By Nyang Daddy Njie
Banjul is a city with one thorough way (Denton Bridge) and it is boarded by the river with a majestic panoramic view of Barra also known as Wala deh facing north, Lamin, Mandinary and Bonto facing south. The city of Banjul is a blessed city and most soldiers of God (Saihou Oumar Futi Taal, Mam Mawdo Malick, Sayerr Matty Bah, Maba Jahou, Mam Mass Kah) have left their imprint in the city. Most compounds in the city has alternate access points called (port) and this was done for a specific reason by the elders of the city. These ports act as social conduits to facilitate and resolve social issues of Banjul and also maintain the social safety net of the city. Sutura was the operative word in the dispensation of social duties of the inhabitants of the city.
The city prided itself with men and women of distinction in all spheres of life. The business pedigree of men like Alhagi Sulay Sarr Penda Chorro, Alhagi Alieu Jeng, Allhagi Alieu Ceesay, Lie Samba Bokut Façon, The Carrols, Mahoneys, Forsters, Oldfields could have been the issue of a case study in a any Ivy league school. Fashionistas and Socialites like Njie artist, The hip and hot crew of (Everly Brothers) with men like (TijanFoon, Ebrima Dondeh, Ass John, Alfred Cummins & Omar Njie) controlled the social scene. The city also churned world class administrators and intellectuals that handled the affairs of not only the city but the country. Mr Erik Christensen, Sir Hardy Faye. AA Faal, Mr. Wadda, Pa Kamma Badjie, Uncle NSZ Njie were torch bearers and trail blazers of their time. Camden Vous, Kent street vous and other social clubs were breeding grounds for social reform and enlightenment in the city. A wollof adage “nopaamakborom” is evident with my narrative. I was too young to remember but I have seen many seniors of the city reminisce about the good old days.
Banjul invokes memories of yester years that bring back nostalgic feelings because I feel like a stranger in the midst of strangers. Wish I can have the city I once knew as Banjul back. Racing my miniature boat along the canals and gutters of Banjul was a joy. A childhood that was so eventful and joyous. For starters, I consider myself a hybrid Banjulian because I was born across the bridge at Westfield Clinic and spent most of my time in Banjul as a child. My parents are thorough bred Banjulians and they made sure that my values and social orientation were deeply rooted on the Banjul way of life.
I still have vivid memories of many a good afternoon spent at the Box Bar Stadium watching legends such as Butut Joof and Biri display their talents. A stone’s throw from the Box Bar stadium was the Tennis lawn young basketball players like Moses Malone (Suchet), Cooper (pa boy) and others were dazzled by our nouveau Yankees otherwise called Gamericans with their newly imported Basketball moves. The likes of Ousman Sabally, Mam Essa Gaye, Remi Joiner and Bai Malleh Wadda were the centre of attraction on the hard floor. Banjul had enough past time and Pakin was one of the favorites. Kaka Rass could have given Usain Bolt a run for his money on any diamond league circuit. Ndo Secka and Sal Drammeh gave the pakins daring pursuits on the stretch of Fitzerald Street. The fan fare in the city during sporting events was not only colorful but memorable. Men like Alieu Sallah and Oye (the rattle man) added to the fanfare.
Every city has its under world and the dons of the city had their base at the coconut grove behind the market called “pool” The city mob converged at pool to show case their exploits. Georgie was a permanent fixture alongside the midget AbouSey at this rendezvous. From pool one heads to the government wharf for a stash of groundnuts. Then off to wharfoNjago where Albert the crab king was exploiting the riches of the river for his daily sustenance with a bicycle wheel and net. From whafiNjago it was time to steal sweet potato around the Sanatorium and veer off to Sekabi in jollof town.
The late night culinary experience in the city was somehow diverse. Bange lal had great omlette with Bai Dam on the stove. Kaba at Peel Street was another good spot or Sawyer at Primet. A town will never be lively without men like Yusipha Jaiteh, kebbaBuya (schoolen) and lie bambajagne (awoh KT). I hated going back home to Fajara cos Banjul was this playground that had all the ingredients for a big screen blast. We listened to stories of the seamen. JC J of old perseverance narrated his adventures out west in the United States.
Banjulians are nice and peace loving