By Yunus S Saliu
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) supported by Cherno M Njie on Wednesday and Thursday held reading sessions with schools in Nianija, Central River Region (CRR) on Gambia history.
The reading sessions were held at the Kerr Batch Stones Circle, Kerr Batch, Nianija District, CRR. The invited schools for the two-day sessions were Buduk Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School and Chamen Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School from Nianija CRR and the book chosen for the sessions is authored by Cherno M Njie titled Sweat Is Invisible in The Rain.
Cherno M Njie is a Gambian author who published his memoir titled Sweat Is Invisible in The Rain and it is a very important document on aspects of contemporary Gambia history. It is 328 pages and divided into 8 chapters and the contents in the chapters include close quarters: Growing Up in Banjul, 1957-1983, another savannah: Texas 1983-1994; The Jammeh Years: 1994-2016; the other side pulls: Austin 1994-2013; going home: Gambia 2013-New Years’s2015-Summer 2016; Again, a number: Doing Time and Probation – Summer 2016 and Beyond; may I correct the record? December 2014, postscript, appendix, bibliography, and index.
Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) disclosed that the reading sessions were facilitated and supported by the author, Mr Cherno M Njie, “the reading sessions brought together 50 students from Chamen and Buduk Upper Basic and Senior Secondary Schools and they were taken through the book.”
He explained that the reading sessions allowed students to note aspects of the Gambia’s struggle for independence, the formation of political parties in the 1960s, and the onset of colonial rule, and the aim was to improve quality education through reading comprehension and historical knowledge.
Also, the session allowed the students to read certain chapters from the book, discuss the key points, and see how this information can help them in their Gambia history syllabus.
The students also engaged each other to debate about colonial rule, the struggle for independence, and life in Banjul in the 1960s and 70s as described in the book.
More so, there was also a session attempted by students to translate certain ideas and words from in English language into the national languages of Fula and Wollof to help them appreciate the ability of national languages to express historical concepts.
“This will help to promote national languages,” DG Hassoum Ceesay expressed while thanking Mr. Cherno M Njie for the support and in an extension the Regional Directorate of Education 5 and Principals of the participating schools for their support and releasing of their students to participate in this session which can help them cultivate reading ability and improve their reading status.
However, the reading sessions were punctuated with the free distribution of books (dictionary and notebooks, etc) to the students and also taken on a conducted round of Kerr Batch Stones Circle and Museum for a better understanding of the sessions.