Gambia dating guide advises how to meet single girls. You just need to know the basic steps how to date Gambian women. Learn how to arrange dates with hot Gambian girls, how to take your relationship to the next level and how to find your soulmate and fall in love. Read more on how to date local women and where to meet girls in Gambia, Africa.
Girls in Gambia:
- Looks of girls: 3 / 5
- Attitude of girls: 3.5 / 5
- Loyalty of girls: 3 / 5
- Education level of girls: 2.5 / 5
Dating in Gambia:
- Chance of arranging dates: 3.5 / 5
- Casual dating culture: 3.5 / 5
- Online dating popularity: 3.5 / 5
Sex in Gambia:
- Women's sexual activity: 4 / 5
- One-night stands: 3.5 / 5
More about Gambia:
- Nightlife in general: 3 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Budget per day: US$20 - $500
- Accommodation: US$10 - $200
- 1 Dating
- 2 Women
- 3 Sex
- 4 Best Places to Meet Single Girls
- 5 Relationship
- 6 Love
- 7 Marriage
- 8 Regions
- 9 Cities
- 10 See Also
The Gambia is located in West Africa. The country is almost surrounded by Senegal apart from a 50-mile strip of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland. It has the shape of a narrow strip running on both sides of the Gambia River about 300 kilometers long and 50 kilometers at its widest point. The Gambia is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa with an estimated population of about 2.2 million. Although the coastline is quite short, it has some of the best beaches. The capital city The Gambia is Banjul located at the mouth of the Gambia River with a population of about half a million people. Serekunda is the urban center in the country, having formed from 9 villages which grew into a single unit.
Dating Gambian girls is thrilling and fun. The girls in the country are very open-minded and outgoing. The Gambia is usually called the smiling nation to symbolize the welcoming nature of its citizens. The girls are polite and will listen to your advances before deciding whether you are worthy of her time or not. You just need to know the right places to get the girls.
Although more than 95% of the population is Muslim which is relatively conservative in matters of dating and relationships, the country has a very vibrant dating culture. Many young Gambians have their first relationships way before they turn 18 years. Naturally, Gambians are very social and so conversations between young men and women start at a very young age. However, because of this socialization sometimes what may appear to be a relationship may be simply two people of opposite gender having a conversation. While dating and relationships are in plenty, the conservative social setup means that public display of affection is frowned upon unless in clubs or with peers.
The Gambia has a population of about 2.2 million people. Out of this number, about 54% are women. The majority of Gambian women are rural and are engaged in agricultural production. In agriculture, women are generally involved with Food Production, horticultural production; and women farmers raise and manage most of the small ruminants and rural poultry. Women are also engaged in fisheries as fish off-loaders and fish processors. In forestry, women are engaged in planting seedlings and wood.
Since its independence in 1965, the country has undergone bouts of political instability through coups and regime change. This instability has made the country lack proper structures that uphold human rights especially the rights of women. Even with the country having ratified two international agreements that are meant to uphold the dignity and position of women in society, the situation on the ground is very different.
According to statistics from the World Bank, only 51% of employable women in The Gambia have a job. This is in comparison to 68% for men.
In The Gambia, men, as household heads, are expected to make decisions regarding family income and use assets for the benefit of the family, without any form of consultation with family members, even when those decisions affect women's lives. Whereas, women may have their assets but must consult with their husbands first; not doing so may include physical violence or divorce. Department of Household Survey data from 2013 shows that a higher percentage of women than men agree that wife-beating is justified.
Male governance is engrained in all forms of decision-making. A 2019 qualitative study on gender and intra-household allocation in The Gambia has shown that Gambian women living below the poverty line have great aspirations to break intergenerational poverty cycles by investing in the productive human capital of their children. There also is a cry for support for education, where children will be educated for a better future, women will be supported with farming inputs and help to set up business enterprises like poultry and petty trading with the backing from government interventions.
