Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

CARE FOR WOMEN ORGANISE A LUNCH ON SALE

April 16, 2014

Reads :317
Sarata Jabbi- LUNCH ORGANIZER

Kibaaro’s Sarata Jabbi Dibba is among the organisers 

Care for Women and Girls Gambian diaspora organisation based in Birmingham is organising an Easter Luncheon Sale at the Birmingham, Newtown Community Hall,  B19 2SW, on 19th April 2014 from 12:30pm to 18:00pm

The aim of the event is to raise funds that would be used to sponsor some upcoming activities, like advocacy and leadership training for the Gambian community in Birmingham. As well as to sensitise Gambian women about how to protect and support women and girls that are subjected to, or at risk of, harmful traditional practices with particular focus on Female Genital Mutilation and gender-based violence among mostly African communities.

 For these reasons, the organisation invites all Gambians in the United Kingdom and those in the Diaspora, who can attend the event to join them in gracing the occasion.

“Come join and support us on this great day of ours, it’s going to be a fabulous day as there will be lots of Gambian dishes all at reasonable prices. Don’t to miss it!” states their press release.

ABOLISH TRIBES AND TRIBALISM: A CHALLENGE OF OUR HISTORY

April 10, 2014

Reads :259

 

 

Ousainou Mbenga - Democratic Union of Gambian Activist

Ousainou Mbenga – Democratic Union of Gambian Activist

“Goam bunyudul lal du werr muk” – An untreated wound will never heal!

By: Ousainou Mbenga

In my humble view, the treatment must begin from a historical analysis of how this wound was inflicted on us in order to establish the appropriate treatment and safe subsequent generations from living with this “political blind spot” of tribe and tribalism.

As the pressure of the resistance against the AFPRC –APRC mounts, with Jammeh’s back unquestionably against the wall, it is most disheartening to see the resurgence of the monstrous head of “tribalism”, quietly condoned by the crippled spent –force politicians but aggressively championed online by the new gang of “aspiring predatory politicians” – predominantly pseudo – intellectuals, who have nothing to offer us, but to drag us into the swamps of ignorance. After five decades of “independence” with nothing to show for; the general saying in the Gambia is that: “karanlal leh yeh nying banko teenya” –“the intellectuals destroyed this country”. In alliance with the impotent elite, this tribe driven “paper tigers” have always undermined our national collective efforts for their own narrow selfish interests.

The down trodden masses of our beloved Gambia are aware of this game and history of tribal politics. If the truth be told; no so-called tribe is doing well in that hell-hole of a country – Gambia. The vast majority of our people have always caught hell, never mind your blind tribal affiliation. We must resist this calculated opportunism equally as we resist Jammeh’s tyranny.

Contrary to world view, the abolition of slavery was not out of the goodness of the white abolitionists – the “white man’s burden” – rather this savage and barbaric attack on Africa was no longer tenable for Europe, America and all their beneficiaries the world over. Persistently down played in the “conqueror’s narrative”, the frequent and massive slave rebellions along the Atlantic, in the “Americas” and the Caribbean had become costly in lives and resources.  We need to coin a word to describe that barbaric assault on Africa and African people. A “holocaust” is unfitting.

The great Cheikh Anta Diop wrote that “slavery re- tribalized Africa”. That foul social system mischaracterized as the “slave trade”; a “trade” in which  Africa never received anything in return as expected in “trading”; rather it was the starting point of our unhappiness as an African people and the emergence and development of what we now know as Europe and all her off springs.

From Amilcar Cabral’s point of view, he argues that “the material basis for the “tribal” system no longer existed in Africa”. So, why is “tribe” still lingering in our consciousness? Cabral further argued that its “superstructure” was supported by colonialism. The historical facts point to colonialism as the primary source for the continuing survival of “tribes” into the present day neocolonial era. Because the “slave trade” wounded Africa the most, we became the most vulnerable society to succumb to tribal divisions.

After dismembering Africa and African people from each other and our resources; we were relegated to TRIBES, never to remember our communal and peaceful existence prior to the encounter with the “warring tribes” of what became Europe and the roving Arab warriors. Again, Diop questioned, was this “Civilization or barbarism? A people dismembered, without economic power, ultimately resort to “tribal politics”, the wrong solution to our economic powerlessness.

During the grandeur of Khemet (Egypt) and its subsequent off springs, Ghana, Mali and Songhai  empires, our social consciousness was so advanced that the practices of “tribalism” had no breeding ground to survive, more over to wreak havoc.

It is on this basis of our historic resistance against slavery that we should vigorously resist and overturn our untenable affiliations with tribes and the practices of “tribalism”. Just as slavery eroded our sense of sameness as one people; so does tribes and tribalism continue to hinder all our efforts to build an African nation, the only guarantee to our prosperity.  Tribes and tribalism has never done us any good and never will but continue to insult our collective – national intelligence.

First, tribe and tribalism makes no biological sense; it is not a genetic expression as in blood type, but a social creation that is held hostage in the “lower brain” via language (a medium of communication) to organize communities and effectively serve the needs of the people. Once released from the lower brain, “tribalism” will wither away and give way to a more revolutionary nation that will champion our collective interest as Africans.

