Tribal Grudges is a book of poetry written by Gambian poet and emerging author, Kawsu Sanneh (alias, NJA). The book is a 92-page thought-provoking collection of poems set in the Gambia. The book contains 91 poems about Gambian culture and it is written under the genre of contemporary African poetry, which can also classify the book as a sonnet due to the author’s literary prowess in poetry and limerick.
The language is domestically simple with distinct settings. This is followed by a page per page poetry, containing a delightful mixture of friendly, informative text and colorful rhymes. The gripping and empathetic poems in the book will draw pupils into engaging imaginatively with what life would have been like for families living during this time of contemporary Gambian society where the abuse of power, tribalism, corruption, and economic hardship is as lively as social media.
Perceiving in the poems as an adumbration of the author’s own transcendentalist philosophy, Kawsu Sanneh would remain a passionate admirer of the short poems in which they appear. The author’s work promotes heresy against what John Flecher calls ‘Upon An Honest Man’s Fortune. In the words of Kawsu Sanneh,
Aren’t they fears of tribalism
That tears us like depression
Who knew it?
The fears of division dividing our nation
Rambling decent hearts
With hatred and tattered souls
Surviving within deciphers
Of our fiery feet.
Most of the poems talk about life, humanity, morality and about self-love. Poems like Groans of The Innocent and Our Culture are Gambian-inspired poems that celebrate culture and peace.
The book would help children to learn that trying new things can be scary, but sometimes when we try, we can find things that make us happy too. And this book will help others know that mistakes are okay and part of learning. People who are interested in poetry and contemporary Gambian society would probably be interested in reading this book. An important part of any child’s development is their reading. Every child has a vivid imagination, so fueling this can help them develop ideas that in effect help how they visualize the world. Furthermore, it helps them to build empathy and understanding about our world early on. Of course, reading is also a pivotal part of mastering a language. It is a short read, but it gives an immense range and amount of information that you would not find in any other book or series on maps. The flowing way the chapters and stories are organized makes it easy to link its rich themes mapping The Gambia’s treasure box, filled with the seeds of tradition. In conclusion, I recommend that the book be used in primary and upper basic school, and be bought by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE).