53 years of nationhood

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thousands of Gambians Sunday gathered at the McCarthy Square, a place that hosted the demise of the British colonial rule to celebrate Gambia’s 53 years of nationhood in grand style.

The celebration was witnessed by the man who first led The Gambia through a transition from colonial rule to self rule, Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara.

The Duke and Duchess of Kent have celebrated the end of 300 years of colonial rule in The Gambia with 35 chiefs.

“At midnight The Gambia will become the smallest and 37th - sovereign state in Africa and the last of Britain’s West African colonies to gain independence.”

It was the first African nation conquered by the British and will become the 21st member of the Commonwealth, as well as the 116th member of the United Nations, The BBC had announced.

“It was a spectacular of joy,” writes Nana Grey-Johnson, a journalist and current dean of School of Journalism and Digital Media, University of The Gambia. Mr. Grey-Johnson who was a boy at the time; had once told the Daily Observer that the lowering of the Union Jack Flag for The Gambia National Flag was a memorable moment and the independence as a whole was greeted with optimism by diverse people of The Gambia – the farmers, traders and elites.

The independence activities equally showed the royal couple who was representing the queen escorted to the Mansa Bengo - gathering of kings - by Gambian Prime Minister Dawda Jawara and Governor Sir John Paul.

According to historians, all the Gambian leaders showed their respect by removing their shoes before greeting the British dignitaries.

The oldest chief, Toure Sagniang, said it gave them confidence to know that as a monarchy they were members of that family of which the Queen was the head.

After all, today, our nation has just observed 53 years of nationhood presided over by a man who was born 3 days before the rebirth of The Gambia.

President Barrow called for unity, saying peace is priceless.

“We will always have our differences but we must learn to respect those differences,” he said to a cheering crowd at the famous McCarthy Square.  “There is no one correct perspective but let us remember that despite our political, ethnic, economic, gender difference, we have one thing in common –we have one Gambia and we are all Gambians,” he preached.

“Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty.”
Ho Chi Minh