life, was geared towards revitalizing the traditional and cultural heritage and find ways to preserve and educate the Sierra Leonean populace about the importance of culture. It was indeed a glamorous and colourful event as traditional cultural groups and esoteric groups from all over the country graced the occasion with a float parade where traditional costumes, masks and make-ups were worn.
Dancers swiftly moved their body to the rhythm of the drum, sheboureh, the kalane, Booboo sound and the Balangie instrument mostly used by the Madingo tribe.
Minister Peter Bayuku Conteh and entourage, Bo Mayor, Harold Tucker and eminent personalities from University of Sierra Leone Fourah Bay College and the Sierra Leone Police and other security Personnel were present to show their commitment towards cultural development in the country.
Despite the excitement and jubilation of cultural and traditional Dance Groups, what hides behind their mask is their disappointment over the neglect and unfair treatment of traditional groups and individuals by the Government and people of Sierra Leone.
In his statement, Head of warrior Dance Troupe and popular traditional dancer, King Hassan Jalloh outlined some of his achievements over the past years as he represented Sierra Leone in cultural and mystical performances in the West African sub region and Europe. He states that he has won five (5) silver medals and was crowned Mystical king of West Africa in 2010 in Banjul the Gambia.
He however noted his dissapointment over the treament of cultural Groups in the country by the Government and people, complaining that much efforts have not been put in place to develop culture in the country. He added as a result, culture has depreciated drastically and that the youths are not interested to maintain culture in Sierra Leone.
King Hassan Jalloh says that culture is a tradtion that needs to be maintained as its guides people on their responsilities and roles in nation building and also demonstrates respect and discipline in homes, villages and the country as a whole. He therefore called on the people of Sierra Leone and the Government to find ways to bring back our long lost cultural heritage by promoting cultural activities, acknowledge cultural groups in schools, homes and towns, and develop a cultural industry in the country for the production of local african attire, arts and craft as this will help create job opportunities and contribute to economic development.
The Abba Dura of Young Rising Ogeh society in BO, says Ojeh soceity is faced with serious challenges in Bo as most people do not acknowlegde Ojeh society as part of their culture. He mentioned that their members faced embarassment in public places as people refer to them as idlers and devilish. He stated that the Ojeh Society is important as its brings peace and unity among members and also helps promote culture in Sierra Leone.
Professor Magbaily Fyle founder of African Studies and Professor Joe A D Alie head of African Studies department Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone have described culture and tradition as an important factor in socio-economic development and also states that culture is a way of life and means to identify an individual and teaches moral value in society. Professor Magbaily Fyle maintained that cultural education should be introduced in schools in order to help reinstate some cultural values that have died down over the years due to the neglect and adaptation of foreign cultures. He called on the Government, Paramount chiefs and traditional heads to enforce cultural and traditional laws in the country as a means to ensure that people adopt their culture and respect their African Traditional attire.
By Mariam Bah
Wednesday April 30, 2014