We made up all these backward beliefs of “tribes”, hence the practice of tribalism we continue to hold on to blindly. Brothers and sisters, it’s a make –belief world of “tribes”. And we can unmake, abolish and eradicate these beliefs and realize our true commonality as an African people. Once we attain the social consciousness above TRIBES, only then can we create a viable economic base and wield political power for generations to come. To anchor this point, we all know that the issue of tribes and tribalism reach their most inflammatory point during ELECTIONS, the most violent period in Africa and other oppressed countries. Why is that? Our unscrupulous politicians of all stripes in alliance with our pseudo- intellectuals will never attempt to solve our problems outside of the sham elections that give the illusions of participating in the process for a life worthy of living.

Can any “tribalist” explain how he or she became a Wollof, Mandinka, Kikuyu, Yoruba or Bamileke other than speaking the language associated with the “tribe”? Language should be the basis of our relationship not tribe and tribalism.

Secondly, tribalism makes no philosophical sense because it betrays the rational principles of humans’ ability to rise above ignorance; the basis for the senseless violence manifested in “tribal conflicts”. Lastly, tribalism only seems to make “political sense” because of its potential exploits by the predatory politicians who subsist on “tribal” ignorance to maintain the status quo for their narrow selfish interests. Those who have nothing to offer us, always resort to mean – spirited ignorance to sabotage reasoning.

If tribe is a common occurrence in human societies, why is it extinct in some societies, particularly European societies but continues to wreak havoc in enslaved and oppressed countries, particularly in Africa? Slavery united all of Europe and the United States of America for the rape, plunder and pillage against Africa and consequently dismembered Africa into  non -  viable “tribalist nations”.  Therefore, our freedom and liberation will never come to fruition when we continue to speak in tribal interests as oppose to our national interests.

Only a thinking nation can see the benefits of unity and the eradication of the senseless imagined “tribal superiority or inferiority”. These attitudes must be confronted whenever and wherever they surface.

All keen observers must by now see the collective inroads we are making in the struggle to uproot the Jammeh regime and its neocolonial infrastructure. Therefore, we who are clear on what is to be done must never sweep anything under the rug; rather we should come up with solutions in preparation for a post Jammeh society. We must create the conditions to heighten our social, political and economic consciousness. Yes, the struggle continues but against what?

Let’s uproot all divisive behaviors in our midst. This is our own internal battle; we must defeat this enemy in order to win the final battle.  The roles have changed, Yaya is now on the defensive and our forces of victory are on the offensive. We must seize the time!

Lastly, we must put into practice Cabral’s prophetic teaching that, the African intellectual must “commit class suicide” to genuinely join the masses in transforming our society for prosperity. Likewise, there must be a campaign to “commit tribe suicide” in the interest of national unity and a return to the SOURCE of our commonality. The cultural unity of black Africa has been established on irrefutable historical facts. And Cheikh Anta Diop, again notes that three factors make up the collective personality of a people: historical factor, linguistic factor and psychological factor. He said the historic factor is the cultural cement which unites the disparate elements of a people to make a whole. Slavery disrupted our historical continuity and relegated us to a population of tribes.  Our quest is to seek the “unifying elements of our languages” not the divisive elements of TRIBES and tribalism.

Long Live SeneGambia! One Africa! One Nation!

GAMBIAN IMAM DENIES FGM IN THE COUNTRY

April 3, 2014

Reads :2246
Imam Fatty of State House

Imam Fatty of State House

The State House imam, Alhaji Abdoulie Fatty, has declared that “there is no FGM in The Gambia” while accusing anti-FGM campaigners of spreading fallacies about what he described as an “Islamic practice”…

“I have lived in Bakoteh for many years and I have never heard of anyone, who died as a result of female genital mutilation (FGM). All the campaigners are saying is repetition of what other people told them. For us, we are here for the articulation of the truth. Let them bring something that can convince us because we know that the pictures and the things they say do not emanate from them but from outsiders far away from The Gambia. FGM does not exist in The Gambia. What we have here is female circumcision. If you know what FGM means, you know that we do not practice that here. We do not mutilate our children.

“The crux of the matter is, they should not portray us as practitioners of a thing that we do not practice. Given we do not have FGM here, why are they campaigning against it. If they are campaigning against FGM, let them go to places that practice it but not to us because we do not practice that here. What we have here is circumcision and that is our religion. We do not mutilate our people. FGM is part of our religion. When it comes to FGM, Islam found us practising it. Prophet Muhammad found the people of Medina practising it and Allah commanded him to follow the path of Prophet Ibrahim of which FGM is one that he advised. Prophet Muhammad also advised people how to do it in a good way hence it became part of our religious practice.”

Challenged to cite any benefits of the practice that prompted him to put up such spirited defence of it, the strident cleric, who studied in Saudi Arabia, continued:  “The prophet, Muhammad said we should practice circumcision but with moderation so that we leave a smile on her face and therein lies reward for the husband. If a woman doesn’t undergo the practice, in the majority of circumstances, they have greater sexual appetite than the husband and this can lead them to have contempt for the man if he falls short in satisfying her appetite. Or it can put on the husband a duty so onerous it could result in hardship for him. But if they are circumcised, balance can be achieved; the husband will not incur hardship and so too the wife. It also contributes to cleanliness. Circumcision makes you cleaner. But this does not mean if a woman has not undergone the practice, her prayers, fasting or pilgrimage will not be accepted. They will be accepted as long as they keep clean. It is easier for a circumcised woman to keep clean than the uncircumcised one.

