MY FIRST WORKING VISIT TO THE GAMBIA IN 15 YEARS: FINANCIALLY A DISASTER;NON- FINANCIALLY A SUCCESS!
By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu, back in Cologne, Germany
My Dear Brother President Jammeh, I am safely back in my second home of Germany after unexpectedly staying in your republic longer than planned. My initial 12 ended up as a 70-day working visit from Friday November 09, 2012 to Friday January 18, 2013. We seem to have something brotherly in common for Fridays here! Not bad. Am now on my way to Burkina Faso for the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) and additional research for my planned monumental film on the legendary Captain Thomas Sankara. After that I should return to the Gambia to continue from where I stopped in my current major film project on the rape of women and girls in society.
As the saying goes, when a torn pair of trousers recognizes your right and freedom to stand up, you should also avoid sitting down carelessly in it. I have no reason to hate the Jammeh System as it has shamed my detractors and lousy haters on my behalf. My conscience will torment me should I be a double-tongued hypocrite.
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME
The jealous detractors have been praying for me to be arrested, prosecuted, jailed, tortured, poisoned, embarrassed, snubbed or abused by President Jammeh or his subordinates any time I step on the Gambian soil. Having failed in their wicked wishes, they started badmouthing me that I went home to lick boots, beg and sell my soul. In their retarded mindsets, any responsible person who is fond of telling truth to power should be punished by President Jammeh directly and indirectly. If that person remains unharmed he or she must have sold his soul. What a nasty and backward view!
Look, not all the fingers on a hand are of the same length! President Jammeh has proven in my case that he is not the blood-thirsty alien some people try to make of him. I am neither a court jester nor a town crier. Dr. Yahya Jammeh knows I am a genuine vanguard public intellectual and reasonable strategic thinker who is not after instant gratifications and materialistic vanity. I have no bad intention against him, his family and the Gambian people. I do tell him the useful truth that would help make life easier for him in a swamp of greed, hypocrisy and lies he finds himself in. Besides, I belong to the creative class and I have the professional license to be mentally-free, stubborn, political incorrect, provocative, innovative, unconventional and somewhat impudent. President Jammeh and all those who genuinely care about his Jammeh legacy should maintain keen interest in having me alive, well and blossoming in my endeavours. Sorry, I will not elaborate!
Those who have their relatives taking President Jammeh´s jobs, contracts, monies and gifts, don't have the moral credibility to call me names. Charity begins at home. They should first tell their relatives to stop the boot-licking they have been doing throughout the first or second republic before wasting their calories on me as I will never listen to them. The Gambia is not their families´ private property and they don't have the right to stop me from starting serious permanent development projects in our Gambian motherland.
The others in the Diaspora, who claim that I sold my soul to Jammeh by adding Gambia to the centre of my creative gravity, are being selfish and hypocritical. They are sending money home everyday and contributing at least 15 percent to the Gross Domestic Project of the Jammeh government they claim to be opposing and fighting while attacking other people who start something productive. Only when they stop their remittances, I will take their anti-Jammeh noise seriously. They cannot tell others to sacrifice their lives and properties for their so called “emancipation” of the Gambia when they and their families continue to share the national cake or stay out of the front-lines while exploiting the opportunities between Kartong and Koina. Some of them have their friends and relatives committing the crimes against their fellow Gambians they are accusing Yahya Jammeh of. They will only turn against Jammeh when they run afoul of him. Let the idiots be indoctrinated by them and their false prophets of perdition.
I am contributing my quota towards the development of the Gambia through the productive copy-right based creative industries. People are free to lie that I am selling more than my soul to Dr. Yahya Jammeh. I am focused and their bashing will never discourage me. They did not pay my school fees and did not contribute a Butut to my travel expenses. I will cook stones for lunch than expect my critics, haters and detractors to sponsor my current high impact film project. They cannot also stop other genuine entities from cooperating with me.
