Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

December 6, 2017

THANK YOU YAYA JAMMEH

January 21, 2017

Former President Jammeh

It has been a long, emotional, painful, outrageous, repressive and regrettable 22 years of despotic rule. You killed, banished, incarcerated, maimed and exiled many Gambians with disdainful impunity. Your last two weeks in office, which resonated infinite period, is most gruesome of all your omissions in office. It witnessed mass exodus of helpless Gambians across into Senegalese border, a bloodcurdling state of fear and uncertainty, uncultured abuse of constitutional dictates, traumatic psychological and mental torture, state of helplessness and immeasurable frustration. Despite all your evil intents for us, you have only succeeded in making us strong, united and determined to jealously preserve and guard our freedom. Correspondingly, even though it was not your aspiration, your malevolent actions have helped in making every Gambian take keen interest in our political affairs and become commanders of our own destiny. Albeit many were in denial regarding your underworld shady operations, your last week in office divulged your true nature.

Equivalently, you have proven more than ever before to all and sundry that you are not trustworthy, you are callous, you are selfish, you are arrogant and indiscipline. This is demonstrated palpably by Umaru Fofana of the BBC postulation, “The morning after the night before, I wonder what’s playing on Yahya Jammeh’s mind-as he prepares to leave not only power and the unbridled access to wealth and control, but also his homeland. Probably his longest ever night”. As the dust of new Gambia is settling down, let us draw few lessons from our enlightening experience with Monster Jammeh.

As a starter, all political detainees must be freed with immediate effect. Create rehabilitation programmes for them to refit into everyday life. Provide them with proper counselling, medical and social care. This must be followed by the commissioning of truth, peace and reconciliation commission to put under the microscope Jammeh’s 22 years of omissions. While the commission is sitting, the security services must be revamped. All efforts must be taken to transform the security services into professional, independent and productive services. It will require retraining, expanding, reforming and retiring. Since our only close contact with war is peace-keeping missions, each of the technical units of all the services must be nurtured and readied for generating revenue both for central government and their services. On the day of President Barrow’s return to Banjul, all Gambian armed officer and other ranks on Guard of Honour welcoming him at the airport must be disarmed. Until the personal security and safety of President Barrow is established beyond doubt, a carefully selected officers and other ranks from the Gambian security services must be entrusted with his protection. The NIA. Yes, the notorious NIA. It will be irresponsible and illogical to disband it completely. What it needs is getting rid of its administrative leadership and any agent who participated in unlawful omission of duty. Restructure it, retrain all its agents and redefine their duties and responsibilities. Take all policing powers from it and let it operate as a professional intelligent agency. The Police Force also needs touching up and restructuring. An independent body should also be set up to police all the security services particularly the police force. The powers to appoint and dismiss the Inspector General of Police should be vested on PMO with the approval of the independent body policing the police. That way, the police will be independent from the executive and execute its duties and responsibilities without political duress.

Respectively, the Civil Service also needs a dose of face-lift. There are still some elements within it that still owe allegiance to Jammeh. The continued presence of such persons within the Civil Service will only subterfuge efforts of the rainbow government in picking up the broken pieces of the economy. Salaries, social and pension welfare of civil servants must be reviewed and updated to commensurate current economic realities and standards of living in the Gambia. This will help to curb corruption and irresponsibility. Proper time keeping and responsible management of public properties should also be put in place. For instance, reporting on duty on time, clocking in and out of duty, set breaks times, sick leave/pay and use of official telephones etc. Cultivate a committed and loyal work turnover.

Most importantly, setting up a 2 term limit for the presidency. Once that is entrenched in the constitution and can only be reversed by a referendum, we will safe any president from overstaying his or her welcome. Well, for the national assembly now we all know the consequences of having and ill-informed, ill-educated and a rubber-stamp NAMs. The next batch of NAMs must at least badged Grade 12 certificate and good result.

GRTS I will recommend to be managed by Fatou Camara. As well as the director of GRTS, she should be the Press Secretary to President Barrow. Apart from her fountain experience in the media, she can transform GRTS to a financially viable and world class media house. Take a close look at her Fatu Networks and you will understand my point. As a Press Secretary to President Barrow, she will do an excellent work in projecting his PR and relationship with the press both home and abroad. Even as the Minister of Information and Communication the iron lady will not disappoint. She is committed, experienced, focus and loyal.

