Sarata Jabbi-Dibba

(JollofNews) – My guest this week is Sarata Jabbi-Dibba, a UK-based Gambian gender activist and anti-FGM campaigner. A former student of Muslim Senior Secondary School, she was a regular columnist at the independent Point Newspaper and vice-president of the Gambia Press Union (GPU).

Who is Sarata Jabbi-Dibba?

I was born in Basse Upper River Region (URR) and I grew up in Brikama-Ba Central River Region (CRR). I Studied at Indiana University of Pennsylvania through Gambia Media Training Centre (School of Media) and Birmingham City University.  I’m a wife, mother, gender activist and a community support worker.

When were you happiest?

The night I was reunited with my family after my release from the notorious Mile Two Central prisons.

What is your greatest fear?

Death. It is scary because there is no cure or solution to it. When one is gone he/she is gone forever.

What is your earliest memory?

Playing hide and seek and other games like Adice, premiso and rope skipping with my sisters and friends in Brikama-Ba. We also use to save our school lunch/dinner money for the weekend open night music show locally called ‘Fural’. I really had great memories of that place and I feel nostalgic talking about it now.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Inability to say no when it comes to helping others in need.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

selfishness and backstabbing.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

When I proudly introduced myself as a Gambian at a conference and someone said to me “Oh I heard that your president cures HIV/Aids”. Everyone at the venue just stared at me and started asking me questions. I felt so embarrassed.

What is the most expensive thing you’ve bought?

A car.

What is your most treasured possession?

My children. They are the best thing that have ever happened to me and I thank Allah for His blessings.

 What would your superpower be?

Ability to end poverty, sufferings and cries of the poor and vulnerable women and children all over the world.

What is your favourite smell?

Talcum (baby) powder.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?

Mammoths. They are big, hairy and resemble elephants and I think they would be a great addition to our wild life.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?

When one NIA officer accused me of trying to destabilise the Gambia simply because me and my colleagues at the Gambia Press Union (GPU) had the courage to challenge ex-President Jammeh’s irresponsible comments about the death of  Deyda Hydara of The Point Newspaper.
 
  Have you ever said “I love you” and not meant it?

Never.

Which living person do you most despise, and why? 

I do try to look at the good in people. But I find it hard to stomach hypocrites, selfish and evil-minded people who spend all their time and energies inflicting pain, sufferings and tearing families and communities apart.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

My family, friends and anyone who is committed to making a difference in other people’s lives. 
 
If you could go back in time, where would you go? 

Brikama-Ba, CRR.  I spent the best part of childhood there and I have wonderful memories of the place.

Which word do you most overuse?

Alhamdulillah.

What has been your biggest disappointment?

When Gambian authorities forcefully took my baby boy I was breastfeeding away from me while I was in prison. He was only a few months old at the time and he cried his heart out but that never mattered to the relevant authorities who were determined to punish and make me suffer.

 How do you relax?

Chatting with my siblings or children.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?

Sometime last year when I nearly had a head-on collision with another vehicle. Phew! It was a close call and I couldn’t stop shaking for the whole day.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

Family. Seeing my children grow into responsible adults will fulfill my dreams.

What is your greatest achievement?

Successfully completing  my degree programme. It wasn’t an easy journey though, but thanks to Allah, I am happy to now call myself a graduate in journalism.

What keeps you awake at night?

Thinking and praying for my late parents.

 How would you like to be remembered?

A humble, kind and hardworking advocate of gender equality.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Not to be judgemental and never give up even when the going gets tough.

 Is it better to give or receive?

I believe in both, but prefer giving especially when am not expecting anything in return.

Which living person do you most admire?

My husband. He is such a selfless man. He is loving, caring, supporting, respectful and above all content with the little he
has.