LIVE AND LET LIVE: FIGHT YOUR HATED YAHYA JAMMEH AND LEAVE ME TO FIGHT THE STAGNANT ATTITUDES IN SOCIETY
We live in a free world. I said it before and I repeat it again: those who feel Yahya Jammeh is the Gambia's problem should act like real men and women by going to fight or remove him from power. Enough of the idle talks! My stance is that the Gambia’s problem is NOT Yahya Jammeh but the ATTITUDES, BIGOTRY AND PRUDERY IN THE GAMBIAN SOCIETY. Even if someone paints the sky red, I will not change my stance. I am already fighting the attitudes my way. My unconventional civic education commentaries aside, the current film project on the rape of women and girls is part of my measurable fight for attitudinal change in and out the Gambia. I entered the Gambia to prove that I mean business while my detractors are still fantasizing with their keyboards and feeding garbage in and out of the internet spaces. Who is now the lousy coward howling from a distant comfort zone?
It is interesting that some of the hypocrites who call themselves as anti-Jammeh have shown more dictatorial tendencies than President Jammeh. They claim to be tolerant democrats but would not miss a second to call for me to be censored as they cannot stomach the bitter truth I tell them! They forget that I will always have the platforms around the globe to express myself and as a life-long option I can easily float my own online and offline newspaper to write on whatever I like and there is nothing they can do to stop that. I will continue to participate, without fear or favour, in our national discourse with reason, humour and the inconvenient truth. Anyone who cannot live with it can go hang. No human being is forced to read my writings. I am thankful that I have the guts and audacity to dip my fingers into taboos and sensitive societal topics that the hypocrites will never dare touch. Love me or hate me, I am an ultimate Alpha Boy to reckon with.
PECUNIA NON OLET
No risk, no fun and serious businesses involve risk-taking. I took the risk to enter the Gambia and operate as a loss leader. I therefore deserve the right to reap the benefits of my risky moves if not today then as of my second working visit. I am at end of the day, Sarahulleh. If I should choose between making politics and making money, I will always go for legitimate and innovative money-making. There is nothing shameful or criminal about it as it is also part of my wealth creation and management traditions and I don't need truckloads of cosmetic college certificates for that. After all, pecunia non olet, money does not stink! Since I decided to be politically neutral or independent in the Gambia, I will focus on business and social cultural aspects of the Gambian political economy parallel to my continuing participation in our national intellectual discourse across the political spectrum. Anyone who has problem with it is free to sue me as spewing hate messages against me offline and online will never shake me.
RE-AFFIRMING MY ENDORSEMT OF, AND SOLIDARITY, WITH DR. JAMMEH
I warned the intolerant anti-Jammeh folks that the more they attack me with their hate tirades, the more they push me into Yahya Jammeh´s arms and now they got it. If endorsing Dr. Jammeh is a crime, then George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Akon, Jackie Chan, Gerard Depardieu and other celebrities who endorse the sitting presidents of USA, Senegal, China, Russia and other countries are guilty of the same crime. I have the right to even join the next delegation of Google Incorporated to North Korea, Cuba and China to talk business with the leaderships in those countries. The armchair critics can boycott Google and accuse its executives and shareholders of bowing to dictators. That will not make Google change its business plans for its targeted lucrative markets to appease them.
My Brother President Jammeh, after experiencing positive surprises in the Gambia in spite of some painful mishaps and my low expectations, it is only noble for me to once again re-affirm my endorsement of, and unflinching solidarity with, your Excellency and your government as I expressed in my lettered trip assessment to you dated January 14 and February 04, 2013. I am prepared to damn the consequences of my endorsement of you be they positive or negative. Professionally confessing, I am not part of the quickie “Nollywood” hype system. I cannot therefore expect to come to the Gambia and get millions in un-bureaucratic sponsorship deals for Nollywood-like Gambian projects that cannot make it through international standard distribution, get access to first class locations with ease, abuse Pan African solidarity by reducing the Gambian cast and crew members to slaves, exploit the Gambian hospitality and get away with a smile into the banks in Lagos, New York, Dubai or London as some Nollywood folks have been, and will keep doing to the Gambia. I am part of the international standards for professional nobility, ethics, passion, patience, modesty and responsibility with emphasis on legacy benefits for the countries we operate in.
