By Suntou Touray
The legendary late kora genius put it rightly that “love was created in Heaven.” Every human being agrees with Lalo Kebba Drammeh of blessed memory. In one of his songs, Jaliba Kuyateh sings about the mightiness of love.
Whether you Valentine or not, our ancestors used to have a philosophy in keeping love alive. This is based on three principles: 1. Always maintain a close line of chat, ie always discuss and talk with your wife, make him/her smile a lot, 2. Increase the closer bond and maintain closer proximity whenever you can and 3. Be generous and make gestures, in the old days, it used to be buying rear food, foreign clothes, gold and silver. These affirm to the spouse that you deeply care about her, even if another man wants to cause havoc in the relationship or stole her hearth. Any intruder will fail woefully. The philosophy can be summed up in Mandinka thus: (Duku duku kolen, daali kolen, fere kolen aning hin kolen).
My own personal and social observation is that in the Gambia, men are mainly at ‘grand palace’ drinking attaya [China green tea] for hours after work, and they hardly socialise with the wife. Our women are also engaged in ‘teko vous‘ thus diluting the principles of love. Teko allows women to socialize and generate income for themselves and their families. However, women’s social gatherings distance them from getting closer to their husbands.
Relationships tear apart too easily because we abandon our ancestors’ advice. You don’t have to copy the West by publicly showing love. That is not incompatible with out cultures. We can maintain our ways and at the same time pay attention to our spouses and be extra kind and caring. Since we are not perfect, we must therefore prepare ourselves about how to deal with their aftermath. Our answers lie in open and genuine discussion with our spouses. Let’s remember to nurture our bonds with the facts that every woman and man is beautiful and handsome. Don’t forget to demonstrate your love to your spouses in action and words. Yes, love descended from Larayce.