“The late Dr Jack Faal, may Allah grant him mercy, said that all the negative things being said about FGM is rubbish. That it leads to bleeding is without scientific basis and evidence. He said that the blood that comes in the process is just a trickle. It is just like when a finger is wounded the blood trickles but does not lead to profuse bleeding. He said there is no cutting of muscle involved nor bones. What is done is just to cut a small bit of skin; so small and it heals fast. The allegations of anti-FGM campaigners that it causes bleeding that can lead to death has been rebutted by Dr Jack Faal. In fact, Dr Jack Faal said those who did not undergo the procedure suffer more during labour than those who underwent it”

Culled from Standard News Gambia.

OBITUARY ANNOUNCEMENT

March 17, 2014

Reads :2220
LATE PA ISMAILA CHONGAN

LATE PA ISMAILA CHONGAN

Mr CHONGAN, A FORMER POLICE CHIEF

EBRIMA CHONGAN, FORMER POLICE CHIEF OF THE GAMBIA

INNA LILLAH WA INNA ILAIHI RAGIOUN

The death of Pa Ismaila Chongan, the father of Retired Lt. Col. Ebrima Chongan, former chief of the Gambia National Gendarmerie and Gambia Police Force, has been announced today, 17 March 2014.

Late Pa Ismaila Chongan died in the early hours of this morning, after a brief illness. Pa Ismaila was a great personality, who served in the Gambia security services with dedication since colonial era until his retirement in the first republic.

He also encouraged his children to dedicate their service to the Gambia and her people.

It was due to his strict principles of nationalism that led his son to join the Gambian security service and also the one of the few serving security officers who refused to surrender to rebel army, who overthrew the democratically elected government of former Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara on July 22nd 1994 and ushered in the dictatorship of President Yahya Jammeh.

It was a price his son paid dearly, after he was later overpowered and imprisoned for many years, but his bravery made him a national hero for dedicating his service to his nation, as advised by his father, now late Pa Ismaila Chogan.

Pa Ismaila Chogan will be forever missed. May his blessed soul rest in perfect peace.

A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT TEACHER

March 8, 2014

Reads :1993

The Late Mr Tamba Fofana

The Late Mr Tamba Fofana

BY MUSA MANNEH

MR. TAMBA FOFANA: THE MAN I CALL MY FIRST PROFESSOR AND THE BEACON OF MY EDUCATION: A TRIBUTE TO A GREAT TEACHER

“Good teachers impart good education. Great teachers groom their students to become leaders. Ordinary teachers direct us along the right path, but great teachers inspire us to seek our own path. They encourage us to discover our talents.”  (Quoted)

Tamba spent his entire life in public service, imparting knowledge to thousands of students over the years within the length and breadth of the Gambia. He not only succeeded in instilling information into the brains of the students under his tutelage, his calling was a far greater chore. He considered it a noble undertaking and a duty of citizenship to transform his students into good citizens for goodwill of society. “(Quoted)

The first letter of his name, Tamba, resonates “TEACHER”. Is this a coincidence or the Almighty God sent us a great and natural teacher in the person of Mr. Tamba Fofana? Whatever the answer may be, we all know that Mr. Tamba Fofana was a great teacher with enviable virtues.

Today, I pay tribute to a man I call my first professor, Mr. Tamba Fofana, who is the beacon of my education. It is an appreciation for a teacher who made a lasting impression in the classroom and had a positive influence on Bansangkas, Gambians and his students all over the world.

This world is full of people whose paths we cross often in our day-to-day interactions. Most we forget as we move on; few we faintly remember and there are a handful we vividly remember… in fact we never forget them. These are people who live their lives like it should be lived … simple, selfless and for others! Mr. Tamba Fofana was indeed such an exemplary person. He was more than a teacher to me. He was a dedicated teacher (a rarity these days) who instilled a belief in each of his students. He always encouraged us to do well and achieve more in life.

It was really astonishing to see a person who taught only out of pure love for teaching. It is no wonder that students even after leaving the school, kept in touch with him even 10 years after school because that was how he was … a great human being and guidance!! If you’ve ever had a teacher who took his time to care, inspire your dreams and change your life for the better, then, you know that great teacher can make a big difference. Mr. Fofana gave us hope, direction, and new ideas. He challenged us and shaped the way we see the world forever.

I would never forget the way he believed in our abilities when we were not doing well in school and were afraid to sit for the Common Entrance Examination. He trusted us even when we and our parents had no hope in us.

But it won’t be the same any longer … since long time Mr. Tamba Fofana lost the battle from an illness; and today March 8th 2014 marks the day he passed away three years ago! He will be dearly missed not only as a great teacher but also as a person who lived selflessly… May his soul rest in peace!

