Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Dictator mania

Is it just me or are you as a Gambian watching closely what is happening to our media brothers/sisters? It seems to me, love and mutual respect is darely missing in and among the brothers and sisters. This is a serious worry for Gambians who are fade up and tired of dictatorship and its treats.
Dictatorship is not just practice by rulers but by common ordinary folks as well. When people use forceful and disrespectful languages against each other, it exposes the dictator in them.

How can one man dissolve an organisation you don't own neither belong to? How can threats be made against people's privacy and personal secrets? How possible in this day and age, folks can intimidate and scare others by virtue of their having a media outlets? This beggars believe!
It seems I was reading Jammeh's Hench men at work. No wonder he has abundant Gambians willing and ready to cause havoc on his behalf.

Whatever a Gambian man or woman does, if that has no bearing on our national interest, that should be left at that. And if for whatever reason one comes in contact with a disheartening news concerning a brother or sister, that news should be left private. News shouldn't become a tool to scare and intimidate. Gambian writers of all sorts should avoid letting their anger control what they say.
As expert writers would say, writing is no different from speaking. When you get angry, stay way from the key board. Insulting other people's mother's and person's shouldn't be part of dialogue and discussions. Decency should prevail whenever we pick a pen or use a computer to write.
Emotions, weak emotions. Weak personality, pettiness and cynicism has no place in the Gambia we all want.
The English language shouldn't become a tool as well to stop others getting involve in Gambian discussion circles. I urge brothers and sisters to concentrate on the bigger picture and stop self-aggrandisement and personal glory seeking. Whatever genuine and sincere efforts one engages in, naturally he/she get recognition for that. Allah make sure of that.
May God guide our actions.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


I want to conduct a public-step by step piecing together of an article on 'bleaching'. I will refer to the act as sand papering. This is because, skin bleaching is nothing but removing the outer skin to expose the inner one.

Sand paper is use to smoothen a wooden material or rough things. The act is meant for non-living things. But when a living human with eyes, brain, five common sense, passion engages in self-humiliation and public ridicule, no one should sympathise with such person.

The thinking behind 'sandy face':

Do you as a man have a sister or spouse who bleach?

What is your reaction to the act of bleaching?

The same question can be related to women. How would you react when your sister starts bleaching?

What is bleaching? A layman explanation will be, an act of applying creams to whiten one's body.

But then there can be more complicated definitions.

I for one is too young to know when the act of sand papering human body commences. But through personal observation, the act has been around for years now.

Why did it start? well, the sure answer would be low self-esteem and lack confidence in the skin one is in. The emphasis on beauty being in the colour 'white' or 'light' complexion, black or dark skin people find ways to look white or lighter.

Like any thing that is demanded by the people, a market will arise for it sooner or later. The existence of demand for bleaching products trigger some entrepreneurs to produce creams that can medically remove the black skin and expose the lighter one.

This process is not as straight forward as I just state. Oh no, it involves a combinations of creams. some very dangerous and harmful to the human body. That is why, it burns the practitioners. This can be considered unnatural.

Why the 'sand papering'?
As stated earlier, beauty definition being in white or light, creates a natural tendency of non-white people doing their utmost to look like the character depicted beautiful.

The practice is done by mostly women from non-white background. This is more than a mere urge for women to look white at a very high cost but the male gender fuel the desire too.

Men are the engine behind the industry of skin bleaching.

A bold claim some will say. Ask yourself a simple question? Why do you look good? Who do you make the effort to look good for?

When you answer this simple questions, then you will find out that, women go at extreme length in beautifying themselves for the male gender. This can be for a specific man or as a way of attracting attention. I will rush to say, some women look good only to be comfortable in themselves.

