The Upper Nuimi Development Association’s Fundraising Cultural Jamboree declared a success
THE UPPER NUIMI DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION'S FUNDRAISING CULTURAL JAMBOREE DECLARED A SUCCESS The cultural jamboree organised by the Upper Nuimi Development Association last Saturday, 14th April, at the West Indian Community Centre in Leeds, United Kingdom has been hailed a resounding success by the organisers. The event which was organised to showcase some of the diverse cultures in The Gambia and to help raise some of the necessary funds needed for the association to achieve its mission to advance the socio-cultural and economic development needs of people living in the Upper Nuimi District of The Gambia, had attracted a decent turnout from among the natives of Upper Nuimi and the wider Gambian community in both the UK and the other parts of Europe.
Traditional Mandinka Wedding Showcase at the Cultrual Event in Leeds
It was a great exhibition of culture and traditions from The Gambia, with each display showcasing the country’s rich and diverse cultures, from the 'Baku Lamba ji' (pre-wrestling dance) which was performed by a former Gambian wrestling champion, Africa Nuha, to the traditional Mandinka wedding and the appearance of the Kankurang masquerade known as the 'FANGBONDI', which was the highlight of the occasion, having captivated the watching crowd in fascination. In fact the kids almost immediately fell in love with the mysteriously creepy masquerade, but were equally intruded by its Star-Wars character-like appearance as they sat passively next to their dewy-eyed parents, most of whom were for a minute shrouded by nostalgic feelings as it brought home closer to their hearts and minds. He was the star of the show, had captivated the gaze of the crowd like no other, it took many minutes for any break of a sound other the music by Toure Kunda from the bellowing sound system. The event also fulfilled its anticipated purpose to connect the children with their ancestral heritages, and without doubt they had witnessed something mesmeric to say the least, one that will surely stay with them for posterity. Its authenticity along with the colourful display of the uniformed clothing (ASOBI) done by the attendees all made the theme a special spectacle which left both the organisers and spectators truly impressed However, the event itself would not have been possible without the help from the UNDA membership in the UK, particularly those in Leeds, who were led by the Secretary General Mr Yankuba Sawo and the women's focal group led by Miss Amie Kolleh Darboe, who had all done tremendously well to ensure the success of the event. And in paying tribute to their efforts and contribution, the Secretary General Sawo said: 'What we did last night in Leeds was unique because such event has never been staged here in Leeds and above all we exceeded our expectations. 'We are extremely grateful to Amie Kolleh for her leadership , Fatou Sonko Sawo, Sirra Jallow Sanyang, Fatou Bah Sawo, Fatou Njie Sonko, Binta Gassama Sonko, Mariama Darboe Jatta, Ramou Sowe Minteh, Jatou Tafa, Sarjo Jammeh Sawo, Lolly Samateh, Naffie Sonko Sanneh and Ara Sanyang Sonko, and everyone else I haven’t mentioned. 'The women team were fantastic and I am truly proud of our women for this excellent job. Please pray for them for their continued unity and understanding because they are stronger together when united.
Organisers of the UNDA Fundraising cultural Jamboree in Leeds, United Kingdom
'This is a clear manifestation of female power. When we empower our females they can do anything. If you are in a leadership position please promote diversity, when you do this you get the best out of people, added Mr Sawo before appealing to the newly elected UNDA President, Mr Bakary Jallow Sonko, who is a junior brother to the former Local Government Minister, the late Alh. Landing Jallow Sonko, and his Executive to empower the women in the organisation. In his own statement after the event, the President, Mr Sonko also expressed his delight and gratitude to all those involved in the organising of the event he described as 'spectacular and most wonderful fundraising event' and he has thanked everyone for their respective support particularly the women folks. 'Thank you to you all very much and your supporters for a most wonderful fundraising event last night, in Leeds, wrote the New York based President. 'This spectacular event most be one of a kind in Leeds. You showed the people of Leeds our very rich culture and our unity of purpose to help our people back home in Gambia. 'It was a definite display of your patriotism and commitment to improve the welfare of others who are less privileged than those of us who are in The diaspora. 'Your team have set a high bar for the rest of the UNDA members in other parts of the world to emulate. We will do our best to follow. ''Please allow me to give special recognition to our female organisers for all of their efforts and participation in making this event a resounding success. We are extremely grateful.
'It is pity we cannot name everyone for their individual contribution but we are equally grateful to all. The women team were fantastic and we are truly, truly proud of the excellent job they did. We pray for them and for all of UNDA members for continued unity and understanding, because we are stronger when we are United. '
The Kankurang masquerade also known as the 'FANGBONDI
Upper Nuimi Development Association (UNDA) was formed in December 2016 by the citizens of Upper Nuimi District, from both in The Gambia and the diaspora. In the past year, the association has gained huge strides towards realising some of its mission and one of its biggest achievement was the launching of an Emergency Relief Funding (ERF) account, which had helped support victims of some weather-related disasters in the region last summer. However, as a volunteer association with very limited resources, the association relies on individual contributions and fund-raising events like this to help fund such initiatives and thus the success in Leeds last weekend was widely applauded by the organisers and the general membership. What was achieved is not going to build 'Akalang road' or hospitals across the region, but the event's success can be used as the springboard to gear the Association towards such infrastructural developments.