The Smiling Coast has always been known for its cultural diversity and for the last 14 years, the people of Kartong in Kombo South have been organizing the Kartong Festival every February to celebrate their culture and attract tourists.
This year’s festival featured series of cultural performances from local and international groups and artists. Performers from the Rainbow Band from Sierra Leone lit their bodies on fire and cut off their tongues, the Allankokang women form Gunjur sang about the realities and trials of polygamy in Mandinka, and the participants danced to the tunes till dawn.
Jali kunda Banana Band
The beauty of this great festival is due to the fact that Kartong has been a home for a lot of different people from different cultures, religions and countries since the 80’s, adding color to its diversity. Among the inhabitants are Nigerians, Guineans, Senegalese and Sierra Leoneans, who all used the festival to showcase showcase their cultures and traditions.
Solfa Jatto Cultural Group
The festival has been organised by the Kartong Association for Responsible Tourism (KART), on behalf of the community.
It is important to us that we do not only make tourist feel they’re a part of the festival, but also part of the community and that they come back year after year.
Fourteen years ago, a European man called Peter Borsic introduced the festival that he had been doing with the people of the neighboring village of Abene in Cassamase for 24 years. After two years of helping the people of Kartong run the festival and teaching them event planning and management skills, he handed it to them.
The local organizers are planning for the biggest edition next year as they celebrate the 15th anniversary.