The Cartoon Character

BabaBy Baba Galleh Jallow

Hashtag Momla Rekati, Managing Director of Minimal Farms Unlimited was a favorite subject of cartoonists in our little town. Their interest in him was enhanced by the great man himself, who repeatedly proclaimed that he liked caricatures of him because “these nice distortions of my anatomy show who I really am, which is too complex for uninitiated minds to understand or for mere words to express.” Priding himself in being a man of great learning and unrivalled mental and spiritual sophistication, Hashtag Momla Rekati willingly posed for the many cartoonists who flocked to his mansion to draw a picture for our many daily, weekly and weekend tabloids. In no time, our famous Hashtag Momla had become a celebrity of sorts and earned himself the unique title of cartoon character. Of late, people also called him Mr. Pearhead for reasons that we will see later.

Hashtag Momla Rekati appears as a cartoon character in our local newspapers and tabloids in various shapes and sizes. Sometimes he is portrayed as Atemu Jamaati, a huge giant with a tiny pin-point head, dots for eyes, a dark-hole mouth, monster ears, trunk-like arms, a bloated tummy, and broomstick legs. He is invariably shown holding his signature cow tail in one hand and a dry fish in the other.

Hashtag Momla Rekati liked this particular cartoon because, he said, it “shows that I can still have a tiny head and mosquito legs and still maintain my manly strength and stamina. I like that they do not leave my cow tail out because it shows who I really am and why I am such a great man in history.” And when he was particularly excited or happy about his depiction as Atemu Jamaati of dark-hole mouth, Hashtag Momla Rekati would add some really juicy stuff like “some of you think I am an ordinary man; that I was born just like you and that I am not totally different. But let me tell you something. Just look at me in that cartoon and you will know that I am not an ordinary bloke. I actually don’t like the word bloke – because it does not sound like me – but it shows just who I am.”

Hashtag Momla Rekati also appears in our cartoons as Mr. Westluver, a character with a table-top head and flat face whose nose stands out like an inverted V. His mouth is like a large open can lying on its side and his neck is shown as a tree-trunk whose roots are octopus tentacles gripping the seat upon which he sat. As Mr. Westluver, Hashtag Momla looks so strange that people said he really looked like a creature of ancient mythology. Only that in his eyes shone that unmistakable light that could only be found in the eyes of our famous Hashtag Momla Rekati. The semblance was so neatly established that Hashtag Momla was particularly happy with his depiction as Mr. Westluver. He even ordered it to be enlarged and purchased a framed copy to hang on the wall of his spacious private quarters. In each of his renderings as Mr. Westluver, Hashtag Momla is quoted saying something about how he loved the West so much he could not think straight. “The West – aha! That’s where the sun sets,” he is often quoted saying with a huge grin on his open can mouth.

Sometimes, Hashtag Momla Rekati is depicted doing all the things that he absolutely did not like doing, such as breaking the law of the land. As a peace-loving and law-abiding citizen, Hashtag Momla hated the very idea of breaking the law; yet he absolutely loved cartoons that showed him doing just that because he says, “that just shows that in real life, I am the most law-abiding citizen ever!” One of his favorite cartoons depicted him as a clueless buffoon whose foolery literally oozed out from his nose and ears. In that cartoon, he is shown reaching out with a hand that looked like a snake trying to bite an innocent lady standing near him. His face is dark and oily, his teeth are lecherous, and his eyes are two white eggs with tiny black dots glowing with evil. His other hand, also like a snake, is raised as he says “hey, I don’t give a damn about the law. I want what I want and I will take it!! If you don’t like it you can go to hell.” The cartoon was titled “Buki the Law Breaker” and was one of Hashtag Momla’s favorite cartoons because, he said, “why not? If you are this and they say you are that, why do you have to worry about that? I have told you what I am and you still want to say I am something else. Why should I waste my time to even think about it? I do my do you do your do: that is the doestion.” His cronies always uttered loud exclamations of admiration at this piece of clever logic. The word “doestion” sounded so new and clever to Hashtag Momla that he now uttered it at every possible opportunity, to the extent that people clasped their hands to their ears and ran away as soon as he mentioned in within hearing distance.

