Alinga Nsabari Nyoyeh! High divorce rate threatens Gambian communities in Sweden

Written by Saja

Rumors are suggesting that Sweden has the highest rate of divorce among Gambians living in the diaspora and most of the time, women are the ones filling in for divorce. 

But why? 

Sometimes, society influences the choices we make. Sweden is a country where it is “cool” to be a single mum. According to critics, Swedish women don’t like to get stressed. If there are problems in a marriage, they give up easily. 

A senior member of the Gambian community in Stockholm, who begged for anonymity, told our reporter that Gambian women are sometimes too quick to seek comfort somewhere else if things are not working properly in their marriage. 

“The men go through a lot to bring them here and I can’t understand why they are always quick at filling in for divorce,” he said. 

Demba (not his real name) was in The Gambia for holiday and met a girl. They started dating and eventually got married. Everything was so quick and he brought the girl to Sweden to join him. 

They were living in an area with lot of Gambian immigrants. The marriage became stormy when she discovered that her new ‘semester’ husband was living on social benefits and has a criminal record. They struggled to communicate and connect and as a result they slowly grew apart. Demba blamed his Gambian neighbors for ruining his marriage. 

“The problem is some of our brothers marry based on sexual desire and they live in a fantasy world. They go to Gambia, on holiday, meet a girl and the next thing you hear is that they are married and the girl is around,” said our source. 

Sweden is among the best countries in the world for a woman to live with a generous parental allowance system. The government is also committed to creating equal opportunities for the sexes. 

Our source added: “Most of the women that move here to join their husbands, always come with plans and some of these plans are unknown to their husbands. I have seen one of them, who divorced the husband and went back home to ‘marry’ her brother and now he is also living here.” 

After few years in Sweden, the women would want to play a leading role in the house. They are not ready to stoop down for their husbands and this is one of the reasons for most marriage breakups.


Speaking to our reporter, one Kaddy Saidybah disclosed that she lives in Stockholm and has been married over ten years. 

“Both men and women are responsible for the marriage breakups.  Some women highly respect their husbands and for others, marriage is an opportunity to search for greener pastures in Europe. As a new arrival in Sweden, if you’re not lucky to make good friends, who give you good advices you may land in difficulties,” she said. 

Kaddy added that some women are encouraged not to accept “nonsense” from their husbands. 

“Like they tell them-don’t allow your husband to beat you, don’t be your husband’s housemaid and you have to share household chores. And if he hits you, call the police.” 

According to her, the unwillingness of men to take full responsibility of household bills and grocery costs has also led to problems in many marriages. 

“ They always insist on 50-50, like it is in many Swedish families.  They want all expenses to be equally shared.” 

She encouraged her fellow women to develop patience in their marriages.

Louie Mbegu SagniaFor his part, the chairman of the Organisation of Gambians in Stockholm (OGIS), Louie Mbegu Sagnia said: “I think the main problem is the lack of understanding and respect. In The Gambia, people are simple and friendly, but when you come to Sweden you see things in the opposite directions. To be honest I have seen couples that are happily living together.” 

Louie told What’s On-Gambia that his organization is out to promote unity among Gambians and his executive committee is always available to help families in crises. 

“My advice is, as individuals and mature grown-ups, we have to take our responsibilities as married couples and respect our marital vows... FOR BETTER AND FOR WORST!”