Gestures made by people in Gambia can be confusing at
first. Here are some commonly used hand signals, pictured
and explained non-verbal behaviour:
1: "ma-bañ" in Wolof. A sign of refusal, usually
coming from stubborn children. Literally, "a chicken
would!" (Note: this is an effective way to ward
off sweet begging children, sure to make them laugh).
2: "I will beat you”, sometimes accompanied by
a "tsk tsk" and disapproving shake of the
head. This is the usual threat of punishment for difficult
3: "later" or "when I return." Useful
for friends and acquaintances after a chat or when in
4: "Salamalekum." This represents a handshake
from a distance and thus should be shown back in kind.
Often used in passing at a distance or when face-to-face
verbal greetings are difficult or impossible.