Then one day Hashtag Momla saw a cartoon he did not like. Titled Mr. Pearhead, this particular cartoon looked too real for comfort. It was almost a perfect portrait of the great man, only that his features, especially his head, his eyes, his nose, his mouth, his cheeks and his ears had something rather unnatural about them. Hashtag Momla’s real life pear-shaped head was more pear-shaped than usual in the cartoon, looking more like a real pear with a very narrow top and a grossly bloated bottom. His eyes looked like tiny dark and deep holes, his mouth had sharp vampire teeth in them, his cheeks looked like tight bags of fat, and his ears resembled large traditional fans used by our common townsfolk in the hot summers. The cartoonist showed Mr. Pearhead perched on a large chair, wearing an ugly grin, and scowling down at a crowd of tiny people who were at once giving him food and begging him for food. For some reason, something about this particular cartoon did not seem funny and told Hashtag Momla that it was really him. It made him very uncomfortable; so much so that he immediately filed suit against the cartoonist and the paper that carried the offending cartoon. His suit was dismissed for lack of merit and the defendants were told they had no case to answer. Hashtag Momla was beyond furious! He just could not believe it!
After Hashtag Momla’s case was dismissed, Mr. Pearhead became the most popular cartoon character in our little town. Sometimes he is shown in an angry mood, beating up his helpless servants with a mighty whip that cut their faces upon contact while he gleefully asked them why. Sometimes he is depicted forcefully shoving handfuls of sand down the throats of people who owed him money or failed to honor a contract. Since he had lost all faith in human rights and the rule of law, Mr. Pearhead was now depicted as a serial lawbreaker who always justified his criminality through the use of self-righteous platitudes about people owing him favors or failing to fulfil signed contracts. He knew that as long as he hid behind these justified reasons, all people could do was rage and fume and call him funny names. And so they did in their cartoons, often calling him such funny names as Pearhead Potato, Pearhead Yappa, Pearhead Yuppy and even Pearhead Nakla! And Hashtag Momla was transformed from a great cartoon lover to a bitter hater of all things cartoon. He now refused to pose for any so-called pictures or have his cartoons hung on the trees of our little town. His cartoon-phobia grew so bad that one day when he saw an image of Mr. Pearhead as Pearhead Nakbi in the papers, he screamed so loud that he swooned and had to be carried off for emergency medical attention. When he recovered from his swoon, he called a press conference and announced that he had forgiven all his enemies. “But those who personalize my character will never be forgiven. They know themselves,” he threatened. “They have to stop calling me Pearhead this and Pearhead that or I will deal with them without mercy!”
The next day, Hashtag Momla appeared in our local newspapers as a new cartoon character called Mr. Anonymous who had no eyes, no nose, no mouth, no face, and no ears on his pear-shaped head.



  1. Hashtag Momla is doomed. Mr Jallow I would like to adapt Hashtag Momla into a cartoon movies , but eeh, Mr Hastag Momla has no future in the cartoon world. He has a split personality, not a good model for the kids to watch, he is violent, again not good for the future generations, he is a prattler, a bully, a thief, he is selfish, I must be honest with you if I should go ahead with the adaptation, nobody will come to the screening..We will have a negative return.

    • Thanks Kemo. He is indeed ‘ugly’ in all the ways you mention. But we need to preserve the ugly in addition to the good and the bad so future generations can get as complete a picture as possible of our little town in these days of cartoon character. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. This is stupendously brilliant. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I thought it was only me who noticed Gambian’s post Jammeh had developed there own anonymous sign language….?

  3. Kemo, I think i agree with you, that
    Mr.Hashtag Momla is doomed.
    Apparently too, there are no possible offsprings to Hashtag Momla and the
    vagueness of his leadership because, people of Minimal Farm Unlimited are rising intelligently and reading cartoons
    well and not eating them.
    I am still going through Mr.Janko Camara’s discourse, what can I do? but learn from that hard and upsetting truth about me and many more country men like me.
    Hypocrisy, ethnicity, etc., entangled within the knits of our society, government and political processes, in my opinion, shall always remain to be Dear Gambia’s standing setback.
    If one will ask oneself, why Gambia being such a small country with regards to its boundaries and a relatively small population and has the worst and the least significant infrastructure in the subregion?
    The poor housing of most the population is evident, and not to mention energy and clean running water, which is probably available to less than thirty percent of the population.