I have once again proven that my endorsement of President Jammeh is not for money and positions. Some people compete for Jammeh´s attention and largesse if not by fighting to meet him in person then by feigning support or dedicating him songs, books, arts, farms, works and children.
Meeting President Yahya Jammeh was not part of the targets of my first working visit of November 2012. I was therefore caught unprepared when government officials told me to request a meeting with the President of The Republic. I did not know how to proceed and was advised to do it in writing. I did it and made some follow-ups without staying in one place just to wait for a response. I kept moving across the Gambia to work on what brought me into the country in the first place. A meeting with Jammeh did not happen. I am neither ashamed nor worried as I did not plan or expect it anyway. I could have forced myself into Jammeh´s eyesight by inviting myself into the various public events that had President Jammeh in attendance but I exercised restraint and self-discipline by staying away.
I found myself just a handshake away from Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy after the 2013 budget speech at the national assembly ground and at the funeral of our ex-GRTS DG Momodou Sanyang but I did not join the competition to be noticed by her. When I was leaving the late Momodou Sanyang`s compound, I literally bumped into the Minister of Tourism and Culture (MoTC), Fatou Mass Jobe Njie and we greeted. She returned “Sankanu how are you?” I said fine and let her join the other mourners. Since I met the Permanent Secretary of her ministry, Momodou Joof, in the first week of my arrival in the Gambia, I did not see the urgent need to request an audience with her. She already knows why I entered the country and my mission is in line with the mandates of the MoTC. If she wants to support or meet me, she has the means for that. Same is right with the Minister in charge of Women´s Affairs. She needs not be told about the importance of my film project on gender-based violence for the gender policy of the Gambia Government.
When I met the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr. Njogu Bah, at the same funeral of our late ex-GRTS DG Momodou Sanyang, he called me “the guy I am monitoring.” This statement made me feel safer and freer! Some people get worried when they even hear from second or third sources that they are being monitored. I heard it live and direct from the most powerful minister in Jammeh´s System and felt comfortable like a fish in water. My intentions for the Gambia are peaceful, productive and genuine. I will not engage in hypocritical, subversive or counterproductive activity against the Jammeh Establishment I freely endorse. Only those at home and abroad who see me as a threat to their privileges would try to poison my eventual working relationship with the Jammeh government with the usual infighting, character assassinations, insinuations and false testimonies. When I wrote about my rendezvous with rural Gambian politics, our Jimara district chief and other regional/district APRC stalwarts, as one out of many examples, tried but failed to scare my parents in our village of Sotuma Sere by claiming that I went on TV to humiliate/insult them. They did not like truth I wrote in the papers, not on TV as they misinformed, about their continuing marginalization and misrepresentation of my Sotuma Sere village before the Jammeh government and, their hidden ambitions for grabbing our lands. I will keep the other examples from the Greater Banjul Area by some people in government to myself for now.
GAMBIAN PUBLIC POSITIONS NOT AT ALL COSTS
In my first week in the Gambia, I was asked if I am offered a colourful government job including that of a vice president, would I accept or reject it. I am humbled that some people feel I am fit for the position of vice president but I made it clear that I did NOT come to the Gambia for that. For now I can better serve the Gambia in the creative sector and as public intellectual proffering productive useful smart ideas for the advancement of society. Most of my former colleagues at GRTS were elated in seeing me. They encouraged me to “come back. You can do a lot here and help bring back the viewers watching foreign satellite channels more than our national TV...” I told them and not sure if the people in charge of final decision making for GRTS would understand and approve the dynamic and liberal educative programmes I would have in mind. My time and talent could be wasted again with red-tape, excuses and in-fights. Though I am open to serving my country in public positions I am deemed competent to run, but not at all costs. If I cannot leave behind a good productive legacy, I will not take government or government-related jobs just for the fancy cars, allowances and prestige. So those holding government jobs in domestic or diplomatic services of the Gambian state have no reason to lie against me before President Jammeh or his inner circles. I am not desperate to get their positions.