I will tackle the social side of the discussion later.
Personal reputation
The overall effect on Black people
comments are most welcome

Sunday, 22 March 2009


Me heart weeps
Human complications
Your words send me meditating
Pondering and wondering- the sins and errors
Yours words piercingly accurate
That was then
Your fingers are too deep
The truth insertions bow
The LORD’S speaker stammering over real issues bow
I suffer and many suffer too bow, may be you not
All other facts. All other truth
You ignore some bow
Twitching and wavering
Real crimes, humiliating crimes. Sadistic moments
Demented orders bow
What has happen bow?
Some say you emanate from similar background
That you helped in the making of the monster
That you and him made each other
Some even say, the windfall and bonanza greased your lips and hands
This may be wrong or it may be true
Whatever the case is bow, Open your eyes and see
If you wish to parade and defend the joy-rider
You will be taken with him on his demise,
Watch closely bow, the streets are swelling with the tears of innocence
The pillars will one day crumble
Remember, you came to us with the lord as your word
We accepted you, trusted you and confided in you
Now this!


I was pleased to read of the release from hell-hole mile two prisons of Halifa Sallah. I hope he recover from the sad and bad treatment by crazy regime of Yahya quickly.
I wonder in the first place why he was arrested.
There was no need absolutely to arrest him, he was carrying out a duty that all politicians should. He was doing his utmost to investigate an incident which could spark communal unrest.
I have a notion that, Halifa might have been arrested for certain reasons. I will divulge on them later.
I hope the craziness seized.
Allah safe our land.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Would Halifa's Incarceration fortify his position?

Many recent postings on the plight of Halifa Sallah is promising mainly on his image building. The question that observers are wondering about is, would his incarceration boost his popularity and influence?
Is the landscape of Gambian politics ready for patronising a man who wish to be martyred for them? Halifa made it easy to analyst and commentators to pin-point his wishes of being arrested by the Yahya regime. He said "i am the lamb to the slaughter". Well, I for one would rather have him live than kill.
The Gambian politics is such that, Halifa may gain little influence after his release. I standby the claims that, the message of PDOIS/NADD is lost in transmission. Halifa's personal qualities are admirable, but like each and every one of us, he too has serious defects that close observers may pounce on which may derail the headway he secured himself.
I am ready to clarify that statement if asked. Our politicians have serious problem of ego and control. They are hardly change their position even after alternative opinions are put in front of them. Halifa is no exception.
I hope that, he seek legal representation in this case. He can do the opening and closing statement in any court of law. But the legal proceedings should be conducted by a train lawyer.

Mathew Jallow's Movement

I hope that, the new movement of Mathew Jallow effect the change the message contain. Certainly, Gambians should welcome anyone who wish to organise the people and plan to remove the current hegemony.
I am sick and tired of the reference to Yahya's development. The man is harming and subjugating the people. What kind f development is more valuable than human beings?
Mathew, you are an elder, and for that, envisage the the reaction of Gambians to the speeches or press release you make.
Gambians are very sensitive people. They will rather ignore a genuine movement merely on the implications of your speeches. I know you mean well, and hopefully, your organisation will increase the efforts going on.

Imam Fatty's Recent Sermon

To say that I am disappointed with Imam Fatty for his sermon backing Yahya Jammeh on the witch hunting saga will be an understatement. Imam should realise that he doesn't have a glue as to what Yahya as been up for the past fifteen years.
The frequent pilgrimage and umrah shouldn't deceive him. Imam knows very well that, throughout history, scholars who stood against injustice where oppressed and persecuted. Including many renown Islamic jurist and scholars. From Ibn Taymeyaah, Imam Malick, Abu Hanifah and many more.
The wise thing he should have done is keep quiet or admonish the president on the repercussions of oppressions. Human beings are the personal commodity of God the most High. He will inflict severe punishment on anyone who oppress his creatures.
I will take the time to call him and express my disgust and disappointment. He should know better. Anyone who appease a dictator is guilty by association. Imam Fatty knows Gambians are suffering, The country is not safe. Only the nature of Gambians is preventing all out war.
I hope Imam avoid disappointing people who has high regards for him. He should stay away from making political statements if cannot confront the dictator.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Gambians Pantomime

