Jereba Touray: Last Chief of Bakau

Jereba Touray: Last Chief of Bakau

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The last time Bakau had a chief was seventy years ago and Jereba Touray, described by many as competent and hardworking was the last. He was credited for being a leader who served the interest of the people during his reign.

Touray served as Chief of Kombo St. Mary’s District stationed in Bakau from 1942 to 1946. Chieftaincy in the Kombo St Mary was unique as it was rotational between Lamin village and Bakau.

A confidential district report on Jereba in 1943 described him as a “competent and hardworking personality”. The 1944 report further indicated that he was “an able leader who carried people with him and was honest”. Notwithstanding this, he was also described as someone who hated delegating responsibilities.

Jerreh Touray’s tenure as chief was short-lived, for in 1946, the British came up with a drastic change in the administration of Kombo St. Mary’s District.  This led to the formation of Kombo District Authority, a quasi-municipality, which the British believed would be better able to handle the affairs of the urban district.

A document obtained from Bakau Kachikally Museum described Jerreba as an “efficient chief”. Despite this, he was said to have been confronted with serious challenges in running the affairs of a highly urban and cosmopolitan district like Kombo St Mary’s with local methods and customs.

Alagie Mbaye, griot and oral historian recalled that the late chief’s time was filled with joy and that he was accommodating to people especially strangers.

“His house was always opened to businessmen and griots,” said Mbaye. He disclosed that prominent among the griots were Mamudu Susso of Baddibou Salikeni as well as his marabout Sheriff Sheikh Abba from Mauritania.

by Omar Wally