Thursday, November 30, 2023

Making a living through tanning of animal hides

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By: Lolly Sowe

Alasanna Jallow, a 23-year-old tanner (someone whose job is tanning) residing at London Corner in the Kanifing Municipality, has narrated why he chose tanning over other jobs that many young people prefer; a business he said he and his family depend on for survival.

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Tanning is a process by which hide, or skin is processed into leather products. It has been existing for centuries as it was used by our ancestors.

Since ancient times, humans have decorated leather and used it to adorn themselves.

The young Guinean tanner said he started tanning some three years ago by making amulets for traditional and local use.

“I choose to tan to sustain myself than idling and engaging myself in illegal activities,” he told The Fatu Network, adding that he is grateful because the business is better, and he is hoping to expand it.

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The young tanner mentioned that he used different types of skin and hide that are ordered from Cameroon and Mali except for horse and goat skin which he can get at Abuko Veterinary.

For young Alassan, tanning is a business that earns him income as survival for himself and his family in Guinea.

“I started building a house for my family in Guinea through the income generated from my tanning business,” he revealed.

Despite the ups and downs, the business continued to endure. Jallow said he is committed to making it grow.

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Jallow further told The Fatu Network that sometimes business is not as good, noting that that in some instances customers rarely come to either buy any material or sew amulets.

“Sometimes it takes time before the materials we ordered from Cameroon or Mali reach the Gambia,” he said.

Jallow, who has begun to enjoy the fruits of his business, expressed optimism that one day he wants the business to reach every corner of the country.

Once humans began to wear animal skins, they soon tried to colour them with the juice of plants—indeed, perhaps this desire for adornment is what spurred the invention of vegetable tanning.

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