‘Welcome to Gambia’ How two Young Comedians Tell Untold Realities of Gambia

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    Comedy duo Abubakar Sabally (Di Young Kid) and Albert Mustapha Camara (Tapha Mandela) are TikTok sensations.

    By: Foday Manneh

    Comedy duo Abubakar Sabally (Di Young Kid) and Albert Mustapha Camara (Tapha Mandela) are TikTok sensations delivering satirical comics unveiling topical and negative issues Gambian people often portray as positive.

    The social media content of the two friends is famously called “Welcome to Gambia” and primarily focuses on telling the untold realities of the tiny West African nation.

    They do this entertainingly in stories that reveal deeply entrenched practices, social perceptions, and political traditions that are detrimental to the country.

    The comedians readily admitted that they must deal with negative comments, especially in producing such content and on the road to becoming a well-established platform.

    “Not because we don’t want to talk about positive facts about the country, but those should be maintained, and the negative things should be spoken out often to influence change,” says Sabally.

    “We have seen our politicians and government officials sending their wives to the West to give birth, and their children eventually become citizens of those countries,” adds Mandela.

    “But children born in The Gambia to parents of other African nations would be denied Gambian citizenship, which is not fair. These are things we are against.” He said.

    The youngsters met and followed each other on TikTok, resulting in fans calling to collaborate since their content treated the same subjects.

    “In countries like Nigeria, you see comedians coming together and collaborating. Along the line, they learn from each other and unite. That’s it for us too,” Famous Tiktoker Mandela noted.

    Despite amassing a broad audience both within and outside The Gambia, the duo said their target is to continue developing their social media handles so they could win projects and advertisement revenue.

    “We want to produce quality content that people can learn from and enjoy. We want our pages to develop, and we need our followers to achieve that. They have to keep sharing and engaging with our products,” Sabally appealed.

    Sabally, born in Sauma Kunda, a village around Bansang in the Central River Region of The Gambia, started his comedy during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the lockdown.

    “It was during the lockdown I told my friends that we can start producing some comedy episodes and share them to keep ourselves engaged at home and make others do the same,” says Sabally.

    He encountered a few setbacks after the lockdown but giving up was not an option for the young man.

    “I could not continue with my friends because we all must resume school and focus on recovering our lost time. So I decided to pause until I finished my exams,” He said.

    “Immediately after my WASSCE exams, I continued and started “welcome to Gambia.” I need characters and a cameraman. My friends were unavailable, and I could not do all that alone. I also have to pay for WIFi to upload my videos,” He recalled.

    For Mandela, this unique talent is a natural gift that he uses to entertain his friends, family, and everyone around him.

    Mandela was born in The Gambia to a Sierra Leonean father and a Gambian Mother. He moved to Freetown at age six but returned after turning 16 to continue high school. He graduated from St. Augustine High School as the best Arts, Literature, and Government student in 2019.

    Unsurprisingly, extra-curricular activities such as debate and drama were a key part of Mandela’s school hobbies, representing his school in several national inter-school competitions.

    The duo might be battling with the negative thoughts attributed to comedy, but it is good to note that they both scored brilliant results in their respective WASSCE examinations; 7 credits for Mandela and 8 credits for Sabally.

    However, the boys face financial challenges in acquiring tertiary education, with Mandela still struggling to start — he follows friends to work construction jobs as a laborer to meet his needs.

    Sabally is enrolled at the American International University in Banjul as a Computer Science student with dreams of becoming a Computer Programmer but needs help paying his tuition fees.

    The Welcome to Gambia episode series is one satirical comedy skit that uncovers the country’s social situation, public spaces, and norms in government institutions.

    The duo is making significant progress and headway in content and production but needs more support to reach its dreamland.

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