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This is the real story of Fatou Camara!
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This is the real story of Fatou Camara!

She shot to fame in the mid-nineties when she joined then, Gam TV as a newscaster. Soon viewers began to notice and warmed up to this adorable young woman. The short-haired Fatou Camara with a cheeky smile entered into our living rooms, and then made her way into our hearts. It didn't take long before she became the nation's sweetheart, sort of.

Time, good old time, has unmasked the real Fatou Camara. Her on-screen chemistry with Haruna Drammeh did not go unnoticed. Young viewers went on a wild guessing game; would they? wouldn't they? Her Television husband would later become her real husband on the outside, and the rest as they would say is history. 

Fatou soon left for the UK to further her education but did not graduate due to, by her own admission, financial constraints. Babili Mansa even once bailed her out with tuition fees. She returned home half-educated. She soon finds her way to the US where the hard-knock life of an immigrant in the inner cities of the Midwest knocked her cold. She swapped her glitz and glamour lifestyle in The Gambia for a place in a salon as an apprentice dusting and mopping while learning the trade of hairdressing. During quiet moments, she is always nostalgic reminiscing her time at the national broadcaster, telling anyone who cares to listen how a big star she was back home. Long hard, cold winters began to take its toll on her. Then Mrs Drammeh had enough and booked a one-way ticket. Back to Banjul, back to GRTS. 

At GRTS, all indications are that the institution has gone backwards since the last time she left. After a couple of years or so, she parted with them, albeit on good terms, which opens the door for her in the event she wants to return. After three years working at the US Embassy; wary of her dwindling popularity, she abruptly left and re-joined GRTS. She used her new TV show, Fatu Show, to settle scores with the Diaspora strugglers. She called them all sorts of derogatory terms in the book, unknowing to her; she would be one of them before too long.

Fatou Camara – the Struggler

After falling out with Babili Mansa, she was thrown out of GRTS, straight to the NIA cells. Twenty-five days at Bamba Dinka woke her to the realities she earlier denied. Escaping to the US was her next move after her release. Pa Nderry Mbai sanitised her and gradually eased her into the struggle. As soon as she settled down and set up her own medium, she waged a behind-the-scene war to dislodge Nderry and Freedom News Inc as the numero uno online newspaper. She is such a fierce competitor that she can't accept the fact that someone else is ahead of her in terms of ratings/traffic. Many folks are privy to her concerted efforts, all in futility, to dethrone Pa Nderry. When all efforts failed, she hatched a new strategy by fabricating her numbers, manipulating her counter (to give high number article reads), giving the impression that every medium is playing second fiddle to hers. One by one original voluntary staff started deserting Fatu Radio/Network. One of the many regrettable things she did was dividing the struggle into Fatou Camara camp and Pa Nderry camp. She accused the men of being scaredy-cats, afraid of Pa Nderry. Some of these men had to publicly fall out with Nderry to prove to her that they are indeed, no cowards. She effectively turned some men into her bogeymen. 

Rivalry with Fatou Touray

Fatou Camara's problems with Fatou Touray started in the States when she tried to recruit her into the struggle. The struggle was a toxic movement where the person who hurls the nastiest insults gets the loudest applause. For that reason, many self-respecting Gambians wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Now you can understand Ms Touray's reluctance to join. It is fair to say that Ms Camara was the least please and it was alleged that she went on air to claim that Ms Touray made up with Jammeh and will be returning home soonest. Fatou Touray later came out and dismissed those claims as concocted lies. 

In the new Gambia, Fatou's initial plans were to set up her own Television station. Those plans were shelved when she realised the operational cost involved and The Gambia is a small market. Television is not profitable as before, many TV stations in the sub-region hardly break-even. Elhadji Ndiaye of 2STV was recently talking about their struggles for survival.

When Jammeh breezed out of town, the diaspora, among them Fatou Touray, start jetting into Banjul to enjoy the euphoric atmosphere. She quickly re-established her contacts with the corporate executives to back her new project, Kerr Fatou which has been a hit since its inception. She is a typical Gambian girl: girly girl, agreeable, living stress-free life, etc. She is easier to deal with than her rival. She is not bothered if she is number one or not, her primary goal is to do her job, get paid, create employment; anything that comes along is a bonus. 

The mother-of-three felt that Fatou Touray is stealing a living from her ideas/creativity hence the animosity. For her, talk show is her own, whoever wants to venture into it needs her approval. What she fails to realise is that this talk show format/concept has been done elsewhere (well before the birth of GRTS) and replicated hundreds of times around the world; so, where is the originality? In one of her videos, she aimed a dig at Ms Touray, blaming her for her delayed comeback to GRTS. She talked about sponsors she used to have, some paying up to one million Dalasi. She is such a grabby person, too business minded for the liking of most Gambians, who you know are frugally minded. Then, the businesses will pay up because there was no alternative, now there is, so watch out. In these times of austerity, why would any organisation cough-up one million Dalasi as a sponsorship deal with Fatou Show when a third of that amount can get you a good deal with Kerr Fatou? And, you will get the same exposure and desired result. 

 

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