Congratulations to Ndey Jobarteh on authoring the book, “The Rabbit and the Bean Farm: A Gambian Folk Tale (A Gambia Folk Tale).” Ndey Jobarteh, a Gambian activist based in Norway, adds value to the much needed capture of our traditions for the younger generation. It serves to retain our cultural heritage, added to being a literary eye opener to children. Early childhood development in literature cannot be overemphasize; it is the foundation for growth.
Most of Gambia’s history is not written. Historically, people depended on the kindness of the elders and griots (traditional musicians) for passing information. We all recall the traditional fire place and the bed time stories, mostly “Buuke (Wolf)” and “Nyomborr” (Hare) being some of the fascinating characters. Most of those elders are fare welling for good and some of the traditional griots have had a sharp shift, i.e. they focus more on praise (singing) for money, material, name, and status. It robs society of a valuable entity on the historical narration part. In as much as we champion current Western education with its vast technological advent for obvious reasons, the old educational institutions around the fire place and the maturity festivals remains unmatched. That is why Ndey’s book will make a trailblazer for our children.
With Western education wholly taking over from the old school, some of the traditional stories making it on book are complimentary and a big flavor to our passing generations. In Ndey’s own review, “The Story is about a man who had a large bean farm. When his beans were about to ripen, he left his child to guard them from animals. As usual the Rabbit visited the farm and lured the child into eating almost all the beans in the farm.” In the book, little Sambou (the farm guard) was lured by a Rabbit. During the day, the Rabbit will tell Sambou to tie him in the bean field and to be released afterwords; you are all encouraged to grab a copy of the book.