When I graduated from Bansang Primary School, he became and remained a friend of mine until his untimely death in March of 2011. Shortly after his death, many of his students said a lot of good things about him. Many of us who studied under Mr. Tamba Fofana, there must be many besides myself, in whose lives he became an abiding presence; and who found in him not alone an incomparable teacher, an enduring challenge to mediocrity and complacency, but also a lifelong friend. He made it impossible for us to do anything less than our best for the world of which he made us feel so much a part.

There were great teachers at Bansang Primary School. I know some of them, and I’m sure each of you do; too. There were those who devoted their major energies to helping us make intellectual discoveries, to sharpen our mental equipment and to discover ourselves. It will be these teachers whom we will remember because they influenced what we do with our lives today. I think we will find that they are the enduring legacy of our years at Bansang Primary School and other institutions of higher education. This is the reason why I call Mr. Tamba Fofana my first professor because he prepared many of us for higher education.

I hope that you, as alumni of Bansang Primary School and former students of Mr. Tamba Fofana, Head Master, will help us to see to it that Tamba’s legacy and primary educational purpose is preserved, protected and strengthened for the future when it will be as much needed as it is now.

I have been tremendously blessed by a number of teachers in my life. As I mentioned in my previous tribute, my Primary School teacher, Mr. Tamba Fofana, was one of the best. Our Great Teacher stands for:

T is for Trusting: Tamba was patient, kind and I trusted him. He was the first teacher who ever recognized that I had something special and the potential to succeed. Tamba guided me through all my schooling in Bansang and Armitage High School. I will always treasure his kind words and his encouragement as I struggled with my life.

E is for Enthusiastic: Tamba was amazingly talented, as he could teacher any subject in the classroom. He was well-rounded teacher; he taught every course, believe it or not. He was very enthusiastic about all our learning.

A is for Amazing: Tamba was amazing to me in that, regardless of my shortcomings, he stood firmly behind me during the times of disappointments and struggles. He was never tired of me; Tamba always kept his cool. He was a true mentor and beloved by all.

C is for Charisma: You know those people who appear in your life and — no matter what they say or do — everyone loves them? That was Tamba, my professor. Tamba was brilliant and beloved by many for his firm, fair and consistent manner. He is charismatic and could keep you engaged for hours as he shared his teaching adventures. His genuine caring for his students, teachers, parents and school community won the hearts of many.

H is for Hope: Tamba always kept his cool; calmed us down when we get agitated and was a constant source of hope for us. He never wavered in his encouragement to us no matter what the situation might be. I will always remember him for his patience with us, and for his kind acceptance of all our diverse opinions. He taught us about democracy and freedom of speech. That was Mr. Tamba Fofana, the democrat.

E is for Extraordinary: Tamba passed away, but he left a legacy of extraordinary brilliance. I will always be in awe of his teaching and passionate spirit, and grateful for his firm belief in our abilities.

R is for Resonate: Tamba’s manner of teaching subjects and his message of hope always resonated his students. As a physically handicapped person (Tamba used a woodened bar “stick” to support his movements), Tamba was 100% convinced that, through the power of education, people could rise above any challenges, poverty and achieve their dreams. I will be forever grateful to him for his steadfast commitment to living a life filled with seeking his passion and teaching me to do the same.

Mr. Tamba Fofana gave his students both wealth and education (learning); this wealth and education continue to increase, help and support humanity, as our great teacher Mr. Tamba Fofana was a great human being. Tamba was not a politician; he was a scholar who taught us academic freedom and freedom of speech. As one of his former students, my first notion about democracy in its true nature came from him. Tamba was a true democrat and undeniable patriotic citizen of The Gambia. Tamba died for the ideals he believed in. Rest in Perfect Peace Mr. Professor Tamba Fofana.

I leave you with this African proverb:

“Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases”. ~Swahili Proverb

OUR FIRST PROFESSOR AND TEACHER, MR. TAMBA FOFANA, WE SAY YOUR LEGACY REMAINS FOREVER

 MUSA MANNEH

GAMBIA RECEIVES UK GRANT TO AUGMENT HER MESEUM

March 6, 2014

Reads :1610
Dictator Jammeh gasping for British handouts

Dictator Jammeh gasping for British handouts

Prime Minister Cameron

Prime Minister Cameron

Gambia has secured a grant amounting £16,000 from the British Library in London for Gambian National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) to improve its record keeping programmes for coming generations.

The grant is under its ‘British Library Endangered Archives Programme’ to help digitalize the NCAC’s oral history archives of over 5,000 recordings. Its objective is to help the Gambia obtains the necessary equipment for preservation and providing training in how to digitalize these important recordings.

“The recordings which were made between 1960s – 1980s cover topics including the empire of Kaabu (a powerful federated Kingdom that includes present day The Gambia, Casamance and Guinea Bissau from the late 13th to mid-19th centuries) and the relationships between the various ethnic groups dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries”, the Acting British High Commissioner to the Gambia, Mr Sheriff, told audience at the NCAC on Wednesday evening.  “These recordings are one of the most extensive in the Western African region and have added importance given that the oral history archive of Guinea Bissau was lost during their 1998 civil war. I congratulate the NCAC on receiving this grant and am pleased to hear that these important oral archives of the West African region will be preserved for generations to come”, the British Diplomat added.