Gambian Girls (age 18 - 29)
Although the law prescribes 18 years to be the minimum legal age for marriage in the Gambia, 30% of girls are married before the age of 18 and 9% are married before their 15th birthday. Some of the reasons for this are: Girls are often married off to attract bride price and lift their families out of poverty. Some are married simply because their parents do not want them to engage in premarital sex; and the overlap between Islam laws, customary law and civil law. This situation is also compounded by the fact that many girls do not go beyond primary school. Those girls who are lucky will go beyond primary school and complete high school.
As the girls undergo a transition from childhood to adulthood, they undergo a physical transformation in their bodies. What was before small lumps on the chest grow on to become soft succulent and round breasts. Gambian women are naturally endowed in this area and you will start seeing the ladies consciously making them visible. The bum and hips also expand significantly. The facial complexion also changes resulting in naturally beautiful faces.
As they discover their sexuality, the girls will start investing in their looks. Those in rural areas tend to dress in traditional Muslim hijabs and burkas. Those in the urban areas are more liberal and some of them will be seen in tight-fitting clothes that accentuate their body-figures. The girls will also use cheap perfumes and other cosmetics to enhance their looks.
The girls in urban areas are more outgoing than rural ones. The girls can be easy to hook up with as most of them are savoring the new freedom caused by moving out of their parents' homes. For most girls, this is the age at which they get married.
Gambian Women (age 30 - 45)
This is what can be considered to be the prime age as the women are not at their peak in all aspects of growth. By now, their bodies are fully developed although some may still be experiencing growth in their erogenous areas.
Because these women are more financially stable, they can purchase pricier hence better clothes than when they were young. Those who are still single or the liberal ones will still be inclined to put on tight clothes that enhance their features. The married ones dress more conservatively. These women are also able to purchase better fashion accessories, jewelry and beauty products which they put both at work and when they go out.
Those who had not married earlier get married and settle down in their families. As they do so, they strive to maintain a balance between the family and their careers and social lives. Many people lose friends at this time as they are unable to find time to catch up as was the case earlier in life. It is also at this time that many women make choices in their careers before settling down to pursue what they want and this will affect how they spend their time.
Apart from the married ones, women at this age are easy to hook up with. This is because of the urge to settle down which makes them more outgoing and receptive to approaches by men. Hooking up with these women is easy and good as they are generally more mature than their younger peers and so they have an understanding of what a relationship entails.
Gambian Ladies (age 45+)
Age is catching up with most women and their feature will be slowly losing shape. The breasts and bum will no longer be as supple as when they were younger. However, some of the women here can afford the most luxurious beauty enhancement products that they will use to slow the deteriorating brought by age.
For those lucky women in formal employment, they will have risen through the ranks in their organizations and some may be in senior positions while others may be employers in their own right. Even the unmarried ones will be rich enough to have some property of their own such as houses and cars.
Age and experience will have made these women very mature especially in matters of relationships. These older women are mature enough to know what they want from a relationship and they will not hold back from stating it. Even though they may have lost some of their beauty and charm with age, these women know how to treat men and you can be sure of a good time with her.
Foreign Girls (tourists, expats, students, etc.)
The Gambia receives more than 100,000 visitors every year with tourism being the second-highest foreign income earner after agricultural exports. The tourists mainly come from Europe with almost half of them coming from the United Kingdom. With the low population of the country, this number is quite significant. These girls are to be found in the various attraction sites in the country. Another group of foreign girls in the country is made of Senegalese girls who come to the city to trade and some to attend the American University.
Even with its conservative Islamic traditions, sex with Gambian girls in The Gambia is not as hard as with other countries dominated by Muslims. The country has a chequered past with sex tourism whereby tourists fly in to enjoy sex with locals. A sustained campaign against this practice has seen its drastic reduction. However, this had rubbed on the locals and even though it is not done or talked about in public, it is a common occurrence such that many parents marry off their daughters early to prevent them from getting pregnant before marriage.
With three sets of laws governing life in The Gambia, the sex culture in the Gambia is relatively vibrant. Islamic law (Sharia), customary laws and civil law often contradict each other and this leaves gaps that are exploited by the young Gambians to engage in sex.
Many young Gambians are hooking up and having sex only to go their separate ways in the morning. This has been also greatly influenced by the great number of foreigners who come into the country for different reasons. These foreign women are seldom looking for long term relationships but will be content with one-night stands.
Best Places to Meet Single Girls
With an area of about 10,000 square miles, The Gambia is by far the smallest country in continental Africa. This does not mean that there is no place of interest for you to meet beautiful and single Gambian girls. The country has many places of attraction both man-made and natural that are bound to attract many girls. Whether you jet over to immerse yourself in The Gambia’s world-class birdwatching, its golden sandy beaches or its infectious culture and vibrant atmosphere, there's always something ready to captivate holidaymakers visiting The Gambia for the first time.
Bars, Pubs and Nightclubs
Gambians love music and they love a good party! Whilst you will find cultural events and evening get-togethers throughout the country, most of The Gambia nightlife that tourists are likely to be interested in is situated around the main beach resorts. Kololi is the busiest resort in terms of partying and nightlife in the Gambia. Kotu and Serekunda also have a vibrant nightlife.
• Milly’s Night Club Milly’s Night Club in Kololi opens at midnight. Closing at 4 am, they also play hip-hop, reggae and R & B. They also have a mix & mingle program on Monday nights, live bands on Fridays and an open mic night on Sundays. There is a VIP lounge, outdoor area and restaurant too. performances.
• Liv Cocktail & Sports Bar Liv Cocktail & Sports Bar is located within the Kombo Beach Hotel in Kotu. With not one but two ‘happy hour’ time slots, a pool table, live football, speedy WiFi and affordable prices, you’re bound to love it.
• Reo’s Reo's is a sleek but welcoming space in Serekunda that ticks all the boxes, with football matches playing on the big screens, a pool table for lazy afternoons, and DJ-fuelled grooves on weekends – plus good pub grub at all hours. There's also a raised deck in front where you can take in the passing street scene.
• Jokor This nightclub in Serekunda is a raucous local affair and makes a convincing claim to be the most entertaining club of all. It draws crowds on weekends (after about 11 pm), and there's occasionally a live band, usually mbalax (percussion-driven, Senegalese dance music) or reggae, on Friday and Saturday. Cool off in the courtyard garden.
• Rainbow Beach Bar This place has a perfect location for drinks, though it's often swamped with tour groups all afternoon between noon and 5 pm. Come early or around sunset to enjoy the food and drink without the circus. It also has clean, thatched-roof bungalows, a generator, and a chef who knows how to grill prawns properly.
• Aquarius An anchor of the Senegambia party scene, Aquarius Nightclub in Serekunda draws a well-dressed crowd out for a big night out to its glittering dance floor. The drinks are expensive and the atmosphere (disco balls, lasers) is strictly party-vibe. Music lasts until late into the night and party-goers can enjoy the latest R&B, hip-hop, Latino and dance tracks. There is also a well-appointed satellite TV showing some of the latest pop, rap videos and sporting events.
• Kunta Kinteh Beach Bar This lively bar is open from 9 am until late during the holiday season. The restaurant seats 40 and offers a variety of dishes and drinks; on Sundays the have a BBQ with local dancers and drumming to entertain guests.
• Wow The Wow Nightclub of Gambia is the ONLY Night Club open 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Since it opened in 1994 it has become one of the premier places to visit on your night on the town of Greater Banjul which is located in Kololi. Wow has a spacious dance floor, incredible sound system and perfect lighting to get you in the mood to party all night. You have the option of 2 different bars and a pool table. Finally, downstairs there is a Jazz Cafe for music relaxation and drinks.
• Club Duplex Club Duplex is one of the best night clubs in the Gambia and is a must-visit venue while on holiday in the Gambia. It's located in the heart of Kololi & close to the Kairaba Hotel and Senegambia Hotel. This disco in Kololi covers an area of land that is 13,000 square feet. The complex is modern and stylish in design where you can do your stuff on the large dance floor. The venue is comprised of an intimate lounge, exclusive VIP areas, and balconies overlooking an extraordinary dance floor.
