Saturday, 3 August 2013

Omar Joof on his experience At Gambia College: Dry Dance explain

  Dry Dance in fact means san alcohol! During my time at Gambia college we did review, but alcohol or weed smoking were never viewed as problems emanating from Dry Dance. We were however worried when we viewed it in terms of the failure rate. This itself was low, but we were concerned about certain girls who were regulars at Dry Dance and were failing. All we could do at the time was to encourage them to cut on attendance at Dry Dance.
From 1992 to 1995, we had two cases of drunkenness, and in both cases, the individuals concerned consumed alcohol off campus. The student leadership dealt with the cases without ever allowing them to get to the college authorities. In fact in one of them, we instructed a college employee to pay compensation to a student who was under the influence of alcohol and was taken advantage of. 
Dry Dance was organized by the social committee, there was also a student DJ. Refreshments were sold but as far as I was aware, alcohol was never made available .
Gambia college has always been a microcosm of the greater Gambian society. Religiosity has always been a marked characteristic of the college. I met many good Christians and Muslims during my training there and we put in the application for the college Mosque while I was secretary to The Student Islamic Solidarity Association (SISA).
However, student politics on campus was very dynamic, and progressive. During the Campaign period, all candidates for the various positions take part in public debates. There was a tremendous culture of lampooning and caricature. These publications were put out by secret groups whose members the contesting candidates mostly did not know. The practice of democracy was remarkable! The environment was free, and students can be found experimenting a lot of things which may be frowned upon in the larger society.
Gambians and Africans in general are very religious. It is the cultures of governance inherited from the colonialists which are secular. We all cherish this because while we like to question our politics on continuous basis, most of us shy away from questioning our faiths.

 I hereby express gratitude to our brother Suntou for coming up with a contentious issue which has enabled us to share our experiences in regard of the institutions of relevance to his topic. It was at Gambia College that I was introduced to the Dawa, and I became aware of the existence of some compatriots who have come to find an escape from the socioeconomic woes in The Gambia in Islam. Personally, I was fascinated by the tremendous potentials we have for effecting progressive change through social mobilization. As a Muslim scholar, I would like to direct Suntou's attention to the existence of a dual system of education in The Gambia in the shape of The Madarassahs and The formal schools; and the dangers and issues of social justice that scenario poses. There is a lot of ground to be covered in terms of research and generating knowledge in The Gambia. The potential for evolving concepts and constructs to jolt us out of the
current socioeconomic decadence is immeasurable

No comments: