In the male-dominated field of wrestling journalism in the Gambia, one woman who fought against discrimination and prejudice, today stands shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts.
Fatou Sarr is now making her mark on what was once a rocky and unforgiving path for female wrestling journalists. Today she has come a long way.
The journey for the 30-year-old Sarr began in 2013 when she was inspired by a friend, Fallou Gallas. “Fallou used to take me to wrestling events. She would give me the microphone to interview people,” Sarr explains.
Sarr is considered to be among the first cohort of female wrestling broadcasters. She is often credited as one of the individuals who led tremendous advancements in the development of Gambian wrestling. ‘’Fatou Sarr is doing well, she is the type of woman who goes toe to toe with her male colleagues in the job,” says Ebrima Suwareh.
In 2014, Sarr joined SEN FM Radio as a rookie reporter, rising through the ranks to become producer and presenter of a two-hour wrestling program. ‘’The journey like many others out there wasn’t all rosy for me,” she says. ‘’When I started, my mother did not want me to either attend or report on wrestling. Her reason was I shouldn’t go near the mystics used by the wrestlers. ‘The mystics might bring bad fortune to you my daughter’,” Sarr recalls her mother’s admonition to her.
However, Fatou Sarr stood her ground in the media by insisting that she be allowed to join her male colleagues in the newsroom. As a result, she now co-hosts a popular wrestling show on radio ‘Chumu Kai’ on Choice FM.
According to Sarr, women wrestling journalists are now making steady progress due to some of the support of their male colleagues. “Our male colleagues are very supportive; hence we normally share platforms together. I think stakeholders in wrestling now know that women journalists are equally important like our male counterparts in the development of Gambian wrestling.’’
Fatou now sees her career not as a challenge but a cultural change. “Everyone was uncomfortable with his or her career in the beginning. But because of what I’ve faced, I am now a better reporter,” she tells The Chronicle.