Another government official who saw me together with Dr. Njogu Bah said I should request an official courtesy call to him. Then he was briefly moved to the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI). When I went to GRTS, I passed by his office and dropped my mobile phone number with his secretary that I am available for a courtesy call to him, his time permitting. Before leaving the GRTS complex, I went back to his office and the secretary told me Dr. Bah would be leaving for Banjul for a meeting and would return my call once less busy. I could not follow up and later I heard he was moved back to his former position in the Office of The President.
THE GAMBIAN VISIT WAS OF LOW EXPECTIONS ON MY SIDE
People never stopped asking if I met President Jammeh or his top officials. I told them Jammeh and his kitchen cabinet were very well aware of my presence and well-publicised mission in the Gambia. If they wanted to see me in person, they got the wherewithal for it to happen. All I am interested in now is for no one to waste my time and sabotage me. I got my recognition as film producer from the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and this removed some obstacles off my way for a start.
Most of the people and institutions who are willing to partner me in my film project on violence against women, told me they were concerned that the Jammeh government could arrest and prosecute me over my provocative commentaries or other invented charges and this could jeopardize the film project. Though the recognition letter from NCAC made some comfortable, others were still asking if Jammeh would officially agree to support my film project that complements his government’s policy in addressing gender-based violence in the Gambia before they can have the courage to come on board. They said if he can “throw fortunes in projects of Nigerians and Senegalese performance artistes who are not even recognized by the statutory NCAC, he should not wait to back productive Gambians like you.” I told them for my first working visit, I was not expecting even a Butut from him.
I visited the Gambia with very low and modest expectations so as to shield myself against false hopes, wastage of time and disappointments. Am however grateful that my freedoms of movement, speech, association and residency were never restricted by the Jammeh government and I say once more: thank you to the powers-that-be. If he (President Jammeh) voluntarily decides to patronize me as sponsor for my film project, he will be honoured in line with international standards for arts patronage without it being misconstrued as paid propaganda or advertisement. Successive USA governments, be they Democrats or Republican, are on the records for supporting Hollywood projects on the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbour, the capture of Osama Bin Ladin and on zillions of others issues since the birth of the American film industry and no one is accusing the Hollywood producers of being tools of presidential or government propaganda. Their works are selling American national brand and ingenuity to the world.
I was just constrained by the fact that I had to adjust to the Gambian realities by sacrificing more time and, the theft of my financial access cards made it impossible for me to pay for some of the key targets of my working visit with ease. Since arriving in the Gambia on November 09, 2012, I was spraying Euros into the domestic Gambian economy without seeing a single return on investment. Financially speaking, a disaster. But I am in for permanent contributions towards the development of the Gambia and if I don't see the returns now, maybe later in other forms. From my body language people detected that I was indeed a bloody stranger who was out of the country for a very long time. Some exploited it by charging me “toubab” tourist or “semester” prices for goods and services. It was my new princess manyo who detected it and made sure I paid the same price as domestic Gambians.
THE “BARAKA” BLESSINGS THAT SAVED ME FROM EMBARRASSMENTS
Though the detractors had a field day when they heard of the robbery of my wallet, cash and bank cards, they failed for a second time as the “baraka” blessings bestowed on me by my brave ancestors saved me from financially-embarrassing situations both in the Gambian and Germany.
When I was checking out of the Banjul International Airport, the problem with overstaying that the immigration officers at the Bundung Police Station told me about came up. I did notify the Office of The President about it and related matters ahead of time but may be the letter never reached the right desk for action. I had my plan B ready though. If at all the immigration officers insisted that I would not leave the Gambia, I would just go home and apply for a Gambian passport to leave country at a later date. Once I enter Europe, I will keep the Gambian passport and use the European one to move around with. But I benefited from a kind of “celebrity bonus” as my names and face got recognized and I was allowed to pass through to the boarding gate with “seen on departure” stamped on my German passport.
Shortly before boarding, a guy I never met before in real life came to greet and wish me a safe flight. To my surprise he called me by my full names but that did not stop me from shaking his hands as I have nothing to hide or suspect. He said he was observing my moves all along. I was impressed. So from the moment I entered the airport terminal's departure lounge someone was following my movements. Thanks!
