A Sierra Leonean group based in Germany, the Sierra Sports and Cultural Club, has continued to promulgate the countries cultural richness and beauty during the world famous Carnival of Cultures in Berlin.
Sierra Leone’s famous masked devil, “Paddle” paraded the streets of Berlin, leaving onlookers with surprising agility, while Sierra Leonean traditional music, food, art and entertainment climaxed the occasion.
The procession assembled 90 groups from various countries around the globe. The significance of the event is however based on the fact that it highlights the hidden treasures of the international cultural scene in Berlin among which Sierra Leone is a part.
The Group’s Chairman, Mohamed Suma said their participation was specifically aimed at promoting Sierra Leonean culture in the diaspora adding that, such move would encourage people to explore the cultural richness of the country.
The Carnival of Cultures is open to everybody and all forms of cultural expression. It is regarded as a platform for a proud expression of hybrid cultural identities, containing traditional and contemporary elements. It includes and attracts all age groups, professional artists and amateurs, people from all walks of life.
The artistic quality of the group presentations has been stimulated and increased by the introduction of a competition during the parade. Prizes are awarded to the best carnival groups, floats and youth groups thereby encouraging the development of all aspects of carnival.
Though Sierra Leone is not among the five award winners, Sierra Sport and cultural club is confident to continue their participation in subsequent carnivals. This is because according to the Chairman, “…it is not all about money but also promoting our cultural and touristic potentials”
The Sierra Sports and Cultural Club, a group of young and dynamic Sierra Leoneans in Germany will be participating in this year’s carnival of cultures, (Karneval der Kulturen) to promote Sierra Leone’s cultural heritage in Berlin, Germany.
The occasion which will take place from the 25-28 May 2012, is geared towards presenting the cultural and ethnic diversity of the large international population living across Germany. It was against this backdrop that the Sierra Sport and Cultural club seized this great opportunity to showcase Sierra Leone, amidst millions of people who will converge to witness this august juncture.
In a brief interview with the Club’s Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Suma, he said his organization is proud to show case Sierra Leone’s culture in this year’s most colorful, diverse and vivid carnival. Their aim he went on is to attract the attention of participants and visitors regarding Sierra Leone’s unique and diverse natural beauty.
Other activities for the event include among others, Sierra Leone’s culinary seducements, arts and a traditional hunting parade.
The Carnival of Cultures is of special importance to Berlin’s ethnic communities. They see it as a challenge and an incentive to reconsider their view on the culture in their respective countries of origin while defining their cultural self-image “between two cultures”.
The involvement in carnival activities strengthens the bonds within ethnic communities and among all the groups alike. Their presence in the national and international media leads to a growing self-esteem within ethnic communities. Therefore, the Carnival of Cultures promotes awareness for the positive impact made by immigrants on Berlin’s cultural and social life.
Sierra Leone has once again participated in the World’s leading International Travel Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany. The ITB is a platform for trade visitors, business partners and tour operators across the globe. It is aimed at encouraging individual countries to exhibit their touristic potentials in an effort to attract meaningful investors.
During the exhibition where Sierra Leone’s touristic and business potentials were extolled, the General Manager of the National Tourism Authority, Cecil J. Williams said it is a forum worth participating as according to him, it creates an opportunity to not only display products and provide relevant information about Sierra Leone, but also to establish networks with business partners and to update themselves about the trend in the tourism sector.
Mr. Williams said their participation in this year’s trade fair is to provide aid to investors and inform them about the rich potentials that Sierra Leone has in the business sector. This is why government has also established legislative instruments to provide incentives for investors – the Tourism Act and Finance Act 2011.
Considering the high unemployment rate and efforts to improve the socio economic development in the country, Mr. Williams believes that tourism is the answer to those many underlying problems. He noted that the industry has a multiplying effect touching on every facet of society. The reason, he went on, was because of its people oriented scheme which unlike other mechanised industries like Minerals and Agriculture, encourages everybody from various discipline. “….tourism does not only bring economic benefit but enhances the social status of the people. Once employed in the tourism industry, your status is improved,” he noted, adding that recent developments ranging from increase in employment rate and revenue collection lend credence to the aforesaid.
It could be recalled that the industry has created employment to approximately five thousand people, with a total contribution of $ 36.9 million into the country’s national coffer. Tourists arrivals in the country have equally increased from 33 thousand to 52 thousand in recent times.
The General Manager further disclosed that other major development activities will soon be undertaken by two Hotel chains – Radison Blew and Hilton Hotel. They will construct 200-bed Hotels in the country, in an effort to increase the capacity of the hotels in the country. These developments he said are good news for operators who are interested in going to Sierra Leone.
Mr. Williams described the relationship between the National Tourist Board and the private sector as vital. “That is why we are here with a number of private sector participants. They are the main suppliers of services and our role is to facilitate,” he affirmed.
In another development, the tourism sector has secured a $ 3million fund to enhance human resource and capacity building, sector governance review and eco-tourism policy diversification.