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Alarming indecent dress code among Gambian youths

Apr 19, 2012, 3:16 PM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

As a religious country, The Gambia’s citizens should be able to manifest good quality of moral acts through good manners and dress code.

A dress should cover all sensitive parts of a person, like the breasts, the waist, the buttocks and other private parts.

But in today’s Gambia, the situation of young boys and girls wearing indecent dress showing all their parts is becoming rampant.

Of recent we have seen our young boys and girls putting on sexy dresses that a woman or man would normally wear indoors to entice his or her partner.

Such indoor dresses, when worn outdoors in the public, become unusual. Such clothes by young women are seen as distraction to the male sex, particularly to students and teachers.

The most worrying thing of all is the involvement of many young boys in the habit of exposing their buttocks locally known as yutal.

I feel very embarrassed almost every day when I leave the house for work or returning home only to witness almost 8 out of every 10 boys I see practising yutal.

This is very strange but it is quickly becoming popular among Gambian youths in the name of fashion.

I do not know who they are copying because I have travelled extensively in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa but has hardly seen such dress or habit being done publicly the way it is done or practised here. So, if they say those are the ones they are imitating, then I would like to say they overdoing it.

Even if it is from abroad, Western influence and globalisation must not be allowed to change our culture.

I must admit that fashion is as dynamic as culture itself but not to the detriment of our religions, moral and social co-existence.
I must bring to the attention of our authorities that yutal could equally serve as a distraction to other young and old men of respect and dignity as it promotes homosexual acts.

I am very much aware of the rights to self-determination but it must also be made clear to these youths that where ones rights end is where someone else’s begins.

This is a behavior that is alarming and we must work towards discouraging youths from such attitudes.

Cloths meant for going to bed or to nightclubs should not be really used in our commercial vehicles and certain public places.

I am once more calling on the authorities to institute some measures that will discourage indecent dressing by the youth or even some older people who are in the habit of spoiling societal norms through their dress code.

In fact to me, the way of dressing seen in today’s Gambia suggests that our youth may be losing their moral compass.

It therefore makes the teaching of good morals to our youths quite pertinent today, more than ever before.

For girls, short skirts and dresses which expose their bodies is the order of the day, while for the boys showing their underwear is the fashion in today’s Gambia.

It has become more evident that our youths need more orientation as Africans, since those they tend to copy have a different culture.

Life skills training, such orientation is key in this cause, and we admonish the relevant institutions to look into the matter with great urgency.

I must applaud the Imam Muhammed Lamin Touray, deputy imam of Gunjur and President of Gambia Islam Council for holding the bull by the horn.

Imam Touray recently in his sermon has expressed concern over the indecent dressing life style led by young people in the country.

I am therefore calling on other scholars and religious leaders to also join the call for a change in the bad dress code that is taking root in our society of decency and morality.