Finally, until our paths cross again Jammeh, thank you for helping us love freedom more than life.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

MARVELING AT THE TENACITY OF THE GAMBIAN WOMAN

May 29, 2016
Kerr Gumbo, North Bank The Gambia

Kerr Gumbo, North Bank The Gambia

By Saul N’jie

Driving deep into “Fana-Fana” Land – I encountered the most tenacious Gambian; the best and most industrious of us — the Gambian woman. The Gambian woman works all year around, everyday, to provide for her family. She invests more into the family than her husband. As a case in point, I visited several communities up and down the country – for my quest to understand, or better yet, come up with some solutions to our poverty conundrum. One glorious morning, I visited a village in the North Bank – called Kerr Gumbo. As I wandered in the village in the morning – I saw the men sitting at the “Pecha; Bantaba” dabbling in jovial conversations – in a very nonchalant way.

Upon my return around high noon – the men were still sitting there. That was when I asked the women – why the men were pretty much sitting there for hours – while they, the women, toiled. The women, in a very sympathetic tone, told me that the men are seasonal workers – that they work only during the rainy season – and after harvesting – jobs are hard to come by. I then asked them how they feed their families – and in a no- brainer response, albeit, very coy and measured, they told me that they are the ones that work all year around to provide lunch money for the kids and most of fish money for the family.

The Kerr Gumbo woman’s day starts before the break of dawn: she fetches water from the well for the husband, kids, and other family members for their bathing; also for cooking and what have you; then prepare breakfast for the family; bathe the kids, give them lunch money for school; after that they go to the farm/garden to work on the land; then off to the market around noon to get some cooking items that are missing from their forever dwindling food stock; cooks lunch, washes the bowls; back to the farm/garden, for more back breaking work; get back home, bathe the kids again, prepare dinner for the entire family; go to bed, wake up in the morning and do it all over again the next morning. Good Lord, if hard work was the true barometer for financial stability – then the Gambian woman would rival the Rockefeller’s!

Unlike the Kombos, women of that area, seldom receive fish money from their husbands – they bring in most of the money – send their children to school, take care of the kids and husband; basically, hold the fort down – for without them – the house would literally crumble to the ground. This, in essence, is your quintessential Gambian woman in all her glory.

Paradoxically, although the woman contributes equally, and in many cases, more to the family than the man – they still need permission before embarking on anything. For instance, the women who wanted to join the Microfinance initiatives in Kerr Gumbo – needed to ask for their husbands permission first – and a couple of them had to withdraw their interest because their husbands wouldn’t allow them to join. When asks if their husbands consult them on issues before embarking on them – they said NO – because they are the “Kilifas”. Some even explain that their husbands don’t even consult them when marrying a second wife until the day of the wedding. I find this to be ridiculously fascinating – that the patriarchal system limits these women, even though, they carry a sizable chunk of the social and financial burden of the family.

Absent for patriarchy, macho-entitlement, what does the man contribute to the family that the woman doesn’t? I honestly can’t muster a solid answer. A little caveat, though, this doesn’t mean that men don’t contribute to the family, because they obviously do; and depending on geography – men overwhelmingly financially support the family in many pockets of the country. This is also not a broad generalization of all cases; however, in almost every village that I encountered, the Gambian woman carry most of the financial and social burden – since men work seasonal jobs: summer farming; while the women works all year around. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s about time that we revisit the patriarchal order and script a new social contract for our time?

By the same token, I am always in awe when I meet the Gambian woman in her various trades. She is, for all intents and purposes, the edifice of the Gambian economy, society, and body politics, for absent the Gambian woman, the Gambian economy and society would come to a crushing halt. I am, thenceforth, forever marveling at the tenacity of the Gambian woman.

