Hidden Histories: Celebrating through Masquerade
News and Announcements
Tuesday, February 14, 2023 08:18 AM

The Gambia celebrated its 53rd year as a republic on 24 April and for this occasion we seek to celebrate our independence from total colonial rule by showcasing our cultural diversity as a country in masquerades. Masquerade in Africa symbolises unity, as all ethnic and religious groups celebrate together through Masquerade. This resonates across West Africa and its Diaspora as a form of cultural resistance. In other parts of the world this is called Jonkonnu (Junkanoo) As with many traditions, masquerades are undergoing transformation which sometimes leads to devalue their cultural significance. However, in The Gambia, efforts are made to keep the cultural, social and historical relevance of masquerades like the Kankurang, Zimba, Kumpo, Hunting Devil and others alive. A significant contribution to this is the listing of the Kankurang masquerade of The Gambia as one of the 43 cultural expressions and practices by UNESCO as a “Masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”. Such recognition is demonstrated in The Gambia by the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) that established, with the support of the Janjanbureh community, the Kankurang Museum and Festival.

MBOKA Festival for Arts, Culture and Sports collaborates with SOAS to Celebrate our Hidden Histories through Masquerades with a special presentation on a new forthcoming book about the 200 year history on the Gambian diaspora in Britain, and live performance, film and discussion on the presence, symbolism, meaning, use and history of masquerade in The Gambia and beyond.

Speakers: Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Gibril Fall OBE, Njok Malik Jeng, Hassoum Ceesay (tbc), Prof. Lucy Durán - chair
Date: 28 April
Time: 6-9pm gmt
Venue: Hybrid: in person at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London

Supported by GK Partners and the MSDG Project.

Full details and online / in person bookings on: