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Patience Sonko-Godwin / Sunrise Publishers
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Contact Office Address Details:
Sunrise Publishers Gambia Co. Ltd.
P.O. Box 955, Banjul
Tallinding Kujang, Serrekunda
The Gambia, West Africa

Tel no: +220 4393538
                    7701708 / 9905591


Patience Sonko-Godwin is a renowned Gambian writer who has produced much work in the history, culture and traditions of the people of the Senegambia Region. She received her first degree in history and English at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, West Africa and her master’s degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, U S A. She taught history and English at St Helena Secondary School, Freetown, Sierra Leone, and returned to her native Gambia to teach mainly history at Nusrat Senior Secondary School in Bundung and later at Hermann Gmeiner Senior Secondary School, Bakoteh, both at the Greater Banjul area. She taught for fourteen years in Nusrat Senior Secondary School where she rose to the position of Acting Vice-Principal.

Sonko-Godwin later joined the National Council for Arts and Culture as the Principal Cultural Officer of the Research and Documentation Division. She retired from this position and is now fully engaged in research and writing on the history of the Senegambia Region. She also delivers lectures to students, scholars, and various social groups at home and abroad. A resource person of high calibre, she treats issues of history, education, culture, tradition and religion with great expertise, in various seminars and workshops at home. Her consultancy work includes ‘Poverty Alleviation Programme’ Phase I, funded by TANGO 1992, ‘Feasibility Study on the Slave Route’ project in The Gambia, funded by UNESCO (1999) , ‘Trade Gateway Project for The Gambia’, funded by the World Bank and carried out by ECOLAS, a consultancy company in Belgium.(1999), Islam Ak Jamano (2003), an exhibition on Islam in The Gambia, funded by, the National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM) and National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the 'Environment Impact Assessment- Sub projects Construction/Reconstruction of Roads and Drains in the Kanifing Municipality and the City of Banjul', (2004).

She is a member of international organisations such as Mande Studies Association and Soroptimist International of Banjul (SIB), which was chartered in 1987 by the Soroptimist of Great Britain and Ireland. She is also the Vice President of the Gambia Library Information Service Association (GAMLISA) and a board member of the Gambia Women's Finance Association (GAWFA). In recognition of her help to the youth in her community she was given the ‘Woman in the Community’ award in 1996, by Soroptimist International of Banjul. This was even before she became a member in 1998.

She was a founder member of the Independent Newspaper which was established in 1999, but ceased to be part on this establishment only after four months owing to desire to concentrate on her research and writing. She has accumulated a wealth of information on the history, culture and tradition of the people of the Senegambia Region.

Sonko-Godwin continues to help the youths in her community. She also continues her research in and outside The Gambia and to produce works on the history, culture and traditions of the peoples of the Senegambia Region. Her books have the uniqueness of having the combined history of the Republics of Senegal, The Gambia and to a lesser extent of some other states in West Africa, for example, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Sierra Leone and Europe, as they impinged on the historical developments of the Senegambia Region. As of today, Sunrise Publishers has successfully produced five books but plans to include works of other Gambian authors who find it difficult to publish their works

Sunrise Publishers was founded on 17 July, 1987 to help meet the demand for books on the history, culture and traditions of the peoples of the Senegambia Region because Mrs Patience Sonko-Godwin, the author of the books, found it very difficult to publish her books in The Gambia. This was because there were no publishing houses in the country. The creation of this company was timely as others have also taken up the publication of works of Gambian and non Gambian authors.

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Ethnic Groups of the Senegambia Region:
This book deals with deals with the major ethnic groups of the Senegambia Region namely:- The Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola , Serahuli, Tukulor and Serere. The book tackles the issues of origins, migration, settlements, state formation, intra and inter state relationships. It also addresses the European subjugation of these peoples.

Development of Local Industries in the Senegambia Region: From the Pre-Colonial to the Present Colonial Period
European presence and trade in the Senegambia Region commenced in the 1440s. The British and the French eventually colonised the entire region and this in turned led to economic domination. They brought in their manufactured goods. As a result, the local manufacturing industry experienced serious declines in their fortunes. Today products such as salt, leather, pottery and soap are no longer produced locally as before and are available only in small quantities.

The author has painstakingly researched, and written this book, which deals with the technology (how the products were made), historical, social, economic and cultural importance of the commodities to the people of the Senegambia Region. Thus she not only explains how products such as soap, salt, cloth were produced but also their use and importance to the people of the region.

  Leaders of the Senegambia Region:
Reactions to European Infiltration
19th - 20th Century
This book deals with the background to European presence in the Senegambia Region. It also examines European activities during the era of the partitioning of the region and how the rulers such as Musa Molloh, Foday Kabba Dumbuya, and Lat Jor Jobe, resisted them. Colonial rule and its problems are also examined. Students, scholars and researchers will find the book helpful in understanding the policies and politics of the region in the 19 th and 20th centuries.

  Trade in the Senegambia Region:
From the 12th to the Early 20th Century
This book deals with the local and trans-continental trading activities in the Senegambia Region. In this exposition, Patience Sonko-Godwin depicts trade as an agent of change and transposition of cultures from one state to another and from one continent to another. She delves into aspects of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade during which time millions of people from the Senegambia Region (Senegal, The Gambia and the environs) were forcefully transported to Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Although they were subjected to dehumanising treatment in captivity, they maintained much of their cultures and traditions while adopting new ones.

  Social and Political Structures in the Pre-Colonial Period:
Patience Sonko-Godwin discusses the social and political structures of the major ethnic groups in the Senegambia Region and attempts to present a synthetic approach to the study of their organisations in the pre-colonial period.


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