Director General at the Gambian National Centre for Arts and Culture, Baba Ceesay who disclosed that the recordings are on reel and cassette tapes with the equipment to play the recordings becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain said: “the gesture is most welcome and stands to not only preserve this invaluable collection but will also strengthen the NCAC’s nomination for the UNESCO Memory of the World Register; a programme designed to increase awareness of the existence and significance of important documentary heritage worldwide. This is a prestigious recognition for documentary heritage with outstanding universal value”.

The grant of over £16,000 will help the NCAC staff receive training in digitalization techniques, the creation of catalogues, storage, archiving and the accessing of the data produced. The digitalization project will take approximately 3 years to complete.  The British Library grant has been complimented with another grant from ‘Music Development and Heritage Sweden’.

PLEASE STOP THE GAY DEBATE!

March 3, 2014

Reads :2250

Discuss Solving Hunger, Ill-Governance, Poverty…

Ok guys Gambiano wants us to talk about far more important issues than homosexuality.

Ok guys! Gambiano wants us to talk about important issues and not homosexuality.

By Gambiano

When you happily sport your new pair of shoes in the Streets of Serrekunda, Brikama, Basse, etc., only to painfully wash off the dust or mud it courts, is it the gay topic that charges at your thoughts that moment? When your cute, darling little girl emaciates on her RVTH bed, clearly waiting for her appointment with infant mortality, is it the gay discourse that charges at your thoughts that moment? When you seriously understand that, perhaps, malnutrition has been patronizing that child’s poor health, charioting her to a young grave, is it the gay discourse that charges at your thoughts that hour?

When you, with healthy eyes and intelligent reasoning tour the Serrekunda Market and interact with that local woman spreading a thin layer of fabric upon which lie symmetrical rows of fish, vegetables, palm oil, etc., all under the disrespect of the scorching heat and sad subsistence, is it the gay topic that invades your thoughts that instance? And when that woman, whose Bakary or Lamin disappeared at Jammeh’s instructions directly or indirectly, tells you that she barely makes $10 for all that patience in the sun with flies, shouts, and sometimes quarrels, is it the gay topic that sprints to your mind that moment?

When you visit a village as close to Banjul as is Kiti in the Western Division and see a pregnant woman in labor groaning not amidst the sirens of an ambulance, but the gallops of a donkey with visible ribs and wounds, yet unleashing its ATP to pull that cart while you wonder whether your eyes are moist for the thin donkey, the bare-footed hungry child driving it, or the laboring woman—is it the gay topic that comes to mind that minute?

Or when you decide to bask in the fresh breeze and sunny weather only to sadden your sight with a funeral procession of two different coffins in Latrikunda—coffins on shoulders of wailing youths for two corporeal frames who died young of malaria or some curable homeostatic imbalance that could have been reduced to a joke with a Birmingham or Chicago diagnosis; is it the gay topic that rushes to your senses that moment?

O ye that acquire pompous academics and desirous of vainglory, exult not at that which only arms you with words, and not the action that kills poverty or brings forth economic solvency. Be mindful of credentials that erect not abodes of comfort, but shrines of sententious bickering. And ye with chaste knowledge, yet with demeanor wisely carried, please espouse that which engenders topics of change—a change that solves our muddy or dusty streets, a growth that transforms that bare-footed young donkey-driver’s cart into a 21st Century ambulance of choice, an accretion that reaches the tri-stone primeval kitchen stove as to replace it with a modern cooker for our well-craved ‘Benechin’, tender-beef ‘Domoda, or ‘Palaasas’ of glee.

And when you jet back to Washington, shed all feathers of ephemeral poverty at the end of the holiday and start eating meals of choice, dishes of customizable hours at your call, and feel dwellings both electric and electronically-savvy—don’t you entertain the prospects of a close, if not perfectly similar, boon of providence for The Gambia? I bet you do—unless if you have five heads with horns!

On Gambia’s national scale of preference, the gay topic is too caudal to our more serious indices. Even if Jammeh leaves tonight, we still have a long way to go—and more “Miles to go before (we) sleep….And miles to go before (we) sleep” (Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening). Jammeh knows very well the gay topic is far from Gambia’s priorities. But let’s not use his adamantine propensity as a stage to settle personal scores.

DIDA HALAKI

Dida, wollaahi I admire your wont. I wish I can learn under your resourceful tuition. But my liege, Gambia cries for questions the answers to which will pique prosperity’s gaze. And of all such questions, the gay topic can seldom be paramount when a can of milk costs D18 in 2013 when it was D5 in 2002. I’ll let you handle that CPI basket!

Each time I see your contributions to or about Gambia, it fuels my patriotism. Only a denier will argue that you don’t like Gambia or living there. And only those who don’t understand western civilization from Paleolithic ages to present will bite the bait colleges and universities strategically put out. But please let our scribe’s direct pens to perennial issues.

You’ve lived in Gambia before I even knew two-plus-two! Doesn’t Africa’s poverty, contrasted with Wall Street’s affluence make you think, “Well, if we can’t invent marvels and sway the globe, at least we should chase away hunger or solve Nawec’s power-cuts”? As I type these, someone in Brikama is sleeping without power—and certainly, another without dinner in Barra! And yet, we want to spend precious time on gay-marriages?