    You see folks, to tell you the truth, one like me came to understanding the ills of our Gambian society as outlined by Mr. Camara, actually not whilst I was in the Gambia when I was only twenty, but indeed in the west down here,obviously getting to know many more Gambians.
    For that matter, I urge fellow Gambians not to worry about faces in real live Gambia issue.
    That is why I said before, ‘Ali Baba and the Armed thieves’. Ali Baba= Face makers everywhere,and Armed thieves are out there in the Gambia.
    Ali Baba is not transparent and the thieves are well armed and dangerous and bad. I think therefore, this why we the Gambians need to emancipate ourselves mentally and morally from those horrible ills of a society.
    I quote from one of my most favourite leaders, something like, ‘contemplate on what you can do for your country and not what your country can do for you. The good thing is, there is prove that there are Gambians indeed who are ready to give up everything they own for Gambia. These are Gambians who don’t want any scary cartoons to scare our kids in the future.
    Thanks kairo news! and keep the opinions burning like wildfire.

  4. Love it !! Nothing is more creative nor destructive than a brilliant mind with a purpose. Thankx Baba.

  5. Kairo News, you probably will not publish my first comment in this forum, but if you’ll, fine thank you.

    You see, in my opinion, the very resourceful kairo online media should censure all commentaries or contributions that may contain vulgar language or commentaries that may be discriminatory or may incite tribalism or racism. Apart from that, I think kairo news’ hard working staff will understand the fact that they are dealing with the opinion of the ordinary Gambian and therefore, their
    expectations should not be high when it comes to professional journalism with regards to some of their contributors, i.e, me.

    Cartoons help kids learn wisely.
    We can even take for example Mr. Janko’s outlining of the ills that characterise the order of our day, and make cartoons of such lifestyles for children to learn from them.
    I got the feeling someone is trying to tell kairo what to do. You see, my habit coming to back bad writing habit, eeh. What are they trying to tell Kairo News? To be like tired old one way Daily Observer of the Gambia? to transgress? No I’m sure kairo news is too smart to be brainwashed in their effort to give every Gambian a voice.

    Contributors can write their names or not. That is left to the individual to take heed to his own security measures.
    Trust is not an option here, after knowing that birds of the same feather flock together.
    Much more those who break friendship with old friends to make new ones.

    Right now I’m wondering if someone is on the cyber search for Ggapm…heh heh, I’m just paranoid.

    • Ggapm Agapm : I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but i think you need a help. and no offence just a friendly advice .

  6. The cartoon character Hashtag Momla Rekati still ringing in my ears like a mosquito_one of his characters.Reading through the lines, my mind got initiated, and i was like hey!! Hashtag Momla Rekati sometimes called atemu jaamati, is by far the most comprehensive cartoon character I have ever lay my eyes on.It is a very shocking revelation to learn about what is happening at minimal farm.No wonder why some people in our little town decided to quit minimal farms with the promise that they coming back for Hashtag Momla, and some stayed to fight.The people of minimal town wants deliverance from Hashtag Momla Rekati, aka Mr potato head, Mr pearhead yappa, at any cost.Hashtag Momla is now a case study in the cartoon world.. Thanks to to the people of minimal farms unlimited. Reports also has it that the people of minimal farms in our little town promised never to over look Hashtag Momla, sometimes called atemu jamaati, aka Buukii aka westluver again.I also heard that one of Hashtag’ infamous character depicted by almost all the newspapers is to get big fish and tank them.The tanks are always dirty and this is why the people of minimal farms unlimited are planning to bring in those fish that cleans tanks.Hashtag Momla Rekati don’t care, because he has no mouth, no eyes, no nose and no face.He cannot know what is going on!! He lost three quarters of his senses.He is doomed.

  7. This is what it is all about Kemo, A TANK CLEANER, of trained dolphins or with the lasted and most efficient technology/ies available.
    For far too long scary cartoon Hashtag Momla, been scaring not only the kids, but their parents and their parent!