PRESS RELEASE: GAMBIAN ARTISTS RECORD A TRIBUTE SONG FOR MUSA AFIA NGUM

January 11, 2016
Afia-Ngum-TributeBarely less than 24 hours after the demise of Musa Afia Ngum, a few of his admirers came together and set up the Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee whose mandate is to maintain the legacy of the legend and raise funds for his family. The committee started by setting up a Gofundme account, which currently has £380 raised between October and December of 2015. Donations can still be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/wr6d7jb8 . If you live in the UK, you can still make cash or check donation by directly payment to account: MR M B JENG, BARCLAYS BANK PLC, AC: 10479624, SC: 201053 or contact Njok Malick Jeng on 7957208129
If you live in Sweden, contact Mr Buhary Gassama on 46739105583 to discuss possible options of donating locally.
If you live in the US, contact coach Pa Samba Jow on 301-547-9573 or Pa Ousman Joof on 404-593-6215 or wellsfargo savings Account number 1304651498 to discuss ways and means of contributing.
Folks in Gambia can contact the family directly on 303-9110 to donate.
The second part of the project is to create a tribute song in honor of the late legend. After several consultations, the committee came up with two versions: a Mbalax version and an R&B version, both of which feature several Gambian artists. Both tracks were created, mixed and mastered by Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios in Stockholm, Sweden; a part of Joevibes Productions. The vocals were recorded at World Vibes Records by ENC in The Gambia and at various studios in the USA and Europe.

After three months of hard work, the Mbalax version of the Musa Ngum Tribute Song is set to be released on Saturday, January 16th. 2016 while the R&B version is slated for release at a later date. Both songs will be released online and on local radio stations in Gambia and Senegal. They will also be available for download on Soundcloud.

Shortly after they are released, music videos will follow. Pa Abdou Waggeh of Wax media will create the music video for the Mbalax version whilst Alhagie Manka of State of Mic will produce the video for the R & B version.

The third and final stage of this project will be to organize a tribute concert for the legend at the first anniversary of his passing in October 2016. The committee is asking for donations from all and sundry to support the family of Musa Ngum since he was their main breadwinner and his sudden passing has left them with financial issues beyond their collective ability to solve.

On behalf of Musa Ngum’s family, we wish to thank everyone who participated in this wonderful project especially the artists who took part in the Mbalax version: Mbye Gaye, Pa Omar Jack, Sheikh Samba, Abou and Fafa, Faya Ngum, Sura Suso, Tapha Artist, Sambou Suso, Ida Mbye, Alieu of Humanity Stars, Cess Ngum and Fatou Mbye. We also extend heartfelt thanks to the artists who participated in the R & B version whose names will be released prior to the release of the song. We would also like to thank Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios and our co-ordinator on the ground in The Gambia, Pa Modou of Humanity Stars for their tireless efforts in making the tribute song effort a reality. We would finally like to thank everyone who helped in one way or the other towards the realisation of this wonderful project. We pray for Musa’s soul to rest in peace. AKASA!

The Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee.

Mandinkala Bantaba Katchaa coming to Kibaaro radio and Television with Alhagie Bora, Alhagie Muhammad and Alhagie Pa Makang.

December 29, 2015
Mandinka la karantaba moolu Alhagie Bora, Alhagie Muhammad, and Alhagie Pa Makang coming to Kibaar soon.

Mandinka la karantaba moolu
Alhagie Bora, Alhagie Muhammad, and Alhagie Pa Makang coming to Kibaar soon.

It is often said that “No matter how long a piece of wood stays in the water, it will never transform into a crocodile.” Therefore, for one to be proud of your identity, it should be accompanied by understanding of one’s own culture. Gambia has therefore been blessed with great young talents who with humble background have decided to venture into upholding Mandinka cultural values and not only that share their ideas with everyone.

The trio Bora Sisaho from Niani Karantaba Tabokoto in McCarthy, Muhammad Darboe from Wuli Fadiya Kunda in URR and Pa Jallow from Kombo Pirang Sanchaba in the WCR have been bound by a common desire to promote and uphold cultural values. With Bora Sisaho knows as Alhagie Bora while Muhammad Darboe known as Alhagie Muhammad and Pa Jallow whose family name tell any reader he is fula but his love for cultural education, made him even more unique amongst the lot for when he speaks Mandinka, no one would know if he had ever learn any other language from birth apart from Mandinka. He is known as Alhagie Pa Makang Jallow.