Every sincere and well meaning Gambian will be embarrass and sad at the pantomime witch hunting taking place in our country. As a young boy in the 1980's, I use to hear talks of a certain woman being a witch because of all sorts of reasons. I never understood what the accusations were all about.
But then, when you ask this accusers how does a witch look like, they advance quiet many variant depictions. But then that is the logic of folklore, one is at lost as to what to take as fact and what to accept as fiction. Witches and wizards have been commented on in very society. The fear that men have of each other manifest in many different forms. Evils eyes, witches, poisoning, calculated voodoo rituals, betrayals etc. This are all aspects of cultures that refuse to die.
Even today, institutions are establish on the basis of fighting voodoo illnesses and Jinn infections. But even those people cannot explain the travels of witches. Is there any evidence that humans can turn into planes, cars, birds, dogs, cats etc to harm others?
That is a billion dollar question, but yet science will disprove such claims. In this modern era, what the Gambian government should rather be doing, is set presidential term limits, make the judiciary fair and balance, make the civil services corruption free zone by working with the Bostuwa example. Increase funding for agriculture and education. Stop window dressing development, short-termism.
And increase adult education and the nature of changing cultures, so that people can DE-link from bad and unproductive cultural practices. But what do we see? A president who himself dwell on the secret underworld, link with the business community and use religion to blind the country's scholars. The Gambia is in a sorry state, I hope Gambians get ready for proper education and progress post-Yahya's Aprc. Where ever you are, please learn a trade, a profession, get an academic qualification and live healthily. We need strong citizens with decent minds. May God solve our this complicated problem for us. Amen

Friday, 6 March 2009


Apart from visible difference between rich and poor, Gambian society is largely divided by the culture of stratification. Some ethnic group may be openly known for direct segregation between sub-sectors of society. With other ethnics it is done in special ways. Gambia's social stratification is so real that even urbanisation is not enough to break the chains of a socially incompatible fabric.
Banjul, capital of Gambia is home to many from various locations through settlement by work or by marriage. The creole (decendants of liberated slaves from Sierra Leone) only marry within their close sub society. If anyone thinks that is because of their Christian bearing, there is more to that. There are other Christians among Serrer, Jola as examples. Only on occasions will inter- ethnic marriage take place between Akus and the rest. The Akus may have their own class set up based on level of money power or who goes to which church. Mandingo settlers in Banjul come from various places and would marry their kind. It is also the case that some Mandingo men marry other ethnics based on mutual regards. This in some occassion result in the offspring being unable to speak their father's language.
In Banjul, Mandingo social stratification is not readily visible. Most of those in commerce and trade are identified by what they do. Wollof have readily visible conduct of social division. Black smiths (tegga) will not marry into family of entertainers (ghewell.) The free born (gherr) will neither marry black smiths neither will they marry entertainers. This stratification is remarkably visible and modernisation has little influence over it. More to follow on others

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Kombo Is Innocent: Cast System In The Gambia

