By Yunus S Saliu
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) will host an international symposium on the theme ‘Gambian Heritage Goes Digital’ from 18-20th October 2022 at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.
The event will mark the successful end of a five years digitizing project of the NCAC Oral Archives at Fajara. The archives are repository of 7000 audio tapes and 2000 transcribed files. It is a unique national memory of the history of The Gambia.
With support from the German Gerda Henkel Foundation, NCAC staff and the German partners have completed the digitizing of the archives which will in November go online on a dedicated website. The German project team included Professor Henning Schreiber of Hamburg University and Dr. Katrin Pfeiffer, an ethno linguist with 36 years research experience in The Gambia; Hassoum Ceesay and Siaka Fadera led the NCAC project team.
“The digital version of the RDD archives will help in conservation, and also increase accessibility and fundability of the collection. Now, we are happy to say that an important part of Gambian heritage is going digital’, says Hassoum Ceesay, Director General, NCAC.
He stressed that “at the start of the digitizing project in 2007, NCAC and partners held a big confab of historians, now that the project has been completed, NCAC and our German partners are again bringing together a dozen historians and university dons from The Gambia, USA, UK, Nigeria, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Ghana, Germany who will present latest research on African and Gambian history relevant to oral tradition, heritage and contemporary issues like land disputes, digital archiving and tourism.
The doyen of the NCAC Oral Archives Mr. Bakari Sidibe (1921-2021), will also be remembered during the conference, says Hassoum Ceesay.
Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture will deliver the opening remarks of this academic conference. The Ministers of Higher Education and Foreign Affairs, academics who have done extensive research using the NCAC Oral Archives, will also deliver statements.