Ghetto: A Form Of Escapism For Many Gambian Youths

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By: Alimatou S Bajinka

In the minds of many, the ghetto is seen as a crime-prone, drug-infested, and violent area of a city, village or street.

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This image of the ghetto serves as a powerful source of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination.

In this regard, this medium spoke to some ghetto youth to unveil their reasons of sitting in ghettos.

Alieu Bah is a driver and a shopkeeper, opposite to whose shop is a ghetto and has been for many years. He described the ghetto as a form of escapism for most youths.

“Most of these young people that sit at this ghetto are running away from family pressures at home. It is either they are being forced to get a wife, being bullied for not having a job, or eating without being able to contribute to the livelihood, among others. These reasons force most of these youth out of their homes” he asserted.

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Modou sits at the ghetto. He said his home is full of judgmental people instead of helping him make amends in his life they are doing him more harm.

“I have a day job; I smoke but I do not steal. My home is a no-go area for me because there it is full of judgmental individuals. Because I smoke, they label me a thief and bad guy. Instead of advising me to stop smoking, they call me all type of bad names. I sit in ghettos, because there, you are not judged or treated like an outsider.”

Ebrima Bobou stressed that sitting in ghettos does not mean one is a drug dealer or poor. “I am comfortable. I have a day job and I sit in the ghetto just to clear my head after work. People constantly stereotype people based on what they think.”

Fallou Kebbeh lamented the attitude of his family towards him.

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“They push me out, they are the course of my current state. I have a wife and kids, but I do not earn much compared to my siblings, therefore, I am accorded little or no respect. I am trying but you know the Gambian salary as I cannot feed my wife and three kids with it let alone my siblings, mum and dad. So, I try but the little I contribute is not appreciated. So, when I close from work, I sit at the ghetto till daybreak then I sneak into the compound to avoid stress.”

According to research, Getto is a part of a city, village or street, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups, restrict to an isolated or segregated area or group.

Research shows that without family and social support systems, people experiencing lack of belong live in the shadowy edges of society. This puts them in a higher risk of victimization, poor health, loneliness, and depression, which can lead to dependency, crime, and a host of other issues.

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