#Article (Archive)


Mar 24, 2011, 12:13 PM | Article By: Amran Gaye

She is one of the most successful business women in Gambia. Her name is known far and wide, she is a patron of many celebrations.

“Come with me to the Serign,” her mother says, “Chat baahut, Ida. Come with me, that he can protect you from wagging jaws and wandering tongues.”

But she does not listen. If she is not too busy traveling she is too busy meeting, with important men, for lunch.

One day something bad happens. A deal gone wrong, a trust betrayed. She is shocked, to the core. She loses some money. Nothing irrepairable, you understand - after the initial shock she gathers herself again, and past a slight hardening within her, she is herself once more.

If you had come with me to Serign Mbaakeh, her mother begins, but she snaps at her, and gets in her car, and leaves again for the office.

A plane is delayed, a flight is cancelled, and she catches the ferry to Barra the next day, for her reconnection through Dakar. A flight attendant recognizes her at the airport.

“Ida Sosseh deye morm,” the attendant says to her friends that night as they sit together, “she has lost her money deh - she has to take the ferry now.” The girls laugh, and high-five each other. And there the rumor is born.

And by the next day the rumor has grown, has assumed magnificent proportions. It travels through the country, covered with a web to which each teller adds their own sticky strand. And it is covered with filth, heavy with it. “That she had tried a business deal, with some mafia members. That she had lost much money, and disappointed them. That she fled, then, into Senegal, filled with shame. Did you see what she wore at the airport - did you see how plain it was? Did you see how she hurried, so no one would see her - as if Banjul dang fi muna nobu! Where is all her class now, is what I’d like to know? She will be arrested if she ever steps foot inside this country again”.

All while she sits on a plane, looking out at a Sun that scatters its light across the fluffy surfaces of clouds, and thinks about her meeting in New York.

And now the rumor, fat, pregnant with itself, begins to enter into reality; it begins to assume a tangible form.

And those charged with listening to the mutterings of the people, in order to discern any dissent, come into contact with the rumor. And from the ruptured belly of the rumor they gathered hardened pus, which they call cold hard fact, and run sniggering to present to their superiors.

Ida Sosseh is in Brussels, awaiting her connecting flight. She flips lazily through a magazine. She thinks to call her mum. Then she thinks No, ah, let me wait until I get there, merr bi dafa Barry wah, I am tired...

And the facts (that are in fact only the hardened pus of the rumor) are polished until they glisten, and presented at last to the ones who make the decrees. And the ones who make the decrees think on them, and then present their decisions. Guards are posted at the airport, a holding cell is cleared, and an interviewer is put on alert.

And they all wait, for Ida Sosseh.