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NCAC Inaugurates The Inventory of Historic Banjul Built Heritage Project

By Yunus S Saliu

The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in conjunction with the UNESCO-NATCOM The Gambia Thursday, 27th April 2023 held a daylong consultative forum with relative stakeholders in Banjul to inaugurate the Inventory of Historic Banjul Built Heritage project.

The project inauguration forum was held at the National Museum premises Banjul and 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.

Addressing stakeholders which comprised of National Assembly members, councilors from different wards in Banjul City, religious leaders, community leaders, representative leaders, , , local historians, youth and women’s groups, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of NCAC applauded the participants for their large turned out at the forum.

He informed them about the 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 lots of historical infrastructure, built heritages, places, parks wharves and so on here.”
He noted that most of these aforementioned are stretching by development and people are bringing down most of these buildings that “are of historic interest so that’s 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, and technicians (architects) among others were invited to allow them to 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 and so on that is believed of historic interest, the streets they are located, the occupiers or custodians, the jurisdictions, the GPS coordinate, current state of such buildings and so on “they will all put into a document.”

He explained the different stages of the project which start with inventory and will follow by the writing of the regulation, policy and so on.

However, the Director General of the NCAC begged for their support to carry out the project saying it is a “decision from the government to help preserve the history of the city to encourage and attract tourists to the city, provide employments, empowerment and train of some youth to be tour guides and among other opportunities of the project.”

Meanwhile, he thanked Mr Lamin Jarjou Senior Program Officer at UNESCO-NATCOM office The Gambia, staff of NCAC, and technicians among others for their support on the project.
Lamin Jarjou, Senior Program Officer at the UNESCO-NATCOM, The Gambia applauded the NCAC for the initiative and said this couldn’t have come at a better time than now noting that culture is a good part of what UNESCO does.

He said historic Banjul preservation is long overdue saying now “going round the Banjul City there are lots changes of structures that have affected some of the interesting and historic places in the city.”
He reassured the Centre of UNESCO-NATCOM of the Gambia’s readiness and continuous support in the project and “we hope that we will achieve our aims and objectives on this, as we will continue our partnership with NCAC.”

Mamat Sallah, Assistant Director for Museum and Monuments added that the threat faced by the built heritage of Banjul is accentuated by the expansion of the Port, building of warehouses and stoes, and mass migration out of the city.


Yunus S Saliu

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