By Suntou Touray
The essence of this piece is to both alert and warn about the impending dangers of persisting, promoting and upholding social stigmas detrimental to intellectual and societal growth. There are many aspects worth highlighting but the objective here is to create awareness and thus enlighten younger members of our communities to see the fluke in categorizing people into casts.The limited time at my disposal will affect both the detail and the extent which the subject deserves, however, I labour to focus and to be brief but precise. Therefore to speak of Gambia, a specific area familiar to me would limit the exposition of cultural ontology and would do the issue good.
In London and other events elsewhere in Europe where men from the freeborn cast gang up against so call members of the low casts for daring to want to marry within the freeborn. These demented men still think it is right to ridicule a man who loves a woman genuinely because of his so call cast. The categorization of people within a community into casts has existed for generations. The validity for communities in modern times to persist on ‘casting out’ men and women for being cobblers, blacksmiths, griouts, laowbbes, etc is not only outdated but unacceptable and therefore needs to be challenged.
If the older generation cannot let go, we the younger generation should seriously consider our position on this divisive phenomenon. Some of the dangers in upholding and practicing this cast systems are:Unnecessary animosity in the communities, hence innocent men and women are associated with the social stigma. The emotional trauma associated with the restriction of marital choices due to unnecessary artificial barriers. Progressive members of the casts refusing subordination stare up social unrests. Another negative effect is the hampering of the progress and social advancement of many children who cannot attend school. Lastly the migration from rural to urban areas hence people wish to live in areas where no one cares about their cast.
Human society according to contemporary commentators goes through various stages of evolution. The sense of dress, food, appearance, taste of music, art, socialization and many vital aspects of human activities is dynamic and changes with time. One thing that refuses to die and past through the stages of evolution is the cast system in the rural regional divisions of Gambia.
This subject has been tormenting me for ages, for that matter, a sincere and painstaking investigation was carried out to ascertain the cultural practice of the Kombonka in relation to the notion of “cast system”. The kombonka communities barely engage in differentiating their community members into casts namely, foro (free men), jongo (slaves), karanke (cobblers), numo (blacksmith/goldsmith) and jalo (griouts) as prevalent in the (rural regions) provinces. The categorization is hierarchical with foro on top; it is unclear which one comes after foro on the hierarchy. The Kombokas have no social demarcation categorising people, the foro ranks equal with the blacksmith, cobbler and the griout.
These artisans are considered skilled hardworking members of the community and their respective professional characteristic is no reason for exclusion or marginalisation in any way or form. The same cannot be said about the rural communities in the provinces where a foro is not considered an equal to the blacksmith. Where this inherent custom is so deeply rooted that social status need not be expressed explicitly hence everybody is aware of his/her position in the social hierarchy.
The consequences of this outdated practice are not only a traumatic code of marriage dictating who should be marriage to whom but also limits the free flow of social interaction. A freeborn, foro cannot marry a descendant of slaves; neither can a griout marry a freeborn or a cobbler and the other way round rather each category marries within itself except the freeborn. There are rare occasions where freeborn marries slave women but that is because slaves are said to be captives of war or enslaved not because of cast but by virtue of hunger, need and poverty. That is, for example if a family head is not able to provide food for the family he voluntarily takes work with an affluent member of the society in exchange for feeding the family. The term slave may not be appropriate here hence there is no force involve. However even whereas one is able to provide for the family in due course without working for a master the stigma remains and inherited by the progenies in generations to come. This is mostly how the slave and master relationship commences and how certain families are said to be descendants of slaves.
The griouts, blacksmiths and cobblers find themselves as practitioners of their trades through inheritance. Having achieved education and attained a high level of financial success or increased level of social interaction does not change the social stigma. They cannot climb up from their position on the hierarchical ladder nor attain a higher social status. They are confined to marrying within their cast, hence an attempt to marry outside results in unhealthy relationships and other maltreatments from the community. It is like an open prison; one is free and yet marginalised by artificial social boundaries that dictate love only within a given cast. The only way to get rid off or overcome the stigma is to move from the community of birth to other communities where the social stigma of cast is not renounced or practiced.
“Kombo is innocent” because, many people from the rural areas, provinces, marry without reference to their cast. And also, the communities are not divided into hierarchies where each faction upholds its position unflinchingly unlike the provinces. Some may argue that, the piece is bias for not taking the historical social context into account and the reasons behind the system. But the facts observed indicate that the system has no tangible social significance today. It may be worthwhile centuries ago, but not anymore, people should interact without cast or any barriers of the sort.
For all those who consider themselves freeborn, this is not a talk of a victim in the sense that, I resent the cast system on grounds of being from a lower cast. Rather I belong to the so-called freeborn. No single person can claim to be free from the artificial restrictions placed on all members of the different cast. Since even freeborn’s are not allowed to marry a lady of their choice among the lower cast, however much one may love that lady.
For those who care about religion as guiding principles, Islam on its part condemned discriminations and exclusion. I urge younger people from the provinces to discard this custom. Finally, I will unequivocally declare that, all the major tribes in the provinces are guilty of this practice; my reference to Mandingo words is only to cement a point. I hope we find it within ourselves to let go.
May God guide our actions. Amen
Suntou Bolonba

Monday, 2 March 2009


I found this website when searching on the breakdown of Senegambian tribes. The site below explain lots of things about the Fuula tribe. There music, culture, traditions and many more.
It is good for us to understand each others background. Fuula is a very illustrious tribe, that has connection in many African countries.

