A young Gambian girl, Ami, decorates her hair with candy – ‘mintys’ – for International Commonwealth Day, March 11th, 2019. We met her and her friends, playing on the local rubbish dump at Kotu Quarry, the Gambia, West Africa. Taken whilst on an assignment about a new Dutch-funded plastic recycling plant, with Helen Jones-Florio.
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We are still in West Africa, and I see similarities every day in many of the doors and storefronts, here in the Gambia, of those that I see daily in Malta – the rich, and vibrant colours of beauty in decay…
From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.
His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders.
With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.