• Cotton Club The Jazz, Salsa, Grill House serves excellent drink cocktails, dinners, and live music including jazz. There is a choice of Al a Carte or basic meals as well as an Afra place built to the side of the restaurant. This is a place well worth visiting for those staying at the Kairaba Hotel or the Senegambia Beach Hotel as it is within walking distance. The music played at the Cotton Club is Reggae, Mbalax, Salsa, and Jazz. It has a total capacity of about two hundred people.
• Jakarlo Night Club The former Spy Bar now called Jakarlo officially opened its gates in 1998, following New York and Stockholm. It is now owned by its current proprietor Mr. Mabou Touray who is also the organizer of Sound City Promotion. Jakarlo means "to face each other" and the nightspot is in the Senegambia area and is one of the largest clubs in the Gambia. It is partly open-air and is frequented by tourists and locals alike.
Malls offer consumers the convenience of doing all their shopping in one place. With recreational facilities and retail areas, malls attract many young Gambian girls who want to look trendy and hook up with friends.
Some of the malls in The Gambia include:
• Becca Plaza, Banjul
• Mall of Gambia, Serrekunda
• Kairaba Shopping Center, Serrekunda
• Madiba Mall, Brufut
• Raslan Mall, Serrekunda
The Gambia may be the smallest country on the continent, but its captivating array of attractions belies its tiny size. Surrounded by Senegal, the Gambia has a mere 80km of coastline, but what a magnificent stretch it encompasses: golden beaches backed by swaying palms and sprinkled with scenic lagoons, sleepy fishing villages and biologically rich coastal reserves.
Holidays to The Gambia will provide some great wildlife-spotting opportunities for those who have packed their binoculars. Numerous intriguing nature habitats are dotted around the country, including the Abuko Nature Reserve and Kachikally Crocodile Pool. Green Vervet monkeys are a common sight in hotel grounds, proving you’ll never be too far away from some Gambian wildlife.
A visit to The Gambia's capital, Banjul, will add some history and culture to your African adventure. Away from Banjul's wonderful beaches, there are interesting attractions to visit which won't require you to don your swimming gear, including Albert Market and Arch 22.
From floating lodges on the River Gambia to stylish safari tents amid the excitement of a nature reserve, several accommodation options will allow you to base yourself within the country's marvelous natural surroundings.
The Gambia is home to several hustling and bustling markets, all providing a great insight into day-to-day Gambian life, as well as the opportunity to buy some souvenirs to bring home. The craft market in Bakau is one of the best, where you can find beautiful woodcarvings for your sitting room.
Holidays in The Gambia offer various excursions and experiences to visitors, including popular 4x4 tours. For a more laid-back day, enjoy floating along the Gambia River on a pirogue from where you can witness local fishermen and aquatic birdlife.
National Museum of Albreda focuses on slavery in The Gambia, with displays detailing the gruesome treatment these human captives suffered. There's also a room dedicated to the Roots connection, with photos and memorabilia related to Alex Haley and the subsequent film. Also here is a replica slave ship. Admission includes entrance to Kunta Kinteh Island. Bijilo Forest Park features a series of well-maintained walking trails (ranging from 900m to 1400m) which take you through lush vegetation, gallery forest, low bush and grass, towards the dunes. You'll likely see green vervet, red colobus and patas monkeys – avoid feeding them, as this only encourages them further.
A 30-minute drive from Kololi, Tanji is home to the biggest fishing village in The Gambia. There are many colorful wooden boats owned by individuals and families; most interestingly, you can see the whole process of preserving the freshly caught fish.
Wassu Stone Circles is fascinating evidence of ancient African culture. There are 11 circles at Wassu, the tallest of which is almost 3 meters. It is believed to be the ancient burial ground of kings and chiefs from over 1200 years ago. Local legend has it that there is a curse on anyone who disturbs those laid to rest there, which is probably why they are still intact.
Kunta Kinteh Island is located at the mouth of the Gambia River. The ruins of an old fort and prison which once belonged to colonial Britain, it was from here that many African slaves were transported to America. It is a popular tourist attraction these days but to consider this was the last that the slaves saw of the African continent before being confined to the lower decks of ships that took them to their life of slavery in America is a thought-provoking one indeed.