Another African tragedy. Bissau Nino Dead

Today marked another milestone in Africa's fragile history. The president of Bissau, Nino veira was shot dead by the country's military officers. Nino came to power through coup and overstayed. So long as our African leaders cannot know when to go away, this kind of tragedies will always occur. We can be certain that, this will not be the last.
When African leaders rely more on their military and witch doctor powers than protecting the rights of their people, instability and violence will always be the order of the day. I hope peace reign, but on grounds that is beneficial for the whole.
I show Abdoulie wadah of Senegal also on the news clip, he too look old and weak. why can't he too just handover and move on? Our own Yahya Jammeh is now entering his 16Th in year power and there is no signs that, he is going any where. The sad episode continues. God help us.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Research on Gambian Institutions

I have proudly told my supervisor that "i will do my research on a certain institution in the Gambia" more than six months ago. He looked at me said, "very good". He went on to say, he like such researches. It helps create new understandings on how the institutions in Africa are run. Any time he lectured us, he always make reference to my ambition to research a certain company. I will not name the company for certain reasons.
I approach them some months ago for data and my wish to conduct research on them. They give me all the assurance that, they will help in any way possible. We exchange several emails and i even spoke with the Director. He told me, "i will assign some one to help you get the facts you require".
Well, how sad. I did some background reading and checked lots of Internet information's on them. I then knew, it will be fantastic to find out new issues about the organisation. I finally wrote to them to pass me some list of data needed.
To my shock and horror, i got an email two days later saying "we are a private institution, we cannot give you some of the information you want". I said ok, what do they mean? This is a very hostile reply. I wrote to them with my University letter explaining the kind of research i was embarking and assuring them that, every data will be treated with strict confidence. I demanded to know which kind of information they wish to provide and which one they wouldn't from the list.
Well, i never heard from them since. I was shocked. I bypass them and went to regulatory authority for guidance in the Gambia. I wrote to them as well with the University covering letter explaining everything i needed. They never bother to respond either. I still persist. I contact a foreign company holding shares in this institutions. they immediately provided some information and stated that, that is all they have on the institution. Sadly, it is not enough to conduct a 15,000 words dissertation on.
My advice to every single Gambian student doing a postgraduate course not to bank on initial promise by our institutions. I am among a long list of people who have to change their dissertation topics on the Gambia. It is sad that, in this day and age, our managers feel suspicious of researchers. They don't value knowledge creation and new recommendations. There are many reasons why request for information's are refused. I cannot for obvious reason state them. I am now doing my dissertation on one British mega institution, 'as if they need it' but i need my marks.
God help us.

Cast system in the Gambia: Article to come later

I am taking a break from my dissertation to write some personal knowledge on cast system in the Gambia. The reason being, even though, our societies have moved on from certain cultural practices deem unacceptable for modern man. Cast system continues to exist. I feel strongly about it's elimination completely. It has no usefulness today.
As a Muslim, it is required of us to speak against injustice and oppressions, no matter who is doing it. In the article, i will claim that the Kombos are innocent of the divisive practice. This is because, they don't bother much about which cast somebody is to accept his marriage proposal. This cannot be said of people from the provinces.
I will also state, cast system is practice by all the tribes in the Gambia. I limited the discussion to the Gambia as a way of being precise and focus.
I will certainly accept alternative opinions on the subject, this is because we cannot all see through the same mirror.
people have moved on, a person whose great gran parents were considered slave or bonded folks, are now rich, wealthy and educated. They don't need assistant from anybody. They are rather taking care of the socall free Born's. The graft men and women, considered, lower cast can be considered skilled professional. In a proper setting they can help in developing societies effectively. They are equals partners in our communities. Not to give much away now, the article will i hope trigger folks who uphold the divisive practice think and abandon it completely. It is against the teachings of Islam and common social good.