Tunjina: Nuptial home of legendary Kaddy Kebbeh
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
the outskirts of Kuloro and flanked on the North and South by the communities
of Faraba and Bonto, not much is known about the community of Tunjina.
the community is said to be among the earliest settlements in that part of
Kombo East district of Western Region; much of what is said about it revolves
around the tales of the legendary woman, Kaddy Kebbeh, who was believed to
possess supernatural powers. Series of folk tales colore her extraordinary life
and untimely demise with songs about her forming major hits among traditional
griots in the early days.
tradition has two major shortfalls, (1( facts and figures are always not
available (2) and most often than not the passage of the history from one to
another often entertain additional or missing points. This fact has become even
more substantial in the present generation wherein corruption of the mind by
age and snatching away of the old ones by death are common features.
In our exploration to unearth the history of Tunjina, one fact remained constant. The community gave birth to the on the highway community of Kuloro. Sources say Tunjina however was a settlement that has enjoyed the luxury of age; its name is an Arabic phrase which can literally be translated as ‘seeking protection from God’.
migration from Tunjina to Kuloro began when the colonial government constructed
a highway linking Banjul to Basse (Trans Gambia). This highway did not pass
through many of the villages at the time and it left them remote and isolated. The
distance from the settlement of Tunjina to the highway made the elders of the
settlement of Tunjina to summon a meeting among themselves to decide on their
fate, whether to stay at the settlement or move closer to the highway.
meeting, some elders suggested that it would be best to move closer to the
highway which cuts across their farmland called Kuloro to ease travel, but the
treasures of the old community including land and trees made many reluctant to
leave behind what was considered a valuable asset. Thus Tunjina and Kuloro
today remain the same and different.
We do not
know when Tunjina was born but sources say at the time of its establishment
only the villages of Pirang, Faraba and Basori were in existence. Mixed
narrations were also received with regard to the founding of the community and
who the original founder was.
Some say the route to the foundation is traced as
far as from the Futa region of Guinea, where one Islamic scholar, Cherno Amadou
immigrated from to settlement. He is said to have establish the settlement of
Tunjina at a time when tribal wars dominate Africa, hence the justification for
the name of the settlement.
narration holds that the settlement was founded by one Saikou Jatta. This
Saikou Jatta was said to hail from Busumbala. He is a member of the Jatta
hegemony of the Soninke kingdom of Busumbala and he abandoned his kinship to
establish Tunjina following internal family dispute.
Though sources declined to
go in-depth of the nature, causes and scope of this family dispute, this
version of the tales went on to reveal that this Saikou Jatta established the
settlement during the reign of chief Mamadi Tako of Faraba but did not stay
long in the settlement as he returned to his native Busumbala during the very
early days of settlement.
accounts however confirmed that the settlement of Tunjina came into being in
the height of tribal warfare among indigenous people. The settlement was said
to be a battle field when Foday Kombo Sillah entertained the Soninke’s of Kombo
who were predominantly Bainunkas in his quest to bring down the Soninke
hegemony and replace it with a centralized Islamic state.It also served as a sanctuary for
warriors and kings.
Aborigines and expansion
account stands true for the founding of Tunjina, the community up till today is
relatively small. Agriculture still remains the trademark of the settlement and
the green color that surrounds the community suggests that the indigenes from
the early days returned to the source.
The settlement founded by the erudite
Islamic scholar-Cherno Amadou suggests that he and his disciples were the
aborigines. And awarding credit of the founding of the settlement to the
Soninke warrior cum king from the Jatta hegemony of Busumbala also presupposes
the land was occupied by warriors and soldiers of the Jatta.
the case may be, sources revealed that Tunjina from foundation is a small
society with only four aboriginal ‘Kabilos’ notably Sanneh, Manneh Saidy and
Sonko Kundas. As the aborigines began the enjoyment of the treasures of the new
home, people began migrating from left right and center to join the aborigines
in the company of the settlement. This resulted like in any other settlement to
expansion and today sources indentified up to seven ‘Kabilos’ that compose the
community of Tunjina does not observe the African lineage line of authority
which puts emphasis on the passage of traditional authority from kin of same
clan. Sources say since the early days of the settlement, the alkaloship is
given to an elder among the council of elders of the community based on
consensus. This tradition continues to today and whose ever occupies the seat
of alikalo does so upon consideration of the community elders.
any other indigenous community, the settlement of Tunjina did not do without
the practice of indigenous culture and tradition. According to our sources, the
community operationalized the African philosophy that puts emphasis on age;
elders were give due respect by the younger ones and this gesture was
reciprocated by the elders.
Social events like wrestling, circumcision among others where highly observed. Our sources also pointed out ritual sites like ‘Fara Sutung’ where people accompanied by drumming, singing and dancing performed rituals and prayers to overcome their plight and demand for needs.
Author: Gibairu Janneh