Sareti Bayelaa (The cart rider) The Kitabu Fatty dramedy series setting tongues wagging on YouTube and why TV stations in The Gambia should be airing it for the local audience in a win-win deal

Sareti Bayelaa (The cart rider) The Kitabu Fatty dramedy series setting tongues wagging on YouTube and why TV stations in The Gambia should be airing it for the local audience in a win-win deal

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Comedian Kitabu Fatty is now a household name when it comes to drama, comedy and lately politics. But his latest YouTube trending series is up there with the very best both from its storytelling an aesthetic value. Sareti Bayelaa captures the heart and soul of a close-knit pre-technology Gambian village immersed in the tangled web of love, rivalry, polygamy, cruelty of widowhood, traditional healing powers and the mythology of yesteryear. The series mainly revolves around a charming young man Lang Sareti, who would become the subject of a love triangle involving two contrasting characters Loli and her nemesis Sarjo. The voice of famed singer O Boy in the background adds a mood of somberness and relatability for anyone with village connections. 

So, here are key highlights in Episode 10.

Nyambi cries that the jabo he watered becomes another man’s harvest

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Nyambi, son of local marabout Baa Duwa vents his anger at Lang Sareti, the village’s favourite son. The two have their eyes transfixed on Loli, the fair-coloured girl from Kombo undergoing treatment in their community. As they square up, Nyambi insists he has ever since been grooming Loli to a point she is now fully ripe for harvest only for Lang Sareti to pluck her from under his nose. Meanwhile, Lang Sareti, in defence argues that the onion seed watered by Nyambi, in fact comes from him. The pair takes their war of words beyond matters of the heart as they bring in their fathers into the fight.

Grandma’s joni kala kiling comes handy

Sarjo in a desperate attempt to win over Lang Sareti appeals to her friend to provide her grandmother’s ‘joni kala kilingno’, a waist bead.  She also chides Lang Sareti for baby sitting or carrying Loli on his back, complaining that the actions of Loli best exemplifies the ways of Kombo dingdingolu who are only good at snatching other girls’ boys. She also vows to make Lang Sareti a cripple unless he cuts ties with Loli. What also infuriates Sarjo is the foro musso tag given to her by Lang Sareti.

Livid Baa Duwa stumbles on Kombo galo Loli and her sareti bayeela boyfriend

To add salt to injury, Baa Duwa, who heavily courted Lang Sareti’s mother stumbles on the popular sareti bayelaa and Loli in the village outskirts. As one would expect, Baa Duwa demands answers. And when Lang makes it known to the village Dibia that he and Loli are an item, the old man finds it hard to take. He reminds Lang about he (Baa Duwa’s) fruitless efforts in trying to make his mother a second wife

Baa Duwa, maddened by the fact that Loli is under his care for treatment, chases Lang Sareti with a cutlass threatening to kill him. He rants that Loli deserves to be sent back to Kombo because she fails to focus on her treatment and instead runs after a guy who possesses no other skill other than sareti bayo. 

Sarjo’s dalasi fula offer for a love potion targeting Lang Sareti turn farcical

Things get further complicated when Sarjo, the carefree archetypal village girl call on Baa Duwa to help her with a love potion that would endear her to Lang Sareti. What she doesn’t realise is that the man she is fighting for is not the much-feared marabout’s favourite cup of tea. Even the dalasi fula (two dalasi) offer from her couldn’t make Baa Duwa change his mind. Such is his dislike for Lang Sareti that Baa Duwa says he disapproves of anyone who has a tinge of love for Lang Sareti. 

Cultural significance and symbolism of Sareti Bayelaa

Overall, the cultural richness of the Sareti Bayelaa series cannot be overlooked. Names such as Duwa, Nyambi and Loli are common Mandinka names that seem to be disappearing now. Equally, costumes, especially that of Baa Duwa himself stands out. His robe-like bulakangno manifests simplicity at its best, his staff an insignia of authority and the whiteness of his attire a mark of spiritual purity.

Baa Duwa’s trademark lembangtoo hat and fatari dendinko feature prominently in the series with his no-nonsense persona represented by the band of cloth tied around his waist. The jono earlier mentioned can mean that a girl has come of age or a signifier of romance.