You can take a pirogue (long narrowboat) for a relaxing trip up the Gambia River to Tendaba. You will spot plenty of birdlife and maybe some monkeys and crocs on the banks of the river. Make sure you book with a reputable tour firm to ensure the best standards of boat maintenance.
Bumsters are effective chancers that will try to get money from you for helping you or giving you directions. They are generally harmless but can be annoying as they are very tenacious. Besides, agree on the price for journeys in taxis and buses before you get on board.
Located on Independence Drive in Banjul is the Gambia National Museum where you can discover the country’s contribution to the whole of Africa and the rest of the world. Stroll around the museum to see how The Gambia has influenced art, religion and technology through various exhibitions and displays. See the displayed cultural artifacts including ancient musical instruments, farming tools and textiles. In the archaeological section discover the interesting history of the Gambia's civilization through reconstructions of the earliest recorded habitation in the region and a timeline illustrated by pictures through to the present day.
Universities and Colleges
Some of the universities and colleges found in the country include:
• University of the Gambia, Banjul
• American International University West Africa
• Business Training Center, Banjul
• Gambia College, Brikama and Banjul
• Global Harvest College, Banjul
• International Business College, Fajara
• ITS School, Banjul
• Stratford College of Management, Churchill’s Town in Serrekunda
• West African Chartered College
• Omega Training Institute
In Gambia male and female relationships are mostly initiated by men. This is done either directly or indirectly using a third party. Usually, people start dating in their teens, although in the rural areas courting can begin earlier than that. People date and go out more or less freely with each other in the urban area, while in the rural areas things are much more controlled because the community is very small. Young people dating do not physically express their love in public except at parties or when they are amongst people their age.
Gambian men are very friendly with women, and while you will be eager to meet new people and make friends, be aware that Gambian women may interpret your reactions toward male solicitation in a way that you never intended. If you find that you are overwhelmed with unwanted male attention, try to use humor to diffuse the situation or to exit it without incurring bad feelings. Humor is used in many situations in the Gambia, and it can be a very effective tool to communicate difficult messages without insulting people.
We work hard every year with the hope that we will be able to take time to relax and to explore life outside our work environment. This time comes in the form of the holidays. Whether it is during the festive season or other traditional holiday periods or we want to create our holiday moments, this is time that we all look forward. World-systems create a tedious repetitive cycle that guides our adult life. Once someone gets a job, their life becomes a routine of moving from home to work every weekday morning and getting back home every evening. The weekends are used to do any pending house chores and for some, do side hustle. This trend becomes stricter once children come along.
It is therefore natural that we all look forward to getting away for the holidays. Holidays come with the added benefit because they offer the chance for one to hook up with beautiful girls. Spending the holidays in the Gambia is the perfect opportunity for you to hook up with local Gambian girls or even foreign girls who are also on holiday. While many people get into holiday romance planning to hook up just for the duration of the holiday, some of these hookups blossom into long-term dates which in turn may result in marriage. The various interesting places mentioned above will give you enough distractions and spice up your holiday romance.
Tips for Successful Relationship
We all want to have healthy relationships, but most of us were never really taught about what that means. The key is being communicative and proactive.
As the months and years roll on, we tend to slink into our proverbial sweatpants and get lazy in our relationship. We lose our patience, gentleness, thoughtfulness, understanding, and the general effort we once made toward our mate. Think back to the first year of your relationship and write down all the things you used to do for your partner then start doing them again.
Over time, we assume that our partner knows us so well that we don't need to ask for what we want. What happens when we make this assumption? Expectations are set, and just as quickly, they get deflated. Those unmet expectations can leave us questioning the viability of our partnership and connection. Keep in mind that "asking for what you want" extends to everything from emotional to sexual wants.
Create a weekly ritual to check in with each other. This can be short or long, but it begins by asking each other what worked and didn't work about the previous week and what can be done to improve things this coming week. Additionally, use this opportunity to get on the same page with your schedules, plan a date night, and talk about what you would like to see happen in the coming days, weeks, and months in your relationship.
