The entire Teko Road neighborhood went into a frenzy as the pupils appear in their colourful African costumes. The drumming and acrobatic dance moves by the Super Stars Dancers changed the setting of St Joseph’s Secondary School, Makeni that Saturday morning.
200 pupils from 10 schools in the Bombali District had converged for an event which would inevitably leave a lasting impression on their minds. The enthusiasm could be seen in the way the children walk and talk. It was quite clear that they were expecting a great cultural heritage experience. Something which has not happened in their community for a while.
Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Monuments and Relics Commission were holding a heritage awareness seminar and launching a School Heritage Project in Makeni.
Facilitated by Education and Outreach Manager, Mohamed Faray Kargbo and Research and Development Officer, Francis Musa Momoh, the programme highlighted key issues that are crucial for the continued survival of the nation’s intangible cultural heritage. From knowledge about self-identity to cultural values, ways of expressing our culture to pride in retaining that which was handed down from generations, the pupils were actively involved in the participatory exercises.
The clubs were established in the following schools in Makeni, St Joseph’s Secondary School, St Francis Secondary School, Benevolent Islamic, Birch Memorial, Makeni Comprehensive Academy, Every Nation Academy, Modern School of Science, Sebora and Ansarul Islamic.
Teachers from the above schools lauded the initiative and expressed the need to reinforce cultural heritage education in schools for sustainable development. They vowed to always upload the ideals of heritage preservation in their teaching while encouraging the Ministry to do everything possible to open such clubs in every school in the country.
All schools had an opportunity to display some cultural attributes during the event. Whether it was a cultural song, dance, storytelling, cultural dress, value or traditional game, the group work presentation left many in awe. Not only were the performances exceptional, but they were also classic as well.
Makeni is the third locality where the Commission has launched heritage clubs, the first was Freetown followed by Bo district.
The School Heritage Club project is implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs through the Monuments and Relics Commission to revive cultural heritage awareness and educate pupils about the importance of safeguarding their invaluable heritage. The youths are the inheritors of the country’s cultural and natural heritage, it therefore goes without saying that they must be made to enjoy it now and be prepared to transmit it to future generations.