Nation in View: The Gambia
The Little Shall Be Great
Each time I think of the Afrikan nation called The Gambia and how she is the smallest among all the nations on mainland Afrika, I am reminded of the words of scripture that describe the town of Bethlehem Ephrathah as little, but that which was given the grace to bear the fruit that changed the course of history. (See Micah 5:2)
I do not see the words of this article about the nation called The Gambia going the way of a prophetic message but rather as a prophetic prayer. We are definitely living in strange times and seasons, and the less populated ones among us must be given all support both physically and spiritually. So it’s a great honor to write this simple but timely article to bless this nation called The Gambia.
About The Gambia
The Gambia, is a country in western Afrika situated on the Atlantic coast and surrounded on all sides by the neighboring country of Senegal. It occupies a long narrow strip of land that surrounds the Gambia River. The land is flat and is dominated by the river, which is navigable throughout the length of the country. As mentioned already, The Gambia is Afrika’s smallest main-land country. It is also one of Afrika’s most densely populated countries. A few towns are located up river, but most Gambians live in rural villages. The major ethnic groups are similar to those in Senegal and consist of the majority Malinke and also include the Wolof, Fulani (Fulbe), Diola (Jola), and Soninke peoples. The Gambian economy is heavily dependent on peanut (groundnut) production and export.
The first Europeans to arrive on Kombo-St. Mary Island, today known as Banjul, were the Portuguese explorers in 1456. It was the stunning location of the country on the West Coast that attracted these European explorers in their quest to make it a base.
Origin of the name Gambia
As with many origin stories there are several versions. One account, as told by HassoumCeesay, a renowned Gambian historian and researcher at the National Centre for Arts and Culture, is that upon their arrival in 1456, Portuguese explorers met a local fisherman on St. Mary Island. During their interactions communicated through sign language, the fisherman thought he was asked who owned the island. The fisherman responded with ‘KambiBolong’. ‘Kambi’ is a common surname of the Bainukas, one of the ethnic groups in the country who are credited as the original settlers of what is today called The Gambia. The Portuguese recorded the name as ‘KambiBolong’, and thereafter the name passed from one explorer to another. Other names captured in The Gambia’s record books are ‘Kambea’, ‘Jambea’ and ‘Gambra’ as they appear in Portuguese records until British explorers arrived on James Island in 1588 when it officially became Gambia. Another belief is that the name is based on the translation of the Portuguese word ‘cambio’ meaning ‘trade’ or ‘exchange’, a common activity along the river.
The River Gambia
Yes the nation called The Gambia was named after the River Gambia, which is quite interesting just as Nigeria was named in connection to the Niger River, but my interest really is a bit more towards what I believe is the spiritual significance of the River Gambia and its shape.
Due to the fact that we made it a kind of an unwritten rule to make the cover story of each issue of this magazine about a specific nation in Afrika, I was really keen to know which of the nations of Afrika I would be writing about. When it was settled that I would write about The Gambia, I decided to take a look at the various things online that are related to the nation of Gambia and from there see what the Lord would have me put forward. Truth be told, learning about The Gambia had never, before now, been on my radar, so I knew next to nothing about this interesting west Afrikan nation. So I was clearly very surprised to find out that The Gambia is the smallest nation in main-land Afrika, both in terms of land mass and population. Looking at the map of the country and the interesting shape of the River Gambia which runs through the entire length of the country, I got even more curious because of its shape.
The manner in which the river runs throughout the length of the country into the Atlantic ocean reminds me of how the Book of Revelation paints the picture of the River of Life in the New Jerusalem which runs through the midst of the streets, while the shape of the river paints a picture of a kind of a reptile, snake or even a dragon with it’s tail at the upper side of the river and its mouth at Banjul the capital. I am not being dramatic nor am I being sensational, but the direction of the river as it runs through the length of the country and its reptile-like shape just won’t leave my thoughts and I wonder what it could mean.
I read somewhere that Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, is called The City of Light while the nation itself is also called the Smiling Coast, largely because of the tourism industry and also the natural hospitality of The Gambian people. And because I do not believe in coincidences, I do believe that all of the character traits of The Gambia as a nation must somehow add up to her purpose.
The River that flows through the city
A river obviously speaks of water and water from all its spiritual interpretations speaks basically of life and the movement of Spirit.
Every nation in Afrika is blessed by God the Creator to fulfill one purpose or the other and there is no one nation in Afrika that is greater than the other. Each one is just uniquely set to carry out its own unique greatness. Having said that, what does it mean for a nation to take the similitude of the river of life that runs in the midst of the city of God according to Revelation 21? Life, I presume. The water of life by divine providence also moves with the tree of life and vice versa. And because the healing of the nations according to that same scripture is tied to both the river of life and the tree of life, certainly, some dimensions of healing and life-giving mandate is tied to The Gambia, both as a nation and as a people.
So I pray for you oh nation of The Gambia, that the Almighty God, who knows how to make the last the first, the smallest the greatest and the weakest the strongest, will look upon your land with mercy and then raise you up to the very place that He made for you from before time began.
They made you small but how mighty is the strength of him who God decides to make strong and a force for change. You are made for change indeed and the glory of the Most High God will rise upon you, even as you enter into the fullness of the purpose of God for your nation and your people.
Many undermine you because of your size and the way you are encompassed by your neighbor, but how good it is to know that from the very one who is encompassed like a baby in the womb shall come forth life and healing to many.
For as the river of life passes through the new Jerusalem so has the River Gambia passed through the entire length of your nation and so shall the power to heal and restore be found in you.
I bless you from mount Zion of God and blessed always shall you be.
What's Your Reaction?
Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.
Amen! Amen! And amen.