Feb 5, 2015, 10:19 AM
Integration into a global village is increasingly becoming popular with the merging of cultures in African society. Mr. and Mrs. Sean Smith from UK have shown the way by celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in a Gambian way, particularly in a Jola fashion at the Ndemban village in Foni Berefet District of the Western Region, recently organised by friends of the couple. Musa Colley the CEO of the Real Gambian Tours and a brother to the couple's friend, Lamin Colley was the brain behind the well-organised celebration. Society and Development was there, read the experience below.
RGE Real Gambia Experience called on the populace to experience the renewal of cultural and ethnic events in rural Gambia with Musa Colley as the Acting Director. It aims to change the image of Ndemban nationally and to raise its profile on the international stage providing a focus on the culture and leisure as part of the diversified socio-economic development based, which the village has created. The cultural practice they would love to maintain yearly.
In his welcome remarks, Musa Colley welcomed the couple to the village. "The people here depend on farming and we cherish our cultural dance and entertainment. The people here came to settle here a long time ago and they have all integrated and become one people," he said.
According to Musa, popularly known as Moses Colley, the occasion came about as a result of their friendship, honesty and dedication. He Sean, their friend, had made it a surprise for his wife. He says, "I came and spoke with the elders about the event. We spoke and arranged it all and it was Ok for them to come. The collection of women could be seen busied doing their bit, taking care of the food, the Jola wedding and the cultural dance."
The elders led by Gibril Colley, Moses' father, in integrating and absorbing Mr. and Mrs. Sean Smith into families, said their coming gladdens the whole community. "Your purpose of coming here is to know our culture. We shall do our utmost best to absorb you into it," he said. In recounting a brief history of the village, Gibril Colley said, Kebba Wally Jobe is the founder of Ndemban village over a 100 years ago. Kebba Wally Bitta later came to settle too with others coming thus forming a single family. "Though many ethnic groups, but we are all one," he said. He further said that they all come together on occasions like this. "We want such to happen again and again," he noted.
The man was given a local name as Lamin Gibba while the lady was renamed Kadijatou Colley .
The event was characterised by dancing to local drum tunes with masks displaying.
The wedding was performed in a typical Jola traditional way Mrs. Delyth Smith (Kadijatou Colley) was first taken to the parlour and placed on the mat before she was taken to the inside room where she was placed on a bench as she was washed.
It was explained that this was meant to cleanse her before going to the husband.
In the words Kadijatou she didn't at first understand what was happening and was scary until when she saw people from the window smiling.
She was washed and dressed and brought out to the parlour where singing started as she was dressed in the typical Jola cultural dress.
The woman was taken to her husband's compound at Gibba Kunda amidst dancing and rejoicing. The whole village later moved to the beach side, where drumming went on the whole day. Lamin Gibba, (Sean Smith) said he was delighted to be part of the culture of Ndemban village. "This is my second time here and it is great to be here," he said. He further said that his first time of coming had coincided with President Jammeh's visit to Kanilai, when we saw lots of people lined up cheering us, it was only later I realised it was because the president had just passed," he said.
Lamin Gibba said it was a complete surprise to his wife that they would come to Ndemban village to make it their home. "When we return home and watch the video clip, then we shall feel the real thing, it will be a family thing. We are happy to be associated to this village. I have plans in my head for the village but time will tell," he said. When tourists come, he said should meet the people not only to stay on the advice of tour operators. "Gambia is our home, we shall go with the memory with us home," he said.
"We thank the villagers for coming together to make the day. It was just like a film going through," he said, while his wife, Kadijatou Colley, remarked that she did not know it was to be like this. "My husband surprised me on our 25th wedding anniversary. I was scary until when an interpreter explained in English. The programme was beautiful, they never left a stone unturned," she said.
The elders of the village headed by the village chief, Ansumana Sanyang, said they were happy to have the couple in their midst.
Take Ndemban as your second home, do not hesitate. If you want a home here it is free you shall have it.