‘If you yams white’ – Kabala Agro-cultural fair

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There is a Krio proverb about modesty that translates literally to: “if your yams are white (i.e. of high quality), you should cover them.” 


Not true at the agricultural trade-fair in Yogomaia, Kabala. The three day event – from December 1st to the 3rd – featured the biggest and best in agricultural produce and husbandry from all across Koinadugu district. 


Farmers hailing from every chiefdom in the district presented has their goods on display. Each farmer had a separate, labeled booth, proudly displaying their yams, rice, peppers, squash, turkeys, and cows. 


Alongside the farmers, NGOs operating in Koinadugu set up booths to provide information about locally based programs, and local vendors served up fish balls, pepper soup, roast cassava, ripe fruits and other West African fare.

   True to its name, the Agro-Cultural fair included foot-stomping displays of local culture, with dancing  devils, drumming, gymnastics, juggling and pageantry of all sorts. Every chiefdom was given a chance to put its best cultural performers on the center-stage near the grandstand. On the final day of the fair, celebrating lasted well into the night, as young people crowded together to dance and mingle in the moonlit fairground.

The fair which was discontinued during the war returned to Kabala in 2010. Now in its second year, the fair drew thousands of people from all over the district. They spread over the Kabala fairground making the event a huge success. The opening ceremony took place on the second day of the festival, featuring a full military parade, a procession of the paramount chiefs, and a keynote address by President Ernest Bai Koroma.


Photos and Reporting: Jonathan Forney

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