Unless you have committed to an asexual partnership, sex and touch such as kissing, holding hands, and cuddling are vital components of a romantic relationship. How much sex a couple has is, of course, up to the particular pair of individuals, so you must discuss your ideas about it to manage any desire discrepancy.
Life and work distractions can become paramount in our minds, and that leaves little time or energy for our partner. Barring any emergencies or deadlines, we should be fully present when we are with our mate. We truly hear what they are saying (instead of pretending to listen), we leave our distractions behind, and we don't pick them up again until the sun comes up and we walk out the door.
When conflicts inevitably come up, remember to approach them thoughtfully and with a lot of kindness toward your partner and yourself. If you see the stress beginning to escalate during a conversation about a conflict, one or both of you can call a break so that cooler heads can prevail.
In most disagreements, we communicate from the obvious emotions such as anger, annoyance, and the like. Leading from this place can create confusion and defensiveness, and it can ultimately distract from the real issue. Start communicating from the bottom layer which is the feelings that are driving your reactions, such as disappointment, rejection, loneliness, or disrespect.
Conversations quickly turn to arguments when we're invested in hearing our partner admit that we were right or when we are intent on changing their opinion. Choose to approach a conversation as an opportunity to understand your significant other's perspective as opposed to waiting for them to concede. From this perspective, you will have an interesting dialogue and prevent a blowout or lingering frustration.
It's well understood that apologizing is a good thing, but it only makes a real impact when you mean it. Saying things like "I'm sorry you feel that way," "I'm sorry you see it that way," or "I'm sorry if I upset you" are a waste of time and breath. Even if you don't agree that your action was wrong, you will never successfully argue a feeling.
Any issues you avoid, or truths you don’t want to acknowledge, will likely undermine your relationship. It’s better to face the truth squarely in the face right now and address it, rather than let it sabotage your relationship in the long run. Be intentional and figure out the truth about your relationship. Think through all aspects of it—your feelings and thoughts, the other person’s feelings and thoughts, as well as their external context.
If there is one characteristic that separates human beings from other living beings is the ability and desire to love. Every human being is born with the ability to show love not only to the people one is born with such as family but with someone else whom we meet along the way. It is this ability that makes human beings start families as compared to other animals which mostly procreate without any feelings attached. A human being will sire another human and will continue to recognize and treat them as their child however old the child grows. This is in contrast to other animals that only bring their children up to the point where they can take care of themselves.
It is mysterious how we meet someone from an entirely different background or even nationality and our mutual feelings grow to a point where we always want to be with them. Apart from some cultures that allow relatives to marry one another, we will always get married to someone who was at one time a stranger. While two animals will meet and procreate and soon drift away, two human beings in love will continue to have those feelings towards each other for a long time even if they were to go their separate ways.
Even though Islam is the predominant religion in the Gambia, the people of the country are outgoing and fun-loving. The country is not as strict as other Muslim countries and it is not shameful for two young people to be seen in public together. This helps two people who are hoping to fall in love to get to understand each other. Also, the hospitality and polite nature of Gambians makes it easier to approach and talk to Gambian girls. As soon as you arrive in The Gambia, you’re met with nothing but smiles from the local people. To make things even easier, the official language of The Gambia is English, and most Gambians are at least bilingual.
How to Make Sure She Is the One
While everyone is looking for different traits in their life partners, there are some essential traits you should seek, from empathy to consistency. These traits help you both to understand and love each other.
A healthy, stable relationship focuses on giving rather than taking. Seeing your significant other happy should make you just as happy, and she should treat you in the same way. Your joy should be her joy, too—it can be as simple as asking about your day or looking after you when you are sick. As time passes, the excitement at the beginning of the relationship will pass, but you should both be just as focused on giving each other happiness.
If you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you must find that person intellectually challenging. Looks are fleeting but personality is forever—your conversations together should be interesting, insightful and full of depth. Your partner should be able to challenge your opinions, opening up your mind to new ideas and concepts.
An ideal wife is someone who will do good things, not just because other men's wives do them too, but because they are the right things to do. She surpasses other women, not because she competes with them, but because she competes with herself and tries to improve every day a little bit more.