When I landed at Frankfurt, things went so smooth and I was lucky to have escaped the heavy snow falls that disrupted road and air traffic before and after my arrival. The German federal police officer, who was checking passports took mine, looked at my face, smiled and told me: welcomed home. After collecting my luggage, I once more felt the theft of my credit and bank cards. I saw ATMs but could not use them to withdraw money and pay for my trip to Cologne. It snowed the night before and it was freezing dead. Driving a car was not convenient as the roads were covered with dangerous and slippery snow.
The three options for me were to spend the weekend in an airport hotel, take a domestic flight to the Cologne-Bonn airport or board the high speed Inter City Express (ICE) bullet train to Cologne. In all three options, I needed bank cards, if not cash, to pay as I am now in a virtually cash-less economy. Deferred payments through invoice could be done but then I would prefer the train just to be home on time. I then went to the train station and waited for the ICE train to my home city. When the train arrived, I walked straight to the two female conductresses accompanying it. I told them I was away for at least two months. My wallet with financial access cards was stolen and I spent more money than I initially budgeted for my working visit. I cannot access my bank accounts for now but I will pay later on invoice. The two ladies agreed but said the invoice would cost me more as it would include the fare and administrative charges. I told them no problem. If I don't pay, they knew how to get me as I belong to the class of people who can no longer hide in this world.
When the train reached Cologne, I waited till all the passengers alighted hoping to get the invoice last. No one of the conductresses came. I then slowly stepped onto the platform to look out for them. One of the conductresses later came to me and said: it is okay “Hoheit” German for highness, you don't have to pay! You may go home and rest! I thanked the lady in my usual way of bowing my head and tapping my chest in gratitude.
On my way to my house, I told myself: if your heart is clean and compassionate, mind open, personality noble, comportment modest, intentions good and soul pure, you will never face serious embarrassment and adversity. Your haters and detractors would disturb you but you will always prevail at the end of the day. “QAD AFLAHA MAN ZAKKAH. WAQAD KHABA MAN DASSAHA. Truly he succeeds that purifies it (soul). And he fails that corrupts it!” Qur´an. Surat Al Shams 9-10.
My first visit to the Gambia was a learning mission and very educative. I was privileged to study the political and socio-cultural realities of the country from the unadulterated perspectives of the men and women on the streets. I never walked a metre without someone recognizing my face or stopping me for a chat. My trip was not financed by those supporting or opposing the Jammeh government. I was able to independently report on what I experienced and saw based on my conscience and, free of political propaganda. What I wrote about was just a fraction of what I kept out. People confided in me and those who got assurances that “I will not write about it” can now confirm that I only wrote on what the general public should know now.
The Gambia government is one of the main beneficiaries of my working visit and traveller's reports though it did not spend a Butut on me as with that expensive stage-managed Reverend Jesse Jackson trip that the world has long forgotten about. According to some reports, Reverend Jackson felt being used and is now “remorsefully” calling on his “brothers and sisters in The Gambia…keep fighting for freedom and justice, let The Gambia- the land of our roots show the way... ” I saw it coming when I analysed his haphazard publicity visit and recorded blunder over “free education” in the Gambia. It must have “stained” him just as former USA Secretary of State, General Colin Powel’s, blunder at the UN Security Council over imaginary Iraqi chemical weapon evidence.
My bloody stranger reports were close to the hearts of the countless tourists and potential investors flocking into the country and hungry for something different from what they read every day in favour or against the Jammeh system. One thing is clear: The Gambia is not the hell on earth that some people have been trying to create. It is also not yet the paradise or city-state others are drumming up. It is just a young developing African country with unique characteristics and challenges. Those howling to replace Yahya Jammeh will not turn the Gambia into a land of milk and honey either. Some peoples´ hatred of Yahya Jammeh should not blur the perspectives of genuine Gambians and friends on the Gambia on the perpetual quest for credible alternatives as a nasty fight for relevance in a post-Jammeh situation will throw the country backward. Not all the folks fighting Jammeh are doing it for the Gambians on the streets. You can squeeze life out of me if you like but this is the undeniable truth!
