Celebrating 10 Years of Existence: Afriq Divas Advocates Introduction of Performing Arts in Gambian Schools

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Ndey Fatou Jabang

By Alieu Ceesay

Afriq Divas, The Gambia’s first all-girls dance team, established in 2013, is gearing up to celebrate its 10th anniversary and the milestones achieved while championing the cause of introducing performing arts in The Gambia’s education system. The group’s mission extends beyond dance, aiming to nurture talent and skills, with a bit to preserve cultural diversity using education as the vehicle.

In an exclusive interview with TAT ahead of the anniversary celebrations on March 8th, 2024, Ndey Fatou Jabang shared her group’s aspirations, stating, “We are targeting Olympic games and other international platforms to showcase the talents of our Gambian dancers. Our goal is to host international festivals for cultural exchange programs and ensure the introduction of performing arts as an educational activity in schools.”

Afriq Divas Dance Team

As part of their expansion plan, Afriq Divas aims to extend their activities nationwide, reaching out to rural communities. Over the years, the organization has faced gender stereotypes, including derogatory labels such as “prostitutes.” Jabang addressed these challenges, saying, “We work harder to prove them wrong. We focused on professional dancing and introduced Zumba Fitness. Some members became gym instructors, international school dance teachers, and hotel entertainers—providing diverse career paths for sustainable living.”

Afriq Divas was pivotal in establishing The Gambia’s first Dance Company and School, Flex Fuzion Entertainment and Dance Academy. This initiative has successfully trained over 500 young people in performing arts skills and entrepreneurship.

Afriq Divas Dance Team

 

Impacting the Gambia music industry, Jabang highlighted, “Afriq Divas contributes by providing top-notch, professional standard dance performances that narrate stories aligning with the show, music, or concert themes. Our work brings music to life and inspires many individuals to pursue a music career.”

As Afriq Divas approaches its 10th anniversary, the organization continues to break barriers, empower young women, and advocate integrating performing arts into the country’s education curricula.

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