  8. Lol,, @ Ggapm Agapm, aha!! them dolphins..they are cold to the bone..By the way you once mentioned Liberia in one of your piece, I must tell you I also passed through there 3 weeks ago.Liberia is now beautiful than ever.I stayed at P. street in L.. county..You will know these places if you are familiar with LIB.I saw the work that the late Samuel Doe did in terms of infrastructures as well as that of Charles Taylor.They all unique and has appealed to certain kinds of LIBS, but Mrs Sirleaf Johnson’s approach is what is jaw breaking.Try check things out one more time when you out there again.

  9. @Troy, I may sound to you drugged, but to tell you curious bad minded type the truth, I lived in Negril, Jamaica, for quite a while and it was a wonderful experience!
    I learned from another bright contributor that you are a big family man and therefore you likely to grab for anything that passes by.
    Please don’t inform the DEA!, because they will DISH-TROY me.

  10. @Kemo, AAAHAA now you’ll believe what I said, so goes the saying ‘seeing is believing.’
    Yes I know the counties there and I, for most of my stay there, lived in a populated neighbourhood in O. Monrovia.Though I won’t name the neighbourhood or give the name of any street. ABEE

    Mrs. Sirleaf Johnson?
    I never really mentioned her because I have had this feeling she wants to dirty the ‘tank’ out there again, much more after her trampling of demonstrators during the Ebola out break, and even the killing of some of them.

    I think, that is the type of ‘cartoon character’ case that is preoccupying many Gambians today.

    Great effort Kemo!, life goes on and surely ends will meet. I can only imagine that resourceful Gambians are present in the diaspora.

  11. Just because Hashtag Momla Rekati is sometimes shown holding his signature cow tail in one hand and a dry fish in the other, does not make himb a man, says the people of Minimal unlimited in our little town.It might be a good down payment but that doesn’t scare the cartoonist..@Ggapm Agapm..Going to those counties in Liberia should have been a major pleasure.Mentally it was outstanding _just a Bliss to dive into, deep down the main reason for the Liberian conflict for the first time since the civil war has ended.Most conversations were pure and one hundred percent unfiltered. I went to those counties because you and I both know Liberia and the Gambia are almost alike except for few areas.Study the past to understand the present.I mentioned Sirleaf Johnson because she is a role model for West Africa.I think she doing a good job.We can get to that part later.. I went to all those counties and I met with so many local leaders. I visited with all the 16 tribes in Liberia.The bassa, Gio, Kpelle, kiss, Mandingo, etc, and the Krahn of which the late Samuel Doe came from.A lots of them lives in the rural areas from the inland. Some villages are a walking distance from Ivory Coast. You now getting the picture.. The krahn man as they are fondly called says eating frogs can make you jump krahn men blamed themselves for the Liberian war and some blamed the mandingos___ which is why they were targeted by Charles Taylor leading to the formation of The ULIMO, later into J and K.Taylor knew he was losing the war, so he had to give up.It took the Liberian few years before they could build the strength to go after Doe when the first few attempts failed. A woman president will be better for the Gambia through the transition .We will force Yaya Jammeh out and replace him with a woman as our transitional leader..Nobody will see her coming..

  12. @Kemo, congratulations for your endeavours getting that in depth experience of grassroot Liberia.
    I would like to see these border towns, espespecially it’s borders with Conakry.
    Mrs. Sirleaf Johnson?
    Kemo, I totally agree she was a role model until the Ebola out break. The dangerous disease that hit the three diamond rich countries at once, in my opinion was a dubious outbreak. The leaders of the three neighbouring countries as well, have demonstrated a very docile attitude in collaborating with the west, especially certain European countries, in the handling of the deadly out break. Among those leaders, is my role model, Sirleaf Johnson.
    It is documented that her administration carried out a scandalous evacuation of a high ranking government official from a neighbourhood believed to have a high victim rate.This was a move that let to the shooting and killing of a teenager.
    Kemo,…….a Mrs. President? I think any country in the region must be very well prepared for that. If that is going to be a referendum in the case of the Gambia in recent times, I will hesitate to cast my vote. No No Kemo, That’ll be long after Hashtag Momla perished. Leadership must be based on competence, credibility and etc.,
    and not on gender, however.
    In fact, that is all my ‘High’ is about; the majorities’ leadership, at the electorates’ free, fair and progressive will. Kemo, I am NOT drugged, and I hate the smell of alcohol, so am not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol when I say, ‘situation out in Minimal Farm Unlimited is a careful ‘case study’. In one of your comments, that NO, that Hashtag Momla shouldn’t be any body’s fool even before his Hashtag Momla feature came into effect, is something worth while for one to heed to. Kemo, ‘Mrs. Her excellency’ is still ringing in my, in my mind, in my mind.