KALIL

I wish I can set my back against a tree and savor the syntax you commend your sentences to. Like Dida, your language plays a rare music no reverence inspired from academia can fully do justice to. But Gambia weeps for your therapy—one that guarantees a proud economy; one that corners qualitative malnutrition to harmless bearing and ill-governance to history’s janitors. See, Western interlocutors use the gay topic for political escapism.

They can’t look into the eyes of their electorates and tell them how banks fetter them with credit card debt without losing the next election. At the expense of such issues seminal to a happier citizenry, they insert well-calculated trivia to keep the masses away from thinking, let alone asking serious questions. Let not Yahya Jammeh do the same to us!

I beg, with fervor, your kind considerations to halt this conversation Gambia hardly needs. Our people are vanishing, dying, or taking turns at Mile II. If you see Dida as a Jammeh votary, you’ll be more inspired to settle scores with him. But if you refuse falling into that trap irrespective of whims or perceptions, you’ll forget this and think of how to change Gambia.

PRESS: What’s your take on gay marriages?

STUPID AFRICAN: Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

INTELLIGENT AFRICAN: Ask or help me solve hunger first! I want to spend my precious time on things seriously troubling my brethren. When those are fixed, then ask me about gays and lesbians!

Gambiano821@gmail.com

IS KANILAI THE NEW GAMBIAN REDLIGHT DISTRICT?

March 2, 2014

Reads :1724
Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

Babucarr Darboe, A political Activist.

By Babucarr Darboe

Africa is noted for marking each occasion with a fanfare of musical and traditional jamboree. Suffice it to say, each music or dance celebrate and showcase it cultural uniqueness and way of life. The Gambia is no exception to such carnivals. However, what distinguishes her from the rest of other African countries is how her despot President has overhauled this long standing tradition into gratifying his insatiable sexual gratification. Kanilai has now been transformed into an open brothel by President Jammeh where free sex is the order of the day. Every week, a galaxy of both government and private vehicles head to Kanilai transporting men and women of all ages to nurse their sexual urges. Sadly, most of these men and women who converged in Kanilai weekend in and weekend out are married with siblings.

It is reported that there was a woman who complained that her husband refused her permission to go Kanilai and when the perpetual adulterer Jammeh heard of it went fuming like a wounded lion. He said at the national television “if any woman’s husband refused you to come to Kanilai come and tell me. I will dissolve your marriage with him and give you another husband.” If President Jammeh could stoop so low on a national television and say such a disgraceful gaff, he can even sleep with a dog.  I was left wondering how he would have felt knowing Zainab was giving free sex to his bodyguards at the State house. The Wolof said “Ku warr mbame jaburr nyu warr sa mbam”; which literally translate if you ride someone’s donkey, another will ride yours.

In all honesty, Kanilai is sex city in which President Jammeh and his military boys exploit Gambian and Senegalese women from Cassamance. Many of them are innocently and unwillingly caught in the carefully calculated web of women exploitation. For instance, a young chaste school girl who joined the euphoria of going to Kanilai for enjoying the musical jamboree found herself forcefully pinned on a bed while a soldier defiled her. The painful experience left this young innocent girl beating and blaming herself for what her rapist did to her. Imagine how many young girls and women have to endure such heinous experience in Kanilai under the patronage of President Jammeh? Some may argue that some of the women going through this rampant sexual exploitation have themselves to be blamed. Even for argument sake we agree that some of these women own a share of the blame, the fact still remain that President Jammeh has caste the bait to lure these women into his net of sex cartel. It does not require one to be a rocket scientist to add up the reasons how these women found themselves caught up in this web of sexual exploitation in Kanilai.

First and foremost, most Gambians are now barely struggling to have a decent meal a day. Giving that fact, it will only make sense that most of these women who find themselves in Kanilai are there to feed themselves. Jammeh lavishes buffets each weekend to attract many of the people converging at Kanilai. Others are there to get as much money as they can which President throws at the crowd. Certainly, it would be absurd to assert that such women are in Kanilai to offer themselves for sex.

Secondly, others are there to show their political allegiance to Jammeh. Even though their purpose of visit is purely political, they end up finding themselves warming strange men’s beds in Kanilai. Once they get caught up, most of them find it hard to free themselves from such exploitation. They are intimidated and blackmailed to continue offering their bodies for free

As a consequent, many household have been disintegrated and broken through this free and open sex in Kanilai. President Jammeh is the brain and patron of this chilling sexual exploitation of Gambian women and girls. Couple with his political and economic crimes, Jammeh should also be held responsible for the physical and sexual exploitation of Gambian women and girls.

Babucarr Darboe

Chelmsford, Essex, UK

WULARAMANG COMMUNITY NOMINATES JALIBA KUYATEH

March 2, 2014

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The King of Kora joins Wularamang Community

The King of Kora, Jaliba Kuyateh joins the Wularamang Kachaa Community as an ambassador 

Jaliba's mentor Kebba Landing Sonko the Kumandang of Wularamang community

Jaliba’s mentor & Wularamang Kumandang – Kebba Landing Sonko 

 

The community that brings the popular radio program on Kibaaro Radio called the Wularamang Kachaa (the evening chatshow) at the Bantabato (common place of meeting) have nominated Gambian Kora maestro Jaliba Kuyateh as their African Ambassador.

