Back at the airport prior to our departure, I spotted, for the first time of our trip, evidence of the type of relationships Mamadi spoke of.When I say evidence, I mean, two separate white woman saying goodbye to what appeared to be their Gambian boyfriends.‘’If you do not do that [marry Gambians], in 10 – 15 years, Gambia will become a mixed-race society’’.He added: ‘’we believe that when you come for greener pastures and succeed, go back and marry our women and come back. They want to be married.” This is not the first time similar comments landed the Culture Minister in hot waters.We borrowed some wheels from the staff at Ngala Lodge and freely explored the local area and market, whizzing off as soon as any vendors tried to give us the hard sell.We were very appreciative of the men at the resort though when it came to adjusting the rusty seat on Jai’s bike – after much effort from 5 men the task was completed!Perhaps, because we were travelling as two young women together, we appeared exactly that – single.
We have a lot of women out there who are single and searching for husbands.
On our drive we had been told repeatedly that in Gambia it is normal to have many wives and persistently asked for our contact details.
When I said I had a boyfriend I was told, ‘he doesn’t need to know.’ So why were Jai and I singled out?
The Gambia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism , Hamat Bah has sparked another controversy when he said The Gambia is at risk of losing its cultural identity if Gambians living abroad refuses to go back home to marry Gambian women.
Speaking in Switzerland at a meeting with members of the local Gambian community, Minister Bah said he ‘strongly’ believes that Gambians living abroad who are ready to tie the knot should not abandon Gambian ladies for white women.