These great sons of the Gambia have positioned themselves well in a common bantaba style of discussion, each playing a unique elderly role, at times complementing one another, and other times, being at loggerheads to the level of criticizing one another.

They have now decided to bring their very educative programmes to your door steps at Kibaaro radio and television.
As Alagie Yero Jallow puts it, on www.gainako.com ,

Alhagie Pa Makang is an Islamic student who studied in Mauritania and most of his contributions are centered on Islamic teachings and tradition. Alhagie Bora on the other hand is well rooted in the tradition and once served as a security guard (Watchman) in Dakar Senegal, something he takes so much pride in, which offered him the opportunity to understand the spoken Wollof dialect. One thing you will appreciate from Alhagie Bora is his humility, self-content, being very upfront and truthful, even though he is not a “fangkaamaa” (rich person).Alhagie Muhammad is the one whose son (Lamin) lives in America which offered him an opportunity to visit America. Alhagie Muhammad takes great pride in interpreting the English language, some words he picked up from his travels, even though his interpretations are wrong, they offer the biggest laughter to listeners. Alhagie Muhammad’s usual insertion of English as sarcastic humor and positioning himself as “fankamaa” (rich person), offers the usual bluff associated with some that traveled to America.

The episodes are accompanied by a high level of eloquence in the local language and the use of proverbs makes it even better. While the use of proverbs, wisdom way of speaking, and silliness makes it “Bantaba,” the very topics addressed are unique and offer revival to our cultures. If you are looking for some revival, some laughter to accompany your day, added to lifelong lessons of our traditions, you must add these YouTube videos (episodes) to your must-see items.

Conclusion:
In the episodes which touches on many aspects of social life, succeeds in passing a cultural identity and reviving a rich lineage at the brink of coma, especially where the global world, technology, and western influence is taking over on a lot of fronts, part of the disadvantage that the African identity finds itself is the fact that the history was not documented, and succeeding generations relied solely on its passage through the traditional singers known as the griots (Jaali) and the bedtime stories from grandparents in typical Africa. Part of the bigger problem is the loss of these rich norms from bias, conflicts, and exaggerations by the custodians. Perhaps with advent of technology where it is possible to record and put some of these cultural norms online is a unique opportunity to preserve the cultures. Africans should consider establishing schools that will teach our tradition. We have come a long way and it will be wrong to keep blaming colonialism on our continued fading cultures and identity, even though it is indisputable that colonialism did a lot of damage to Africa and beyond. As the world continues to generate and develop, Africa should position itself well, to prove its talents, to preserve its cultural identity and values. Even the great Madiba (Mandela) from his own words related the use of African tradition during his activism and subsequent rise to prominence; therefore Africans must celebrate theirs in no small ways. Ours in African culture is unique and equally beautiful even though we tend to easily fall in love with what is foreign and by all life standards, nothing is wrong with that, but you must live your identity, with adjustments only for the better. The solution to Africa’s problems lies in Africans first, and then can be complemented by any other organization or people.

Source Gainakonews.com

Picture and Video Courtesy:
You Tube (Mang-dinka.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnHtD-lGqNY).

GAMBIA MOURNS THE DEMISE OF TWO GREAT ICONS

October 11, 2015
The late Musa Afia Ngum R.I.P

The late Musa Afia Ngum R.I.P

The Late Baboucarr Saho R.I.P

The Late Baboucarr Saho R.I.P

Gambians at home and in the diapora woke up this morning to devastating news of the sudden demise of two great icons; Musa Afia Ngum a music veteran and Baboucarr Saho a sports star. Mr. Musa Afia Ngum was in Senegal prior to his sudden passing away and is said to have featured in the SenegaleseTV channel (tfm) and even performed on stage alongside his son Ismaila Ngum in Dakar yesterday night. It stands out that the veteran musician’s interview on tfm and live performance in Dakar was in fact a farewell to the Senegambian people and the world at large of his sudden travel to eternal life the following morning.

The late Baboucarr Saho aka Goalkeeper Saho is one of Gambia’s finest footballers. He is said to have played for Chossan FC , Kwame FC , Serekunda East , Gambia Eleven and The Scorpions. Saho was a versatile, great goalkeeper , a determined competitor and above all had a big heart. He succumbed to a long illness this morning.

