The Smiling Coast

This photo-essay focuses on the people of “The Gambia”, the smallest country on mainland Africa, mostly surrounded by Senegal with a short strip of its coastline surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at its western end. I have to admit I was surprised to see the happiness of the Gambians, above all the young children. They live very simply, without many expectations of the future. In spite of this, they preserve their smile and sense of humour. It is therefore unsurprising that The Gambia is known as “The Smiling Coast”.

Up until now The Gambia is undeveloped and is beginning to invest heavily in tourism, despite this it retains much of its “virgin Africa” atmosphere and visitors are made to feel very welcome above all due to the beaming grins and vociferous salutations of the local people.

We would say that life there is not at all comfortable, particularly for the average local person, yet the genuine smiles and friendliness never fade and it makes The Gambia a thoroughly pleasant place to be.

The intention was to do a series of portraits of the local people going about their lives in the normal way, to show the variety of strong expressions that one can expect to see throughout the country and to give everyone an insight into the people of The Gambia.

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