EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: A Gambian-American real estate developer has lunched his book titled; Sweat is invisible in the rain. The book is a memoir that is classified as a documentation of the three interconnected stages of the author’s life, career, vision, and ambition.
Cherno Njie described his child and child youth ages in Banjul and his later life after moving to the United States in the 1980s to earn his university degree. He explained in his book how he carried the memories of his home and the lessons of his mother and father to Austin, Texas, where he studied at the University of Texas. His life and successful career in Texas, though far from Gambia, was nevertheless rooted in that country.
After the 2011 presidential elections in The Gambia of which the long-time former president Yahya Jammeh reportedly won, Mr Njie explained in his book how he maintained a growing resolve at the time to contribute to Jammeh’s defeat. This came to a head when he participated in a coup plot that failed on December 30th, 2014, giving his side of the story, his account of the coup, and what has since happened.
Although, Sweat is Invisible in the Rain is a story of two homes, it is a story of one life.
Cherno Njie is an Austin-based real estate developer, investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He was born in Banjul, when the city was still called Bathurst. In 2014, he was involved in the failed attempt to depose then Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
The title of the book aptly encapsulates all that the author went through, which were not noticeable when they were occurring but which cannot be swept under the carpet simply because of their non-noticeability, disguise and secrecy.
Human rights activists Madi Jobarteh said the book is about Cherno’s thoughts that have always been to create a better Gambia in remembering his comrades, saying that Cherno reminded his readers about the mission to collectively rebuild a better Gambia so that there will be no evil regime that will claim the lives of the people with impunity.
“In order to achieve that new Gambia, he calls on us to engage in collective self-examination, knowing that after all, Yaya Jammeh was a product of Gambian society. He lamented the fact that Gambians permitted Yaya Jammeh to victimise the country as if helplessness were part and parcel of Gambian live,” he said.
The Yoruba King to The Gambia described the country as a peaceful that accommodates everyone, irrespective of where they come from.
He said Mr Njie is empowering The Gambia and Gambians by putting the pen to paper and writing about the country, saying it will go a long way in helping the next generations to know how the people were governed and whether there was peace in the country.
“We should at all times try to identify our culture. If we don’t promote our culture, nobody will do it for us. We should dress culturally,” he said.
Professor Toyin Falola, the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas said the book will be translated into French and an E book will be available online.
He also revealed that he and four others will be establishing the Cherno Njie foundation that will seek to provide scholarship to students. “I will be committed to spend 20 thousand US dollars to The Gambia every year. We will be giving scholarships to Gambian citizens and we will be sending people to Nigeria to study medicine. We will also pump money into organising series of workshops on entrepreneurship,” he stated.
Cherno Njie said his six-year experience coincided with the dangerous raising alarm of the Jammeh regime. “I said to myself and with the aiding of friends and family, let me set the record straight on December 30. With the past few years that born out was a significant event in Gambia’s political history but I also wanted to examine my life and give account of the forces that shaped me and my world view.”
Mr Njie said there is need to redefine the norm of citizenship and reassess the role of government, saying the country needs a new openness beyond the ‘Maslaha’ syndrome and decide what type of character the country should expect from its leaders. “What does it meant to say I am a Gambian citizen?”
Story written by Juldeh Njie