Ever since news broke out on the demise of these two great icons social media continue to be flooded with messages of condolence and tribute for the duo departed souls. We pray that the Almighty God shower mercy on their gentle souls and grant them everlasting bliss in the eternal life. Rest in Peace Musa Afia Ngum and Goalkeeper Saho!

AN OBITUARY ON THE LATE MR BAMBA NJIE

September 12, 2015
PROF SULAYMAN NYANG

PROF SULAYMAN NYANG

By Professor Sulayman S. Nyang
Howard University

Bamba Njie was born in the year 1928 and died on September 9, 2015. Born and raised in the city of Banjul, Bamba Njie belonged to a generation of Gambia who lived under British colonial rule. In order for us to offer our condolences and to remind his beloved darling Dianna and the surviving children who are now in mourning of a loving dad, it is necessary for us to review his life and times in The Gambia and the United States of America.

In writing this obituary several aspects of his life present them immediately. First of all, Bamba belong to that generation of Gambia who were old enough to remember the Second World War and had familiar stories and anecdotes about colonial rule in The Gambia. This special dimension of his life put him in the same generation of educated Gambians who travelled on the pathways towards modernization and Islamization in The Gambia and beyond. Since The Gambia was effectively colonized by 1900, the generation of Bamba Njie lived under British rule. Interestingly, he lived long enough to witness the transition from colonial rule and decolonization on February 18, 1965. It was his generation, who were old enough to rise up and cheer the Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and the likes of Pa Edward Small, Reverend J.C. Faye, Pierre Sarr Njie, Ibrahima Garba Jahumpa, and Kairaba Jawara during those critical moments in our history.

Bamba Njie was a contemporary of decolonizing youth and his biography is full of narratives about Gambian youths and the lessons from the Seringe Dara or the missionary teacher impacting Western knowledge to young Gambians. When Florence Mahoney wrote her dissertation and several publications on government and opinions in The Gambia she spoke about social changes and transformation. The biography of Bamba, like those narratives about Banjul and the Gambia captured in the telling of our individual and collective stories, is part and parcel of Gambian history.

When Arnold Hughe, for example, wrote about the Gambian leaders, his narratives written in collaboration with Norman Perfect, described certain personalities. Many of these individuals were contemporaries who knew Kortor Bamba Njie. To contextualize Mr Njie and his life and times in The Gambia, we must go back to the observations of historical writers such as Andrew Roberts who spoke about the colonial moment in Africa. Focusing on the period 1900 to 1940, the forces and factors that combine to shape and affect African lives come to mind. Bamba was caught in the coexistence of Islam and Westernization. Born in a Wolof-speaking community, he went to Quranic school (locally called Dara) and acquires a command of the English, which enabled him to gain access to the job market in the country. In Quranic school he learned from the scholarship of Tamsir Demba Mbye, who worked effectively with Imam Muhammad Lamin Bah and other elders of the Mosque Committee in Banjul.

As one of the small but growing numbers of Gambians with primary and secondary education he got jobs with the trading companies such as the United Africa Company (UAC) and later served in another capacity with Gambia Oil Marketing Board (GOMB). It was in these capacities when his life intersected with people like the Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, who had also worked with the UAC before joining the emerging People’s Progressive Party (PPP) headed by former President Jawara in the year 1959.

After serving with the GOMB whose name changed to The Gambia Produce Marketing Board (GPMB) soon after independence, Mr Njie embarked on another journey to improve his life and circumstances in the U.S. These changes in his life were occasioned by the new ideas coming from the small but growing numbers of Gambians in the United States of America. The success story of Mr Ousman Sallah was beginning to ring a bell of welcome to Gambian ears. Sallah, who arrived in the country under the formative years of John F. Kennedy was a beneficiary of the assistance and generosity of Paul Paddock, a former American diplomat now better remembered by his book on China, Hungry Nations in the World, Ousman Sallah helped bring to the U.S. many family members and other Gambians. That demonstration effect from Sallah inspired me and several others who brought aspiring Africans. What the late Tom Mboya did for President Obama’s father and many others, Paul Paddock and Sallah did. Bamba too did similar things for his family and others. Prior to his decision to go to America before the end of the first decade of Gambian independence, Mr Njie had married the late Aji Ndeye Saine, who bore him the faithful and devoted Ba Sin Njie. This young lady known to many Gambians and others in America wears the uniform of her Islamic identity and tries to be the living human embodiment of her first name Basin (this is to say) the two alphabet in the al-Fatiha of the Quran.

