On being twins: A chat with Gunjur’s Sainey and Alhassan Darboe

Written by Alieu Khan

Twins

A pair of twin brothers from Gunjur, Kombo South celebrated their 27th birthday this month. Sainey and Alhassan Darboe were journalists in The Gambia before they moved to the United States of America.

What’s On-Gambia: Happy birthday!

Dorboe twins: Thank you!

Let’s start by taking a look back. What was it like growing up in Gunjur?

Growing up in Gunjur was immense fun. It is a town endowed with great history and culture that offsets its relative material poverty in the economic turbulence of the late 80’s and 90’s. With a long coast of the Atlantic Ocean and friendly people, it is a child’s paradise where we enjoyed nocturnal games of hide and seek known in the local Mandinka language as Nuwoo, hunting game in the bush like rabbits and mice (dix or dirimo) among other Islamically edible inhabitants of the outlying bushes were adventures that we still miss keenly.

We grew up in a loving family with immense proximity to our late father Nfansu Matida Darboe (Fansun Jato) aka self-proclaimed lion of Gunjur who was accused of spoiling us because he loved us so much. There was an aura of mystery about twins which we maximally exploited to keep peers in mortal fear of us with expectation of spiritual retribution. Oh,how lives and people do change!

twins

Did you both go to the same schools?

We have always attended the same schools and were very competitive. Actually, we still are despite our best attempts to underplay it with our alleged attainment of maturity. We parted ways after high school when Alhassan moved to the US for college education. I decided to stay and pursue a degree in law at the University of the Gambia which I really enjoyed.

What do you find interesting about being twins?

Interesting question! Perhaps the most remarkable thing about our twinhood is the telepathy we share. We often think the same things at the same times and pick up each other’s emotional vibrations thousands of miles away. We could go on.

What are your interests? Are they alike or different?

Yes and no. We have always shared a common interest in reading and writing but Alhassan’s mind has, of late, been hijacked by a dream of garnering stupendous material wealth. He is now a licensed real estate broker and wants to own and sell commercial and residential real estate across America. He wants to be the next Donald Trump of America and to my surprise he has no sense of limitation and is earnestly working towards it.

Sainey, tell us about your time working as Editor-in-Chief for the Standard Newspaper?

 It was a huge opportunity to be in such a position of influence while contributing my modest mound to the sum total efforts aimed at entrenching good governance and rule of law. It was, however, not without its colossal challenges which I shall not substantiate in the public space for reasons best known to me. Don’t ask me why.

Are you still in touch with your former boss and current Information Minister, Hon. Sheriff Bojang?

Sheriff Bojang is now in the service of the Monarch of Banjul which has catapulted us into two different worlds. It is a big loss for the media because he is one of the most brilliant journalists Gambia has ever had. We must admit that the man from Kanilai has outfoxed us (laughs)!

Alhassan, you were also working with a local newspaper before you left for the USA. What got you both interested in journalism?

I joined Sainey at Today Newspaper straight after high school following a brief stint with The Voice. I guess our interest in journalism started from reading newspapers and following African and World news with our dad who was an opposition politician with NCP and UDP.

twins

Are you jealous of each other's abilities?

We don’t think jealousy is the right word. But competitive and cooperative are. We always cherish and support each other’s success.

What's it like living in America?

It is awesome! Needless to say, America is a land of freedom and opportunity which allows every man to pursue their goals regardless of race, origin, religion or political affiliation. It is not a land of milk and honey per se, but if you are willing to focus, be disciplined, dream big you can be anything you want to be. We will choose to live here if we had a chance to choose all over again.

Are you guys thinking of changing your career paths?

Alhassan is already into real estate business which he loves with senseless passion, but I see myself pursuing further studies in law which I started back home.

Tell us something about your home village, Gunjur.

It could be summed up in one word: the best place on earth because there is no place like home they say.

By the way, where is former politician Mbemba Jatta?

Your guess is as good as ours.

Are Gunjurians good in the classroom (laughs)?

What a silly question! The classroom brilliance of Gunjurians is universally acknowledged with the likes of Lamin J Darboe,Mbemba Jatta,Clerk Bajo,Star Janneh ,Hatab Bojang,Imam Lamin Touray,Essa Darboe,Seedy Ali Janneh,Chief Pa Mambuna of Transylvania university,Ensa Touray of Univeristy of The Gambia,Karamba Touray and Ebrima Touray just to name  but a few. By the way, the richest man of Gambia is from Gunjur, Alieu Konteh. We are endowed with immense smartness.

Do you miss home?

Yes and no. There are things you miss like family and friends, but certain things that you don’t miss at all. What distance creates technology bridges which has made it easier to keep in touch with the nearest and dearest.

What do you do during your free time?

The theory of a’ free time’ is an illusion. There is nothing like a ‘free time’, you either use time majoring in major things or majoring  in minor things, like watching nonstop TV and soap operas and mindless social media. Mismanaging your time is doing something with your time which leaves you with no ‘free time’.

We like to read and commune with nature. We don’t have much fondness for television and other technological distractions but aspire for higher things that bring the best in human beings.

Anything else you want to say?

Mind your business and leave Balla Ranks and Backway Boys alone. Balla woo Balla (laughs)!!