This year, Gambia commemorates its 56th anniversary.
After the slave trade, Africa was partition among the strong European countries and colonized. The Gambia is the namesake of The River Gambia. The River Gambia is one of the major rivers in Africa. The river was the main reason why the nation got colonized, firstly by the Portuguese. Then it was known as A Gämbia until it was put under the British Empire in 1765 when the government formally assumed control and established the Senegambia province.
In 1963; two years before independence, the nation was granted internal self-government by the United Kingdom. The Duke and Duchess of Kent traveled to The Gambia to commemorate the end of 300 years of colonial rule with 35 chiefs. On the 18th of February 1965, the country fully gained its independence under Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s leadership.
The Gambian flag was raised, and the Union Jack was lowered forever. The Gambia became a republic in 1972 and Sir D.K Jawara the leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) became the first president until 1994 when Yahya Jammeh seized power following a bloodless coup. Yahya Jammeh ruled for 22 years and in January 2017, Adama Barrow became the third president of the Republic of The Gambia after he defeated Jammeh in the 2016 election.
Every year The Gambia celebrates in grand style to commemorate its independence from colonial rule. It is a grand national event. The celebration includes the presence of the president and family, other government officials, private institutions, educational institutions, parastatals, cultural groups, traditional leaders, religious leaders, business owners, tourists, etc.
The independence is celebrated at the Independence Stadium in front of the president. Sometimes it becomes a regional celebration where every region celebrates independence in their area at a suitable location. Regional leaders from all 6 divisions of the nation are representing the president.
It starts with the opening speech from the chairperson, followed by a parade by Police, Military Army, Immigration, and then the president marches together with the police band. The national scout band leads the public through the march pass. The march includes all institutions officially attending the celebration. From educational, vocational, and traditional. Cultural dance, masquerades, and traditional display are always a part of the ceremony. Sometimes you can witness skilled displays by other institutions such as karate and kung fu clubs.
After the parade, the crowd sings the national anthem, followed by the African United Song (AU Song) led by the bands. The celebration ends with the president’s speech and other itineraries.
In the evening, you can go to musical concerts, fashion shows, movie nights, and other events to celebrate together in Senegambia.
The next day becomes a public holiday for the whole nation, where everyone stays home with their family.