As the saying goes, put your mouth where your money is. Those who did not chip in money into my trip have no right to ask me to write about the Gambia according to their interests. I financed my trip and project so far from my own legally-earned Euros and thus reported on the Gambian realities according to my pragmatism, interests and conscience. Those who cannot respect or appreciate it should man up by taking the risk of entering the Gambia to report on what they believe is the “true reality” using their true identities and contact details. This will make them more credible than cowardly purging out bullshit over my Gambian traveller's report, appearance on TV shows and other activities in their mailing lists, news sites and social media networks.
Alas, I have set a trend. More Gambians visiting the country will now be motivated to write about their experiences in the homeland to break the monopoly of those who feel they have the right to keep taking people as gullible consumers of excessive pro and anti government propaganda.
REALITY TEST OF MY PEDIGREE IN THE SARAHULLEH COMMUNITY, ETC
After my printed commentary on the challenges of our Gambian Sarahulleh ethnic nation, some people said I would lose my influence, value and respect in the wealthy Sarahulleh community. I told them if that is the price for telling the truth, fine by me. But my traditional marriage boosted my social standing as I won more people over to my side. Sarahulleh elders who congratulated me told me “Serexore”, Sarahulleh for great person, “the White man’s education did make you forget who you are and where you came from...We will respect and listen to that you say... Wisdom is not restricted to age...”
When the members of the productive Dynamic Sarahulleh Association (DSA) organized their fourth anniversary at the Tallinding Buffer Zone stadium, I was invited to present certificates to the deserving members of the association and the Sarahulleh community. This was after the publication of my commentary on my people. The next day, they organized a concert with Jalika Diawara, a female Malian Sarahulleh pop star, at Jokor Bar and Restaurant at the Westfield junction. I was requested to give a motivational speech before the Sarahulleh youths who came all over the Greater Banjul Area to celebrate. The event coincided with the NAYCONF 2012 (National Youth Conference) in Bansang and thus lost out on media coverage. Some of the Sarahulleh youths who had direct exchanges with me said I am an inspirational role model and they would like to learn more from me. I assured them I will now be jetting in and out of the Gambia regularly and time for productive exchanges will always be on my agenda. I later told myself: some detractors were claiming that I have no influence and pedigree in the Sarahulleh community and my respect was waning. Well, the reality test in the urban and provincial areas has proven the opposite. I just pity folks who believe in, and act on, lies spread against people without taking their times to question the motives of the perpetrators.
I cannot quantify my pedigree in the academia as I did not have time to pass by the University of The Gambia (UTG) and did not also meet many people for liberal battle of ideas. However some UTG students who met me accidentally near the Ahmadiya Muslim Hospital gratefully told me they have been quoting me in their assignments! What more do I need to ask for in this life? As one prominent Gambian said I am a “fulfilled intellectual.” How many of those noise-makers fuming against me have ever been quoted by even day-care toddlers?
Before that my alma mater Nusrat Senior Secondary School invited me to give a motivational speech before the school assembly. I gave it with pride and bowed before the students and teachers in gratitude. When I visited “Foroyaa” to greet Editor Sam Sarr and his team, I also met social scientist Halifa Sallah. We hugged each other dearly and he told me that they understand me very well. All the other smart thoughts Halifa and I exchanged as secular voices of reason are not for public consumption from my side. At Dippa Kunda I visited the offices of the “Gambia News and Report” monthly. Veteran journalist and publisher Swaebou Conateh recognized me and said among others that I am a “prolific writer.” I feel humbled that responsible Gambians have been appreciating me contrary to the bashing I receive from the jealous keyboard mobsters. The latter are irrelevant nonentities, anyway.
THE GAMBA - EU BROUHAHA
People have been contacting me for my opinion on the current war of words between the EU (European Union) and the Jammeh government. When Abdoulaye Wade, Macky Sall, Alpha Condé and President Jammeh were trading gangster vocabulary, I rained in with reason in the interest of SeneGambian and West African harmony.
