Port Of Harlem often posts on Facebook English grammar challenges created by author, editor, publisher, and teacher Fodeh Baldeh. The challenges are often not easy, even for native speakers.
Fula (Pulaar) is the first tongue of Baldeh. The former University of the Gambia lecturer is also the author of “Mind Your English,” and “Njanngen Pulaar : A Handbook on the Fula Language.” The books are available in selected US libraries and through their networks.
“People should speak their own language,” he admonishes, “because they can often express themselves better.” In addition to Fula and English, Baldeh speaks Wolof, Mandinka, and French. It was because of his knowledge of the French language that 1981 coup members asked him, and he complied, to read a statement on the radio in French.
During his 11-month detention for being involved in the 1981 coup attempt, he wrote his first book “A Fate of An African President.” It’s a collection of 39 poems. The 1981-1982 detention, he says, was sometimes worse than being in prison since prisoners got to go out and work and detainees did not.
However, he says during his confinement he did learn to look out more for himself and that he began to realize that his destiny “was in my own hands.” Today, his books are published by his own company, Fulladu Publishers.