Jaliba Kuyateh, who appeared on the program as a guest on Wednesday 26 February 2014, aroused much nostalgia from the community members, who were very excited to have the King of Kora (King of the 21 string – a local Mandinka traditional instrument.) on the program.  The emotionally overwhelmed Mr Kuyateh, shared his gratitude and appreciation to the community for inviting him to the bantabato, where discussions are centred on tradition and customary issues, as well as exploring and sharing knowledge about the local languages.

The Wularamang Community, which Kibaaro News assist in broadcasting their Bantabato Kachaa through the Kibaaro Radio, owns the program, according to the Kibaaro News General Manager, Bamba Serigne Mass. Therefore he asserted that the community members have no affiliation with Kibaaro News’ editorial contents and contents of the radio’s other programs.

The Kibaaro Radio Manager Pa Modou Bojang, who also presents the program on Kibaaro Radio explained that the Wularamang community is a virtual replicate of a typical Gambian community. It has an Alkalo (village chief), Imam (religious leader), Seyfo (District Chief) and a Kumandango (Divisional Commissioner). He said the community also has a professor and ambassadors, which Jaliba is now one of.

On his part, the coordinator of the Community, Mr Lamin Jassey emphasized the importance of the Wularamang Katchaa program to Gambians in the diaspora. He explained that the program is an educative program, which explores, inform, educate and preserve the fading Gambian cultures, customs and traditions. He explained that the program will benefit “our children a lot, especially those of us, who have children in the diaspora”. He reiterates the importance of excluding politics and religion from the program, in order to attract, encourage and benefit all.

He explained the importance of having Jaliba Kuyateh as an ambassador for the program. He explained that all that Jaliba Kuyateh had been doing over the years is to enhance our traditions and cultures through his music. “Therefore having him as an ambassador to the program is a huge bonus for the aims of the program, which is to enhance the flourishing of our traditions, customs and culture through communal discourse”. Mr Jassey further confirmed that Jaliba Kuyateh has accepted his nomination, “which is a brilliant news for the community”.

During his last appearance on the program, Jaliba expressed his joy and gratitude of being invited to the program, which has Kebba Landing Sonko, who thought him a lot when he was growing up, as its Kumandang. He further expressed his gratitude to the community for their initiative. He confirmed that, he left the profession of teaching in the early 1990s, in order to assist the enhancement of his traditions, customs and cultures to flourish, which he continues to strife for. He expressed his excitement that the program is aimed at the same goal.

Coordinator of the Wularamang Kachaa - Lamin Jassey

Coordinator of the Wularamang Kachaa – Lamin Jassey

The key members of the Wularamang community are: Mr Lamin Jassey, the coordinator, Mr Kebba Landing Sonko, the Kumandango of the Community; Mr Ebrima Darboe, the Seyfo of the Community, Imam Seedy Ali Janneh, the Imam of the community, Mr Pa Modou Bojang, as the Alkalo of the community, Solicitor Lamin L Darboe, practicing Lawyer in the United Kingdom, as the community legal adviser, Mr Lang Conteh, the Professor of the community, Mr Karamo Jammeh, Mandinka Language Expert, Mr Doudou Sanyang, Mr Ebrima O Ceesay and now Mr Jaliba Kuyateh as ambassadors of the program.

Jaliba Kuyateh is the son of Kebba Sunti Kuyateh (also a Kora player) and Bakoto Mbye. He began playing the 21-strings instrument in his early life at a tender age of five.

Although he showed talent on the instrument, he stopped playing after two years in order to commence his primary school education. He returned to playing the Kora in 1977, while he was at the Gambia College pursuing a Teachers Training course at the College.

After his graduation he was assigned to teach mathematics at Brikama Primary School. In 1979 he formed his traditional band called Jaliba & Group. The group soon attracted attention with songs like “Tesito Be Gambia ” and “Kaira Silo Mang jang fa” (the road to peace is never too long).

While he continued to play with his band, Kuyateh began working with the Gambia’s Ministry of Education, youth, sports, and culture in 1991.

Kuyateh’s love for music proved irresistible. Within a year, he voluntarily retired from his government job and turned his full-time attention to music. With only two members of his band agreeing to continue working with him, Kuyateh formed the Kumareh Band.

The group’s success came quickly. In addition to touring France in 1993 and Spain, Kuyateh & the Kumareh Band released their debut album, “Radio Kantang”, in 1993. The album sold more than 15,000 copies. Two albums, “Dajikah” and “Tissoli” (Sneeze), followed in 1994. Following the release of their fourth album, Hera “Banku”, in 1995, Kuyateh & the Kumareh Band toured the US releasing another album entitled “Live in America”.

In 1996, the album, “Gambia Third Day” was released. 1997 was a concert year for the band. They were engaged in chains of concerts and the next album entitled “Njai Kunda” came in 1998. On the 3rd of May, 1999, he released his 8th album entitled “Fankanta” into the music market.

In February 2002 he toured the US including the One World Theatre Austin, Texas. Other albums by Jaliba Kuyateh followed culminating in Sosolaso and Sabarla released in 2009.