I have very interesting insights on The Gambia-EU brouhaha but will keep them to myself for now as I am in a kind of moral dilemma. On one hand, I am aspiring to become Member of the EU Parliament (MEP) whenever strategically favourable and Realpolitik demands that I should not say or do something that could make my European voters disrespect me. Gambians at home and abroad and the Gambia government of the day will neither vote for me nor sponsor my expensive MEP election campaign. Africans did not invest even a Cent or milligram of their resources on Barack Obama but are behaving as if they own and put him inside the Oval Office. Anyone who does not invest tangible or intangible resources on me has no exclusive birth right to later claim compulsory benefits from me. I will simply reciprocate for those who value me as human asset in good and bad times as one good turn deserves another. The rest will just be based on free humanist philanthropy.
On the other hand, I am contributing my quota towards the development of our own world standard Gambian film and creative industry and I would not like raw irrational politics to evaporate my exuberance and patriotic zeal. So the Jammeh government and the EU can shout out their lungs at each other if they so desire. It is not my problem!
MORE GRATITUDES AND FREE THOROUGHBRED ELITE EDUCATION
On a humorous note, please do not ridicule me when you meet me and I yawn or laugh until you see a gap in my teeth line-up. It is a “souvenir” of my first Gambian working visit. I returned to Germany with excruciating tooth ache and the dentist had to remove it. For the next three months, I am medically conditioned to move around with this gap while the implanting process of new tooth prosthesis lasts. Anyway I am so busy and mobile that meeting me in person without appointment can be considered a matter of “luck.”
I would like to thank all my fans, mentors, families and true friends who have been calling, texting, “facebooking” or emailing me from all over the world to enquire about my general well-being when I was in the Gambia. May the god you believe in reward you manifolds. I have more good news to share with my well-wishers: the German federal government has, once again, boosted my morale by pampering me with another post graduate scholarship! It can be considered as a kind of “compensation” for the cascading damages done to my plans, time and finances by mishaps I experienced in the Gambia. Among them, the juicy performance arts contracts I lost when my stay in the Gambia got extended due to circumstances beyond my control such impromptu public holidays, theft of my high value wallet with bank cards, slow pace of things, Brikama-ba dumping and the likes. When I requested President Jammeh to boost my morale over the afore-stated mishaps some myopic people said I was asking “him to steal from Gambian taxpayers!” Well the German state has unexpectedly tapped me on my shoulders from its tax revenues without excessive bureaucracy and I am yet to hear Germans, tax payers and non-taxpayers, complaining for they know it is a worthwhile investment in me as human asset. When one door is closed, another one will be opened as long as your intentions are noble.
Arrangements have been made for me to do the post graduate programme in part-time basis to accommodate my Gambian engagements. All academic and related expenses are covered. I am grateful that since migrating to Germany in 1998 I have not been paying even a Cent for quality education, be it through compelling student loans or work-study. My personality and brain cells have been serving as the currencies and blank cheques for my elite access to thoroughbred education with zero financial burdens on me. It is gratifying to be among the chosen few. “Allah kananfa njawolu laluna.” Mandinka for, Allah don't kill me on the field day of my enemies!
This year 2013 can be described as a success for me already. I started it with a serene princess on my side and I would be concluding it with an additional academic credential. So even if my Gambian film industry projects fail, I would have nothing to regret. The prayers and reinforced
blessings I got during my visits to my ancestral shrines in the Gambia and Casamance are bearing fruits. People, keep your hearts clean and your minds open then more doors of prosperity will be opened for you!
Oh, Friday is now a non-working day in the Gambia. Fine, Wednesday should also be recognized as rest and prayer day for the believers of African Traditional Religions. Then what is good for the goose is good for the gander!
See you soon in the Gambia for my second working visit with hopefully more productive results.
Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu
Afromedia Film & Television International Group,
Sankanura Afirikisobe Filmworks,
D-51067 Cologne, Germany/
Sotuma Sere Village, URR, The Gambia, West Africa,
SMS/Tel.: +4915216265814 (Germany),
SMS/Tel.: +2206774620 (Gambia),
Commercial Register: HRA 25199 Cologne, Germany,
Tax IDs: 218/ 5034/2995 and 218/5030/2061 Revenue Office of Cologne,
Member of Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry No: 99256648,
Gambia Revenue Authority TIN: 1212844234.
Excuse the hidden typos!