Bureng (Koosee) Cultural Festival

Bureng (Koosee) Cultural Festival

The Bureng (Koosee) Cultural Festival is an annual event held in March (mid) by the Bureng Cultural Society. The festival aims to preserve traditional cultural practices of the Mandinka people. It takes place after harvests when food is abundant, and people have plenty of time to relax before the rainy season sets in, and the fields demand a return to work.

The festival features traditional dances, music, and storytelling, as well as local cuisine and crafts. The Mandinka people, who are predominantly agriculturalists, use this occasion to celebrate and share their cultural heritage with visitors.

The festival provides a platform for the community to come together, promote unity, and showcase their cultural heritage. It also serves as an opportunity to educate the younger generation on the importance of preserving their cultural practices.

Overall, the Bureng (Koosee) Cultural Festival is an excellent opportunity for visitors to experience the rich culture and traditions of the Mandinka people in The Gambia.


Festival is a relatively new festival, first held in March 2015. The festival was created by the Bureng Cultural Society, a group of young people from the village of Bureng in The Gambia who were concerned about the loss of traditional cultural practices in their community. The festival aims to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the Mandinka people, who make up the majority of the population in Bureng and the surrounding areas. Since its inception, the festival has grown in popularity and attracts visitors from across The Gambia and beyond.

Where is it, how to get there, what to do there, what can you learn?

Festival takes place in Bureng, a town located in the Upper River Region of The Gambia. To get there, one can take a taxi or hire a private car from Banjul or any other major town. It is recommended to plan ahead and make arrangements with a trusted local tour operator for safe and reliable transportation.

At the festival, visitors can experience the rich culture and traditions of the Mandinka people, who make up a significant portion of the population in the region. The festival is a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and is marked by traditional dances, music, food, and crafts.

Visitors can witness traditional drumming, participate in dancing, sample local cuisine, and purchase handmade crafts from local artisans. The festival also provides an opportunity to learn about the history and customs of the Mandinka people, including their beliefs, social structures, and traditional healing practices.

Overall, the Bureng Cultural Festival offers a unique and immersive cultural experience for visitors to The Gambia, allowing them to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

History of Mandinka people

The Mandinka people, also known as the Mandingo or Malinke, are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa, with a population of over 11 million. They are primarily found in Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau.

The history of the Mandinka people can be traced back to the 13th century, when they emerged as a distinct ethnic group in the region of the upper Niger River valley in West Africa. They were part of the larger Mande people who inhabited the region, and they developed a complex society with a sophisticated system of government, agriculture, and trade.

The Mandinka Empire, also known as the Mali Empire, was one of the most powerful empires in West Africa during the 13th and 14th centuries. It was founded by Sundiata Keita, a legendary warrior king who united the Mandinka people and created a powerful empire that controlled much of West Africa.

Under the Mandinka Empire, the region became a center of trade, with gold, salt, and other commodities exchanged for goods from North Africa and the Mediterranean. The Mandinka people also developed a rich culture, with music, dance, and art playing an important role in their society.

Today, the Mandinka people continue to maintain their cultural traditions, with music, dance, and storytelling remaining an important part of their culture. They also continue to face challenges, such as poverty, political instability, and conflicts with other ethnic groups, but they remain resilient and proud of their heritage.