Introduction to The International Roots Festival, Banjul The Gambia, West Africa. For over 400 years people have been separated by the results of the African Holocaust (African Atlantic Slave Trade) and the legacy of colonisation has kept us at odds with our true history, our identity, our cultural traditions and prevented unity and growth amongst our People and our Continent.
The International Roots Festival is designed to encourage peoples of African Descent who reside within the Diaspora to further discover, re-affirm and re-embrace their ancestral identity through confronting a physical past.
You may recall the Late Great American Historian by the name of Alex Haley who discovered his "Roots" in The Gambian Village of Juffereh; he wrote a book based upon his findings which later became a TV Series known to millions as "ROOTS". Also featured in the series was James Island, an Island in the River Gambia which bears the last remains of a Slave Fort where Africans were held captive before they were forcibly put into Slave Ships to embark on a journey to hell.
We invite you to become associated with this biennial event which is growing in steady numbers and reaching out to people residing within member States of the EU, The Caribbean Islands, The united states of America, Canada and Latin America who wish to fulfil an ambition of returning to their "roots" and to experience the life and cultures of their people with whom they have been separated for hundreds of years.
In The Gambia ancient traditions are still undiluted and in abundance to enrich those destined to obtain a deeper cultural and spiritual identity. The Gambia provides one the opportunity to redress and to come to terms with ones true antecedence.
The Gambias Head of State, President Yahya Jammeh acknowledges the global contributions made by Africans towards the worlds social, cultural and economic development during the last century. Despite the enslavement of its people the plundering of its natural resources and a highly organised conspiracy to keep Africa economically dependent, the people of Africa have come far, winning the struggle for Independence and Emancipation, Liberating the Continent and establishing strong footholds throughout the Western World.
The Roots Festival brings together positive thinking Africans who share the same common objectives, origins and heritage, who collectively focus on all positive key aspects that may contribute to the social, cultural and economic growth of theContinent as we move towards the next century. Previous Roots Festivals that have taken place in The Gambia have resulted in higher levels of communication and co-operation amongst Gambians and Africans throughout the Diaspora.
The forthcoming Festival will further strengthen and solidify unity amongst Africans on the Continent and within the Diaspora, additionally promoting Cultural Homecomings/Tourism and Financial Investment into the Gambias future in particular and Africa in general.
THE INTERNATIONAL ROOTS FESTIVAL WILL CONTINUE TO GROW. IT IS DESTINED TO BECOME A GLOBALLY RECOGNISED EVENT AND A HISTORICAL OCCASION FOR MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
For previous Diaspora Africans who have attended and participated on previous festivals and tours, their experiences have been overwhelming and many return to the UK or the US with a new lease of life, a vibrant positive outlook, a spirit to succeed and an iron-willed conviction to return to The Gambia with friends and relatives as soon as possible.