On the 4th July 2007, Jaliba was awarded a certificate of recognition from the Brufut Marathon Run Association (BMRA) for his outstanding contribution in promoting Gambia culture through music Kora.

Religious Leaders Sensitised On FGM

February 28, 2014

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Gambian Religious Leaders meeting with Gamcotrap

Gambian Religious Leaders meeting with Gamcotrap

The global campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation “FGM” has been going on for three decades and it is all geared towards raising awareness about the harmful effects and practice on innocent girls and women.

In the Gambia despite all the conventions signed and policies in place to protect women and girl-children, the debate has been dominated by misconceptions about FGM and Religion, resulting to communities subjecting their children to FGM. However, over the years through awareness creation, 900 communities and 128 circumcisers have been empowered to protect girls from this harmful traditional practice which affects the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls as well as undermines the dignity of women. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a violation of human rights and a form of violence against women and girls.

The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) called on state parties to eliminate such a harmful traditional practices. The African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, explicitly calls on states to prohibit and condemn FGM through awareness creation and enacting of laws in order to eliminate the practice. The Gambia has ratified these treaties over the years, members of relevant ministries, parliamentarians and civil society actors have dedicated attention to discussions on measures to be undertaken to fulfil these obligations. “The advocacy and social mobilisation of the population has been very effective and we are seeing phenomenal changes in perceptions and families protecting their children against such practices” the released stated.

The released indicates that effective national legislation is a vital component of efforts to accelerate the elimination of FGM. The enactment and implementation of legislation against FGM demonstrates a formal, explicit and lasting commitment by public authorities to turning the tide of social norms that perpetuate the practice and are detrimental to women and girls.  Furthermore, the law can also provide the legal tools to legitimise and facilitate the work of anti-FGM activists and women’s right groups, and to protect women and girls willing to challenge the social convention by refusing to undergo FGM.  Conversely, an absence of legislation contributes to the perception of FGM as “acceptable” and further exposes girls and women to the high risk of FGM weakens the legitimacy and impact of government’s policies.

It is observed that achieving substantive equality for the girl-child and creating a protective environment with regards to certain HTPs and shrouded in religious misconceptions making the debate difficult for anti-FGM advocates. FGM has been wrongly associated with Islam in the Gambia and this misconception is strongly held by some religious scholars who have used their privilege positions to influence the debate negatively and sending the wrong signals that undermines government efforts. The legislators hide behind these misconceptions reneging their constitutional responsibility to women in the Gambia. In the light of the great progress registered over the years it is always a suggestion from communities that GAMCOTRAP should invite other Muslim countries to share their knowledge on FGM and Islam.

To further these developments, Save The Children and the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) will organize a two day National Dialogue Workshop from the 27-28 February 2014 bringing together religious scholars and academics from Mauritania, Senegal and La Guinea to The Gambia.

At the national level,  representatives of Imams and Religious Scholars from different regions, The supreme Islam Council, Chiefs, women and youth leaders, relevant government ministries and the coalition of NGOs against FGM to engage in dialogue regarding the religious perspectives on FGM and Islam. The workshop on knowledge-sharing is intended to address misconceptions about Islam and FGM and the need to facilitate for enactment of national legislation, and to encourage wider knowledge sharing and discussions among religious scholars and all the relevant stakeholders.

The Gambia has ratified almost all the international and regional conventions/instruments regarding women and children’s rights thus showing the political will and commitment to advance the strategic interest and human rights of women and girl-children.

Thus the environment is positive for reform of laws or enactment of new laws to protect women and girl-children from harmful traditional practices that are inimical to their health and wellbeing. Currently the Children’s Act 2005 and other new laws promoting women’s rights are in place but do not specifically prohibit FGM because of the lack of a clear religious position on FGM, thus allowing innocent girls and women to be abused in the name of culture and religion.

It is expected that after a constructive debate, and sensitisation on the effects of FGM on women and children’s sexual and reproductive health rights, religious leaders will come to consensus that FGM is not a religious obligation, government will pass a specific law to protect girls from FGM and empower more people to protect girls.

Founded in 1984, The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) is one of the leading Women’s Rights NGOs in The Gambia, focusing its work on the rights of women and children with a particular campaign against harmful traditional practices affecting the health of women and children, especially FGM and child marriage.  Among the activities undertaken has been the organisation of training workshops on the rights of the child and on sexual and reproductive health for the policy makers, different target groups as well as other advocacy aimed at the full ratification of the various relevant international human rights treaties and their subsequent implementation. The organisation has engaged in grassroots activism to end HTP in particular FGM.

Save the Children (SC) Female Genital Mutilation Program works towards a political, legal and social environment that challenges attitudes and behaviours on FGM and promotes its elimination, in the context of the promotion and protection of the rights of children. Over the years, SC has supported local initiatives all over the world and organised numerous conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at raising awareness and stimulating political commitment within institutions and among decision makers and politicians. Similarly, community and opinion leaders able to influence and promote policy-making and legislation, fostering trans-national and regional cooperation and coordination, as positive and lasting tools for social change, in order to help to turn the tide of social norms against FGM as well as create a protective environment for children. Save the Children has over the years committed both financial and technical support to promote the rights of children and influencing child friendly policies.