For participatory and not leaving anyone behind, the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in conjunction with the UNESCO-NATCOM – The Gambia recently held a daylong consultative forum with relevant stakeholders in Banjul to inaugurate the Inventory of Historic Banjul Built Heritage project.
The project inauguration forum was held at the National Museum premises in Banjul. It was funded by the UNESCO in Paris through the Participation Program to inventory the historic built heritage of Banjul for informed policy towards urban heritage conservation and valorization into UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of NCAC informed the gathering about NCAC’s intention to begin a process concerning conserving and protecting the history of the Banjul Capital City, saying: “the city is over 200 years since the British occupied it in 1816 and we have a lot of historical infrastructure, built heritages, places, parks wharfs, among others here.”
He noted that most of the aforementioned are stretching by development and people are bringing down most of these buildings that “are of historic interest so that is why we called you here today so we can start doing something to protect the history of our city.”
DG Ceesay said various stakeholders including National Assembly Members (NAMs), ward councilors; local historians, technicians (architects) among others were invited to allow them work together on the inventory of the built heritage of the city.
According to him, the inventory team will go round to list the buildings, parks, squares, worship houses, shrines, among other places that are of historic interest to the nation as well as streets they are located, the occupiers or custodians, the jurisdictions, the GPS coordinate and current state of such buildings and document them.
DG Ceesay said the decision to preserve the history of Banjul is from government to help encourage and attract tourists to the city, provide employments, empowerment, among other opportunities.
Lamin Jarjou, Senior Program Officer at the UNESCO-NATCOM – The Gambia applauded NCAC for the initiative, saying it could not have come at a better time than now. He said culture is a good part of what UNESCO does.
He said the preservation of the history of Banjul is long overdue. He assured NCAC of his office continuous support in the project.
Mamat Sallah, Assistant Director for Museum and Monuments said the threat faced by the built heritage of Banjul is accentuated by the expansion of the Port, building of warehouses and stores and mass migration out of the city.