Boost for Gambian literature as book on Sukuta history launched

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A book documenting the 361-year rich history of Sukuta/Sabiji and the heroic past of the natives of the village has been launched over the weekend.

The book, entitled Sukuta/Sabiji Cultural History and authored by Ousman Mohammed Cham and Ousman Mamakeh Bojang, was launched by Amie Bensouda at the Sukuta Upper Basic School.

The book is a recollection of the town’s rich historical landscape, cultural rectitude, population movements and other significant developments in what is today modern Sukuta/Sabiji across time and space. It also provides the historical context for a better understanding of the dynamism of Sukuta/Sabiji’s interplay of a socio -cultural, political and economic milieu.

Ms Amie Bensouda, while launching the book, said the writers have made commendable efforts to rebuild the history of Sukuta/Sabiji. Therefore, she said, posterity will place them among the builders of local consciousness and self-actualisation in the country.

“This is another pace set for historians, political scientists, literary critics and other scholars interested in understanding the socio-political and local history of The Gambia by the authors, Ousman Mohammed Cham and Ousman Mamakeh Bojang,” she said.

She said a journey through this volume will lead to a critical understanding of Sukuta’s history, spanning the pre-colonial slave trade, to the resistance to European penetration to the era of colonial rule.
“It is a unique book interpreting history as it uses individual profiles to reveal the cartography of Sukuta/Sabiji. It is also monumental contribution not to only Sukuta/Sabiji historiography. It sets a new example in understanding and writing Gambian local history. It is a well-researched and packaged work which should be central part reading for all persons interested in the history of Sukuta/Sabiji the country and beyond,” she said.

She said the book being celebrated is fruits of a thorough research, well-articulated and presented. “The authors have done justice to the respective themes of their works.”

She called on Gambians and natives of Sukuta-Sabiji in particular to find time to read the book and challenged the permanent secretaries of both MOHERST and MoBSE to incorporate the book into the educational curricula from the basic to the tertiary levels in the country.

For his part, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Dr Cherno Omar Barry, the authors demonstrated that The Gambia does not lack the necessary brainpower to write her history.

He said: “Our history has always been written by non-nationals and therefore very prejudicial and stereotyping. Despite the fact that our cultures were richly documented by expert researchers their interpretations of the cultural interrelations within a richly diversified cultural environment has not adequately been reflected in their works”.

Hassoum Ceesay of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), reviewed the book and according to him, the authors Ousman Mohammed Cham and Ousman Mamakeh Bojang, have presented a precious treasure trove; a harvest of generations of mental cultivation.
He reaffirmed that at a time when the world is swimming in a deluge of a “Technology crusade”, it is important that gatherings of this kind, celebrating the power of the written word, be nurtured and cherished.

He said the authors’ research on Sukuta/Sabiji was well done, brilliantly documented with correct times and dates.
Babucarr Boye, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, commended the authors for their wonderful job and promised them of his office’s willingness to introduce the book into their school library, pledging two hundred copies instantly.

By Omar Bah

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