By Yunus S Saliu
Delivering a statement with great enthusiasm at the 2nd Virtual Forum of the African Union Ministers Responsible for Arts, Culture, and Heritage on the Launch of the Concept Note and Roadmap of the Theme of the Year for 2021, The Gambia Minister of Tourism and Culture has enjoined Africans to respect and understand their past to have the vision and ability to focus on the future of Africa.
In his statement, Honorable Hamat NK Bah emphasized that “as Africans we need to understand, recognize and respect our past, we need to honor and preserve our past, sustain it to make sure that we have the vision, wisdom and ability to focus on the future of Africa.”
As a continent, he reiterated, “we have to use our past to build our future, in doing so we must understand the importance, the value of our arts, culture and heritages.”
Minister Bah went on in his speech that Africans need to do a lot to learn from the past to build the future with commitment to their nations, continent and make sure they move the continent forward.
Dwelling in detail on the theme of the year for 2021 – ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We want,’ he said “Africans, it is time we use our past to build a cohesive society that will be free of war violence and indeed to make sure that Africa is giving the opportunity to leave in peace once again.”
As the Charter needs to ratify, Honorable Minister Bah assured colleagues that The Gambia government will do all what it takes to ratify the Charter and “make sure that at least The Gambia once again will be in the forefront of moving forward our arts, cultures and heritages for the future.”
Before rounding up his statement, he commended Ms Angela Martins, Head of Culture Division of African Union Commission, Department of health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development for her wonderful works since she assumed the office by making sure that “we bring back arts, culture and heritages to the awareness of most AU members.”
Participants of the 2nd Virtual Forum this year included AU-Member States through their respective Ministries responsible for arts, culture and heritage, officials from AUC offices and relevant departments – HHS, DIC, Africa CDC, ACALAN, CELHTO, AU New York, AU Washington and AU Geneva offices.
About 2021 Arts, Culture and Heritage 2nd Virtual Forum
The theme of the year for 2021 was ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We want.’ The aim of the forum was to present, discuss and launch the Concept Note and Roadmap of the Theme of the Year for 2021. The expected outcomes included Concept Note on the theme of the Year for 2021 disseminated, key activities and timeframes contained in the roadmap popularized; engagement of members states in the implementation of the theme of the year for 2021 discussed and agreed upon; Ministerial communiqué on the theme of the year for 2021 adopted and the roadmap launched.