Why Gambia’s Reading Culture Is Dying

The author Ramatoulie Othman/Voice of the Pen

By Madi S. Njie

The President of the Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) said reading culture is dying in the country.

Dr. Cherno Barry, who is also the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, made these remarks at a recent session on Reading of the book entitled: “Risky Paths to Success”, authored by Ramatoulie O. Uthman, WAG Treasurer at the American Corner along Kairaba Avenue.

He further said the reason why people question about your education is that “we are too lazy to read. The reasons why we read is to increase our knowledge, widen your understanding of the world, and grammatical baggage. If you do not read you will not have excellent reading and writing skills.

“Reading makes you to be tolerant. If you don’t read you perish, you become emotional. You don’t have to be intelligent or hold a BA to write books. Reading inspires you,” he said.

Hassoum Ceesay Historian, longest serving Curator and Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for his part spoke on the importance of reading, noting that some people possess BA, Degree, etc but to write a normal letter is a problem, adding that the same thing affects the newsrooms in The Gambia. “That is why reading is good,” he said.

Commenting on the book authored by Ramatoulie Uthman he said “the lessons learned is that we have to make our country livable; we have to build our homeland” he said.

He explained among others that Madam Uthman portrays in her that we can make it at home, without risking our lives through irregular migrations.

Ramatoulie Uthman said she was motivated to write her book after having experience working with the Social Fare Department, through which she met broken and traumatised families, which compell some family members to risk their lives through the back way to Europe.

She explained that her book portrays how Alasan was abused by his Uncle after taking him from the provinces, which compelled  him to go through the back way, but later returned back home unsuccessful. He found colleagues he left home were successful.. Alasan later learned skills and develop himself upon his return and become successful, but those he left behind were ahead of him.

“I explain how you can rise above your level in my book,” he said.

She among others advised that elders need to transfer knowledge to young ones.

Other speakers include Modou Lamin Sowe- Secretary General – Gambia Writers Association.


One Comment

  1. Foday Camara

    This should not be allowed to happen.When the habit of reading and writting is not nurtured in our children, we are sowing the seeds of being re-colonised and therefore loose our competitiveness on the global platform of self-development.

    First of all in trying to tackle this problem,The negative aspects of our cultures that almost everybody indulged in needs to be addressed.BA holders who are not comfortable in writting a simple letter tells us that there are lots of intellectuals with brainwash education because they gave in to the stereotyped cultural practices that tends to boot out the calculating and reasoning skills out of us.
    Those capabilities can only be developed and improved by learning in the form of reading and writting first before any other quality of human development.

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