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

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