Famara Fofana, a senior editor at The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), on Friday launched his debut book titled “When My Village Was My Village” at The Gambia Tourism and Hospitality Institute in Kanifing.
The launching was graced by dignitaries from various walks of life, family and friends of the author, also involved entertainment by rapper Bro K, other musicians, a drama played by the Nusrat Peer Health Group and a poem recited by young and dynamic poets.
The book, a fiction, tells the story of Bukamanka, a closely-knit African settlement, whose dwellers had long lived in harmony before domestic political wrangling and conflict of interest set a once happy people against one another. Consequently, the deep divisions sowed the seeds of discord, bickering and blackmail until the hosting of a grand male circumcision ceremony that forced a divided community to come together and preserve what remains of their much treasured social fabric. The spell-binding narrative provides the readers with a vivid picture of a village immersed in tradition, suspense and superstition.
The chief launcher of the book, Mr. Nana Grey Johnson, Dean of the School of Journalism and Digital Media at the University of The Gambia, where the author is a student, encouraged Famara Fofana to keep up the great job. He described “When My Village Was My Village” as a book with ancient messages that will go a long way in educating people about their history, culture, tradition, norms and values.
Mr. Grey-Johnson stated that the book carries a voice that illustrates a rhetorical self of indulgence, saying it is a material that has dragged old memories and portrayed good images of village activities in the past.
“The book is informative, especially page 6 and has carried a wide range of issues that many didn’t know about their villages. It is a voice that has come to give remembrance to amazing days that have gone and will never come back. It has shown the value of yesterday, recalling the minds of today and tomorrow,” he added.
Speaking at the occasion, Momodou Sabally, the director general of GRTS, praised Famara Fofana for not only having the interest to write but to write to recall the minds of people about their village activities in the past. “This book is interest for the fact that it has things in the past that the present should know,” he said.
He described Famara as a young dynamic writer with substance, saying young people should emulate him for his steps are moving towards a perfect direction. Sabally quoted the importance of reading and writing from the Quran, saying the first thing God has instructed Prophet Muhammad (SAW) to do through Angel Gibril was to read. He further urged people to develop the culture of reading and instill the interest into the young ones. “Writing a book is a lonely business that needs creativity and concentration to produce a better piece and that makes it a difficult task.
For his part the author, Famara Fofana, said the journey stated a long time with many challenges faced along the way, but with Allah SWT behind him, family and Gambians within and outside the country, things went well.
He encouraged young people not to be fazed by adversity of any form but rather pursue their dreams by working hard and remain respectful to all, especially their parents.
Fofana expressed profound gratitude and sincere appreciation to GRTS, the Daily Observer, The Standard, UTG, family and friends for the support throughout the making of the material. He assured the public that he will soon publish another interesting book.
by Modou Lamin Jammeh