When Mr Njie landed in the Washington area, he shared rooms with many Gambians living on 1724 17th. Street, NW, Washington D.C.  The first Gambians living in that apartment building were Cheyassin Secka, Babou Saho and Hassan Harding. Soon after Secka and Harding left the country and returned to The Gambia, the likes of Mr Njie shared quarters with Babou Saho, the three Sallah brothers (Tijan, Jabel and Mawdor), Bala Chune and several other young Gambians. During this period of residence at 17th, Street, many of the abled bodied Gambians offered their services to the contractors who were building what we now called the interstate highways linking the District of Columbia and the states of Virginia and Maryland. Whenever a comprehensive story of Senegambian immigrants in America is written the likes of Bamba Njie will be remembered in numerous capacities.

After working with many Gambians and other employees of the contracting companies in metropolitan Washington, Bamba relocated in Atlanta, forming a part of the new wave of Senegambian settlers in the hometown of Martin Luther King and Mayor Andrew Young. These were the new days for the African immigrants whose lives were destined to define and colour what most people now referred to as African immigrant Diaspora   in the land of former President Jimmy Carter. Not only do these Africans acknowledge this association with him, several other groups in Atlanta recognized and honoured him. While working with these partners in social mobilization and community building, he Bamba joined hands with the founding fathers and mothers of AGERA (Atlanta-Gambian Emergency Relief Association). Not only did he give time, money and energy to advise and guide younger and older Gambians, but also he exercised tact, experience and sagacity under sometimes trying and puzzling challenges. His passion for things Africa from his Gambian upbringing was evident in his cooperation with secular and religious organizations among the Gambians, Senegalese and other residents in Atlanta. Building on his past skills as a leader of men and women in the cooperative unions in The Gambia, the late Bamba joined those who served the Dariyyah (Sufi bodies) operating among the Muslims in Atlanta and beyond.

In reconstructing the life and times of Mr Bamba Njie, we must inform other Gambians and other human beings who knew him or did not know anything about, who he was and what were the contents of his character, as once formulated generally by the late Martin Luther King. Truth be told, Bamba was a gregarious person who knew how to make friend and influence people. Not only did he befriend Gambians and others, he worked his way to the management of the hotel industry in Atlanta. His relationship with the operators of the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta led to his secured and effective career as an employee of this Atlanta enterprise. Not only was he visible at his job, but he also served as a guide for the perplexed Gambians looking for employment. He was found willing and helpful. There are countless anecdotes to support these claims.

From Atlanta he once again relocated to New Orleans. This is the third chapter in his tales of three cities. This American Journey is filled with personal successes and tragedies. Like countless others, he and wife Diana suffered from the slings and arrows of Katrina when nature flooded the city and threw thousands to faraway places. Suffering from these blows, the family moved back to Atlanta. Fate and history in their mysterious ways kept him in his second American city until illness began to inch its way into his strength and powers. With its disabling powers, a stoke hit home and he learned to cope and survive. For several years, he limped and persevered with the support of wife and children. To the best of my knowledge, he left us with serious appreciation of his wife and children,

In concluding this obituary, a few points need to be left to fellow human beings about the man and his works: Kortor Bamba was our elder both in words and deeds; he was rich both in his command of our Senegambian traditions and cultures but also in his familiarity with modernizing ways as he educated his children in The Gambia and here in the United States of America; finally, it must be added here that Bamba Njie was one of the few Gambians who went through the ordeal of colonial rule without losing his pride and feelings of being useful and relevant wherever he was. Coming to America was a challenge, his wife and children will forever serve as his magnifying mirrors as well loud speakers reassuring world as to he was and what he accomplished in his lifetime.

Ameen.