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Hand Gestures Used in Gambia

Greetings Phrases
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 children.

3: "later" or "when I return." Useful for friends and acquaintances after a chat or when in a hurry.

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.


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