By Fatou Dahaba
Poetry Academy, a branch of Standstill Organization, The Gambia, on Sunday, 16th July 2023, organized the first-ever poetry boat ride event for young Poets from Denton Bridge to Lamin Lodge.
According to Saffiatou Joof, one of the country’s leading young poets, the founder of Poetry Acadamy, and event organizer, the boot ride aimed to bring young poets together in a different environment with great speakers and activities that inspire and motivate them.
She urges young people to use the event best and build connections and networks with other poets.
“The poetry boat ride is a new initiative, and Standstill Organizations, The Gambia, manages it. The aim is geared towards helping young Gambian poets who are aspiring to be great poets in the future. The organization’s engagement ensures they have the proper exposure to showcase their talents,’ She said while thanking the event’s sponsors.
The theme for the board ride was “Challenges that our youth are facing.”
Dr. Cherno Umar Barry, who spoke on the Importance of poetry, advised the young Poets to read hard to get to the next level, adding that one can only recite or write poems if one reads widely.
“If you don’t read, you will have too many problems, which include grammatical mistakes, and that is not good because when you record and publish your poems, they will be history, and if there are mistakes, they will be left for people to judge you later,” he advised.
He defined those using local languages in their poetry as exceptional. He added that poetry is meant to educate, entertain, provide inspiration, and be rich in information one wishes to share.
Ousman Gaku spoke on the Importance of skills acquisition. He outlined the need for young people to acquire skills that create jobs for their fellow youth.
“When you acquire skills, it enhances your employability that can employ people and contribute to the country’s economy growth,” he said.
Momodou Inkeh Bah spoke on the Importance of safeguarding the environment, noting climate change is real, and the Gambia is losing arable land to salt intrusion to climate change.
“We have started the mangrove project to help our farmers or rice growers to restore the vast hectares of arable land they lost to salt intrusion.”
Mr. Bah further states that in 2019, they planted 3 million mangroves across different country wetlands.
He explained that mangroves serve as inhabitants for lots of fish and ut also threaten the oysters business because when there are no mangroves, there will be no oysters.
Nenneh Freda Gomez, another speaker, advised the young Poets they need to believe in themselves as poets.
She said what they are doing is lovely, and plenty of people are making a fortune.
“So many people are making money from it because it is part of our lives by talking; the feelings, actions, and expressions are good and important.”
Omar A. Bojang also spoke about respecting parents as Talented Individuals.
Other activities include Nashed, Poetry performances, listening to the recitation of the other young Quranic reciters, and presentation of certificates.