Before marrying a woman, you must be sure that she will always support you in any situation, especially in the presence of other people. If she is very considerate, then you won’t have to worry that she somehow will disgrace you. For example, a tactless woman may make a toxic comment to your relatives or may comment on your shortcomings in front of the guests. It doesn’t mean that she should always agree with you. She just has to know how to gently tell you about your problems.
There is a big difference between a wish and the ability to have children. If your girlfriend shows that she likes children and maybe even persuaded you to have a pet, then you know that her mother's instincts are active. For your children, this means that if you marry her, they will have a nice mother and a happy and healthy family. Look at her reaction when you start talking about children, she may feel afraid, but never disgusted.
In addition to supporting and encouraging you to pursue your own goals and dreams, she will have her own as well. A mature woman has a vision for her future and chases after it with voracity. A mature woman will be someone you can take on the world with. She will be your partner in crime, a teammate in your relationship, and life.
Being consistent is a valuable virtue because it lets your partner know that you are who you are. You haven't sent your "representative" to get to know them during the first couple of months of dating, but then suddenly transform once they've committed themselves to you. Consistency is the opposite of volatility. If someone is unpredictable and volatile, it’s difficult to know how they will be acting towards you on a certain day, and that gets old no matter how aesthetically pleasing she is.
In 1990, the Gambia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which set the minimum age of marriage of 18 years. This was followed in 1993 by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to the marriage. Despite these legal provisions, underage marriages are rampant, spurred in part by the overlap between the provisions of the different religions.
Four types of marriages are legally recognized in The Gambia: Muslim (Mohammedan) marriages, governed by Sharia law and the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act; Christian marriages, governed by the Christian Marriage Act of 1862; Civil Marriages, governed by the Civil Marriage Act of 1938; and customary marriages, based on tradition and heavily influenced by Sharia law. Given the demographics of the country, Customary and Sharia law govern nearly all Gambian marriages and as such, provisions in the 1997 Gambian Constitution and acts passed by the legislature are overridden by customary and religious law and in practice the Constitution applies to only civil marriages.
Most marriages are not registered with the government and many instances of forced marriage are not reported.
Until recently, The Gambia did not have an official legal minimum age of marriage. However, in July 2016, President Yahya Jammeh declared marriage under the age of 18 to be illegal for both boys and girls, making The Gambia the 13th African nation to join the African Union’s campaign to end child marriage. Anyone involved in the marriage of a person under the age of 18 (including the parents, the spouse and religious leaders can be punished by a sentence of up to 21 years in prison. In The Gambia, gender has a considerable impact on an individual's ability to determine whether, when and whom they marry. Although the Constitution ensures equal rights regardless of gender, it carves out exceptions in certain personal or family law matters, including marriage, divorce and inheritance which are governed by customary and religious law.
Under customary and Sharia law, which govern over 90% of Gambian marriages, a marriage contract is made between the groom and the guardian of the bride. Traditionally, the consent of the bride’s family (not of the bride herself) is necessary for a valid marriage making it legally possible for a bride's family to contract a marriage without the bride's consent. In rural areas, in particular, girls and adult women have little say in regards to whom they marry. It is too soon to tell whether there will be strict compliance with and enforcement of the President’s ban on marriage under the age of 18 in these communities.
An annulment is an available option for ending a marriage in The Gambia. A marriage governed by civil law can be annulled on several grounds, including fraud and lack of consent. Under customary and religious law, a marriage can be invalidated if one of the requirements for a valid marriage was not met including consent of the female's guardian, payment of the bride price, or presence of appropriate witnesses. However, based on observation of common practice, it is highly unlikely that a marriage could be annulled in The Gambia after it has been consummated.
Divorce is also available in The Gambia and either the husband, the wife or a guardian of the wife may file for divorce. When a woman petitions for and is granted a divorce, she or her family is typically required to repay the bride price paid to them at the time the marriage was contracted. While there are several grounds for women to seek a divorce, force, fraud and coercion are not included.
