Mboka Festival 2019 festival program unveiled.

The Mboka Festival 2019 program has been unveiled.

The Mboka Festival 2019 program has been unveiled. The program features activities with literary players from The Gambia and others from outside the West African country.

Mboka means ‘One Family’ in Wolof which makes sense that the festival in The Gambia is called the Mboka Festival of Arts, Culture and Sport or Mboka Festival in short. The Mboka Festival is organised by Camp Africa, Global Hands and SABLE Publications with support from partners, funders and donors including, Africell, Arts Move Africa, Gambia Hotels Association, Gambia Tourism Board, Miles Morland Foundation, National Council for Arts and Culture, Senegambia Hotel and Yaram Arts.

Noo Saro-Wiwa. Photo/© Michael Wharley Photography 2014
Noo Saro-Wiwa. Photo/© Michael Wharley Photography 2014

The Mboka Festival organisers have unveiled the program for the 3rd edition. Highlights of the 2019 edition are Adapting Horizons: Empowering Young Gambians with Disabilities, the International Igbo Conference, the Kankurang Masquerade Festival in Janjanbureh, and the Wuri Oware Tournament. There will also be the Senegambia Run4 Integration the first marathon across the new bridge linking The Gambia and Senegal, sealing the friendship between the two countries.

Mamle Kabu
Mamle Kabu

The literary segment has some changes. Previously announced festival headliner Ama Ata Aidoo has had to withdraw because of health concerns while special guest Tsitsi Dangarembga has scheduling conflicts. This year just like in the past there will be workshops in schools around the country for creative writing, drama, circus, and storytelling. The festival in 2019 will highlight African Women in Creativity with Noo Saro-Wiwa, Zena Edwards, Mamle Kabu and Isatou Alwar Graham.

Here are some of the must-attend events over the festival period.

Monday, January 21.

Louisa Uchum Egbunike
Louisa Uchum Egbunike

The literary arm of the festival will this year kick off on Monday, January 21 with the New Dawn Readings and performances with Gambian and international visiting artists. These include Mamle Kabu, Kenyan storyteller John Titi Namai, writers and artists from the UK Patricia Foster-McKenley, Nadia Maddy, Don Kinch, Anni Domingo, Adinah Shanice Plus published and aspiring Gambian writers including Isatou Alwar Graham, Musa Bah, Essa Bah, Bintou Sanneh, and Alieu Bah. The evening will be hosted at the Jarama Restaurant, Kololi/opposite Duplex.

Tuesday, January 22.

The African Poetry Library @ NCAC, Fajara will run the session called “Honouring our Literary ancestors” as well as its anniversary. Gambian writers to be honoured include Dr Lenrie Peters considered the ‘Father’ of Gambian Literature’ and H I Jagne who wrote The River Gambia: life of the Gambia. International writers to be honoured include Ntozake Shange famous for writing For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf. For those who follow our reporting here at JamesMurua.com, they will remember that the festival gave a similar tribute to the fallen in 2018.

Wednesday, January 23.

Zena Edwards
Zena Edwards

There will be the screenings of two films Joy, It’s Nina by Joy Elias-Rilwan and Jane Thornton as well as Gifts From Babylon by Bas Ackermann, Emiel Martens & Babaucarr Manka. Also on the cards is “Decolonial Conversations: Africa and her Diaspora” a conversation and discussion with Gambian and young visiting artists including singer and poet Adinah Shanice moderated by Alieu ‘Immortal X’ Bah.

For more information on the events in The Gambia, please check out the official festival website.

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