Janjanbureh Kankurang Festivals in The Gambia is a yearly event to showcase the unique cultural expression of the Kankurang and other masking traditions of West Africa
“There is growing evidence that there is a demand for new forms of tourism which are more culturally and community based than in the past. Many people now want experiences rather than sights; doing rather than looking and taking part rather than acting as a spectator. The Janjanbureh Kankurang and Masquerade Festival will provide such a unique experience to visitors.
The main purpose of the festival is to showcase the unique cultural expression of the Kankurang and other masking traditions of West Africa so that the Island will gain visibility and attract more and more visitors who would like to experience an intangible authentic cultural heritage”
“Janjanbureh is well known to be the birthplace of the Kankurang masquerades in the Gambia. The Kankurang masquerade tradition forms an integral part of Mandinka initiatory rites and rituals. The term Kankurang is a combination of the Mandinka words “kango” and “Kurango” which literally translate as “voice” and “enforce”, respectively. These terms could be said to refer to the empowerment of the voice in order to enforce the rules set by members of Mandinka society. In essence, the Kankurang is a central figure in a complex ritual system which comprises traditional practices linked to the initiation of young people and the protection of society and the environment.”