The marriage process among Muslims in the Gambia is a relatively simple affair. If a man is interested in wedding a woman, after informing his parents, then male representatives (uncles, brothers, close relatives) of the groom are then sent to the woman's house. They present some Kola nuts & express the groom's interest. If the woman's representatives agree then they set a date for the wedding & announce this to all relatives. Such weddings are held at a Mosque of Jaka but could just as well be held in the woman's home.
Only men are allowed at the Mosque or Jaka ceremony and the bride and groom are very often barred from attending the gathering! At the ceremony more Kola nuts are handed over as well as some token dowry money maybe between £50 to £100 though this could be higher as it is set by the bride's family. Speeches and prayers are then said and that is more or less it. The process at the Mosque is called "Takka" which means to tie (much the same as tying the knot in English)!
It should be noted that a wedding can take place even if the groom and bride are outside the country and living on different continents for that matter. Furthermore, there is virtually no engagement period as it is simply announced a week or less before the wedding date, though arrangements would have taken place one or two weeks prior.
If a Christian woman and a Muslim man are to wed then it could be possible to have a ceremony in the Mosque and a civil ceremony in Banjul at the registry office. When the entire agreed dowry is paid, a wedding date can then be set. Wedding ceremonies used to happen on Thursday evening, but today because of work constraints the weddings are often held on Sunday. The bride prepares herself at home as close friends help wash, perfume and dress her in white clothes with a white veil or pagne (cloth) covering her face. Her hands are dyed with henna and her hair is braided with beads or coins. If she is Fulani or Tukulor she will wear 3 gris-gris around her neck to protect her against evil spirits.
The day of the "tying of the marriage" the uncles and fathers of the betrothed (the couple to be wedded are not present) meet at the mosque. Three witnesses are present before the Marabout, and kola nuts brought by the bride's father are distributed to the guests. The remainder of the dowry is now handed over to the bride's father by the groom's father or a male relative. The average dowry now is over D3,000 but among the urban bourgeoisie, it may be a lot more. After the mosque formalities, the groom delivers to the bride's home all the gifts she asked for and which have previously been agreed upon: usually a wooden bed, a radio, a watch, shoes, etc. Then a goat, a sheep, or a cow is killed and food prepared for the assembled guests. Meanwhile, the bride and groom remain separately in their own homes.
After drumming and feasting all night at the bride's home until about 5 a.m., she may go to the home of her new husband. There a cow or sheep is killed and more food prepared and the celebration continues until evening. From this time on the bride stays with her husband. The next few days involve various rites and ritual feasting marking the bride's official membership in the husband's compound. One week later the laundry day marks the end of the honeymoon. The wife and her friends gather up all the laundry from the week and go to the well. Clothing and linens may be deliberately soiled by the husband's friends; dancing and celebrating highlighted by a special feast mark this day.
The family is an important unit of social life in The Gambia. It is male-dominated in nature and is sustained mainly through the extended family system. The patriarchal structure of the family and family's influence and role in the fabric of society is gradually changing to ways that are inconsistent with its traditional role. The broader sociopolitical and economic environments provide the contexts for understanding these changes in The Gambia.
The traditional extended family is the most common type of family unit structure in The Gambia and is a unit that can help to foster good or bad family relationships. It plays a central role in Gambian society and it is perceived as a status symbol to support a large family and have more than one wife. Traditionally Gambian families tend to be large and three generations may live together in one household with each having different roles. The average household size is about 8.5 members per household.
Men tend to take over as head of a Gambian household much later in life at around 40 years old. It is not very common to find grandparents living in their children's houses as they tend to be the head of their own family. Households have a complicated hierarchy and are constantly changing and one of the reasons is the polygamous nature of Muslim society. A second wife may through default become the first wife. Where a man has multiple wives they would pool their time and effort for the general betterment of the household.
Being a patrilineal society the father is normally head of the family though the role and responsibilities of the running of the household are left to the wife. The times when most family members living outside the household meet at one time is usually at naming ceremonies, funerals and weddings. At these events, different members have different roles to play as there would be an immediate hierarchy based on age, religious learning and status through birth and lineage. Respect to elders is vitally important in developing good relationships in particular greetings, showing due respect and listening to advice