Mr. Minister of Culture and Communication,
Mr. Governor of Thiès Region,
Mr. President of the Regional Council,
Mr. Prefect of Thiès Department,
Mr. Mayor of Thiès,
Mr. Military Zone Commander (or Ladies and Gentlemen representing the Security Authorities and Defense),
Representatives of the Serere None [s-é-r-è-r-n-ô-n] community,
Ladies and Gentlemen representing the customary and religious local authorities,
Mr. Director of the Museum of Thiès,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Almost two and a half years ago, my predecessor, Ambassador Lukens joined some of you here to launch work on this wonderful project to preserve the rich culture of the Serere None community. I am very proud to join you today to mark the completion of this project.
The Serere None community consists of around 10,000 people, all of whom live in the Thiès area. The None language and musical traditions were on the brink of being lost forever. But, as we see from this wonderful performance today that, those traditions are alive and well.
I would like to thank the performers and the representatives of the Serere None community for their dedication and passion for sharing their culture with the wider community. Now, thanks to the hard work of our partners, we have a digital audio and video archive of these traditions for the enjoyment of the broader public and for researchers. More importantly, some of the community elders trained the next generation of musicians on how to make their traditional instruments.
By passing along these skills, the music comes to life, and becomes a source of income and pride for the next generation of Serere None artists.