Gambian Wolof (EC)

Cultural Bibliography



  • The Gambia and Its People: Ethnic Identities and Cultural Integration in Africa
    • Originally published in 2010 and written by Godfrey Mwakikagile who is a Tanzanian scholar and author specializing in African studies. This book focuses on the issue of ethnicity and cultural integration on a national level. Issues of “national identity” are also interestingly discussed. This source helps readers understand what it means to be a Gambian. Mwakikagile writes “In spite of its ethnic and cultural diversity, The Gambia is one of the most united countries in Africa. It’s also one of the most peaceful, enjoying harmonious relations among its various ethnic groups unlike many African countries where instability and civil strife caused by ethnic rivalries – fuelled by unscrupulous politicians – is the defining feature of national life.”
  • Sociolinguistics and the National Language Questions: The Case of the Gambia by B.K. Sania
    • Originally published in 1981, and written by. B.K. Sagnia. Sangria has written extensively about various topics centering on The Gambia ranging from community, rural development, political and social organization, religion and initiation, and more. This specific text focuses on language planning and language policy. Understanding issues surrounding things like the history of Gambia’s official language, for example, will shed light on how things are implemented today.


  • The Gambia – Culture, Language & Religion
    • This website page, published by The Gambia Experience shares an expansive history of Gambia. Its first line of introduction says, “The Gambia is a former British Colony and the official language is English but there are also several tribal languages including Mandinka and Wolof.” Concerning language, the article shares about ethnic languages, education in The Gambia, issues of language policy, and even includes a chart of translations of simple English phrases like good morning and how are you in both Wolof and Mandinka. The page also covers religion, the arts, sports and recreation, and a description of the Gambian flag. I was interested to find out that “The Gambia is home to the Kora, a string instrument, typically with 21 strings, combining features of the lute and harp. It is a popular instrument with people in The Gambia and was traditionally built from a gourd, cut in half, and covered with cow skin to make a resonator.”
  • Traditional Gambian Food and Drink by Kathryn Burrington
    • This website page discusses one of my favorite things about Gambia culture, food. Burlington is writing for The Gambia Experience based on tourism which influences how she writes. She writes that The Gambia has a “huge choice of restaurants to suit every palate including Italian, Indian, Chinese and Lebanese” but then of course goes into her recommendations of local cuisines. This list includes pictures and descriptions of Afra, Akara, Baobab Juice, Benachin, Domoda, Okra Stew, Palm Wine, Tapalapa, Wonjo Juice, and Yassa. I can attest to Afra, Akara, Benachin, Okra Stew, Tapalapa, Wonjo and Yassa being delicious!
  • The Arts of The Gambia
    • This Britannica article discusses many current aspects of Gambian culture like arts and music, cultural institutions like museums and libraries, sports and recreation, and media and publishing, in short paragraphs supported with historical and political insight. For example, the sports section discusses Gambian’s love for football (soccer) and their current national teams and also includes historical legacies of Gambia making its Olympic debut at the 1976 Games in Montreal.
  • Language & Culture by Gambian Tourism Board
    • This website page is very contemplative about the relationship between language and culture, asking “Does culture mirror language or does language mirror culture? Or are the two inextricable?” Understanding how language impacts culture is a great way to understand a new country, and this article supports that idea by discussing proverbs, myths, riddles, sayings, etc. There is also an interesting discussion about how tourism promotion and national language preservation affect culture in the Gambia: “Gambians are generally polyglot- most speak more languages than that of their cultural origins, which is an asset against tribalism and adds to the cultural flourish and attraction of Destination Gambia.”
  • Culture Crossing Guide
    • This website page is extremely helpful in learning about specific cultural topics that you might otherwise have to learn through personal experience in Gambia or connection to a native Gambian. The information is also categorized into three: basics, business, and students, which further helps with specific learning. For example, a few impressive tabs include “personal space & touching” which discusses what is common in private and in public. Other helpful tabs include gender issues, eye contact, gestures, and taboos.


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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.