Awa (Gambie) Jonga’s dad responds to rumours: “Youssou N'Dour gave us nothing!”

She blew us away with her incredible voice on Sen P'tit Gallé.  Awa Jonga – that is the name you going to want to remember. She is the country’s newest music heart-throb! 

Sen P'tit Gallé has been a wild ride for the 14-year-old; belting out covers of some of Senegambia’s hit songs, week in, week out. She made it to the semi-final where she was eliminated. “I wasn’t upset. I was happy that I made it to the semi-final and the fans were not disappointed with me. I gave it my best,” she said. 

But with success came plenty of rumours. Fans are whispering that Senegalese international star, Youssou N'Dour gave her one million CFA franc, an iPad and ticket to attend the Bercy Grand Concert in France. 

Responding to the rumours, Awa’s dad, Alhaji Jonga told What’s On-Gambia: “As a parent hearing such rumours is really torturing. I came from an extended family and I would prefer fans and well-wishers to stop speculating.” 

He said the rumours are far from the truth, explaining that her daughter only received an iPad and 80,000 CFA franc (D6, 000) from the organisers of Sen P'tit Gallé. 

Mr. Jonga, who works as a Revenue Officer with the Kanifing Municipal Council, disclosed that he also heard President Jammeh offered Awa a brand new car. 

“He can do more than that and I and Awa are strong APRC supporters but only the truth can set us free. The only cash I received from Gambians was 50euros from Alh. Lamin Manga, Director General of Gambia Radio and Television Services and D2000 from Mr. Baba Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture to help and Support Awa during the competition and the rest I did it all. I’m not saying this because am looking for help; I just want to set the record straight.” 

Sen P'tit Gallé is a television music competition organised by the media company, Prince Arts for teenagers aspiring to become musicians and aired on TFM.  The competition started in 2011 and since then it has become one of the most popular programs on Senegalese TV. 

Chatting to What’s On-Gambia, Awa said she is happy that the competition has given her the opportunity to shine. “I’m a champion and a champion is someone who gets up when she can’t. I was sick and admitted in hospital for three days and the doctor said I could not but I said YES I CAN! I was back on stage representing my country.” 

Awa was over-appreciative of the overwhelming support she received from Gambians both home and abroad. 

“The support I received from Gambians was fantastic. I was struggling very hard in Senegal to raise the Gambian flag higher. I was really worried about the votes but thank God I got a lot of votes from The Gambia.  Bravo to the Gambians and my fans abroad. I love you for your support and votes,” she said. 

The talented kid wants to see more Gambians taking part in Sen P’tit Galle. According to her it is all about hard work and determination. During her time in Dakar, Awa met with lot of top Senegalese musicians and also visited some fun tourist attractions. 

She thanked her dad for his love and support: “My father told me that the more you dream, the further you go. He made me believe that I am a champion. He told me that I can make it, through hard work.” 

Awa is now back to school. Judging by the amount her voice has improved during the competition; big things are in store for the Grade 8 student. She already got a lot in the works: new single, interviews and hopefully a tour of schools. 

“I’m organizing a party for her. The whole family is so proud of her!” said her dad.

 

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