  13. @ I would not call them border towns, for I’ve said earlier that I don’t see borders in Africa. I always see EYESFRICA. We have a right to entertain some doubts as to whether a person is under any types of influence, being it drug, alcohol or Thomas Paine, lol, honestly Ggapm, I don’t think you are under the influence of any of these. I think you a big old conservative. You conly let me down when you said you will hesitate to vote. The Gambian people are ready for a Madam President. I told you that nobody will see her coming…That is the first element of surprise. When it comes to qualifications, I can name a dozen women in the Gambia who are far more better qualified than Yaya Jammeh. These women have the capabilities to lead any nation in the world. I think you should come up with a different point. The pros outweigh the cons when it comes to women presidency. I think you should give it a thought. Gpam Agapm, they have more compassion….

  14. @Kemo, you are right. A fifty five country continent don’t really seem to me to be a nice thing either at a continental perspective. However, for now thats is the way it is.
    Thanks for your confidence in my online sober and your advice for tolerance.
    Whatever THOMAS PAINE is, makes me not just LOL but ROFL…
    Big old conservative?
    No Mr. Kemo, to tell you the truth, I don’t even know to which political camp I belong.

    With regards to a ‘Her Excellency’ in office, we will come to that when you are sure of Hashtag Momla’s gender, because his signature cow tail and dry fish coudn’t convince most at Minimal Farm Unlimited.

  15. Ggapm Agapm. Thomas paine,,What! this time i doubt you Ggapm Agapm,, you got MsftPPPF under your finger tips. You know what i am talking about..You and I both know that you don’t have to be a member of any political organisation to turn the pillow over in the Gambia. I myself, I am moderate when it comes to political parties. I dont beong to any camp.If you don’t want a Madam president in the Gambia, being conservative is lack of a better word.The Gambia under yaya jammeh at the moment is a spinning coin.It is up for a grab, therefore it may fall either way,,, Mister it Madam President. Aha here we go again.,, You now agree that Hashtag Momla Rekati is the most fascinating cartoon character. The people of minimal farm don’t eat cartoons, we watch them, and the people of the Gambia don’t eat words, we read and hear them to understand .I can read your lines LOUD and CLEAR.If the majority will say who becomes the next president of the Gambia, are women in the minority? Ggapm.I think this was a surprise to you and to many I have talked to,but they always see it as a good idea.I hate to tell you this, but this it is building momentum among Gambians and friens of the Gambia. You didn’t see this coming, did you? the Gambia is ready more than ever for a Madam President..This campaign has already started.I urge you to join, put the conservatism aside, and let us work for a change in the Gambia BY ALL MEANS NECESSARY, with all due respect sir

  16. @Kemo, but first of all, I think it will not be a mare change of office, from Monsieur to Madam or Madam to Monsieur, however, but that capable citizen who can intelligently govern or preside by the ‘book’, authored by all Gambians in their free and right desire.

    But how could one underestimate the capability of the Gambian woman, looking at this young generation of them, with the likes of Mrs. Fatoumata Bensouda, Mrs. Mariama Khan and Siray Touray just to mention a few. Apologising for any inconvenience, mentioning these names might have caused.

    Two young ladies I followed in the
    kairo news forum, will humble every BREAKING NEWS. It was hard for me
    to believe they could make me feel that inferior, with that apparent intelligence, steadfastness and academics. I think right now, both are capable of giving a speech at the UN without a piece of note…eeh, Kemo?
    And please don’t take for granted that puts me a place in any camp.

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