Colonial Time Love Story: Non-Muslim’s Kaaba Dream

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Palm wine tapper


Fara Bass Njie dreamt of Holly Kaaba






Today, Kibaaro Radio’s Natariko [our culture and tradition] is pleased to bring you the legendary story of a Manjako palm wine tapper determined to marry a Mandingka girl.

Fara Bass Njie’s love story is narrated by the eminent Camara clan poet Fina Yahya Camara of Sinbandi Birasu in Casamance. Sinbandi Fina kunda family is counted among the best oral narrators in the region. Their command of oral history, genealogy, Prophetic history, memory of the Quran, prominent people and culture is legendary. The narration is accompanied with a melodious acoustic kora tune, ‘Mariama Sibo Janky, Alhagie Njie Ko Ala Sibo Janky, with Lamin woo, ibulo fantan nma’.

Both Fina Sherifoh Camara and Fina Yahya Camara are renowned historians. Fina Sherifoh narrated the life and mystery of the late Waliyu [Friend of Allah] Sheriff Seedy Hydara in our earlier program. It is the turn of Fina Yahya to guide us to the captivating love story of Fara Bass later known as Alhagie Njie.

This is the story:

Mariama Jaiteh was one of the most beautiful spinsters in her town of Kumus in present day Guinea Bissau, and her father noticed that, with the elegance and good looks of her daughter, he will only allow her to marry the most eligible prominent men around. Her Father Kebba Jaiteh first proposed to a rich Colonial Chief Mady Ceesay to marry Mariama. later heard of Alhagie Njie, who was so rich, he was able to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca. He became entangled in a serious ‘love conflict’, Mariama is torn between two men, all determine to secure her hand in marriage. Part 1 is on today. Fara Bass is a palm wine tapper who came from Pulunki in present day, Guinea Bissau. He travelled through many villages before ultimately settling in Sinbandi Birasi in Cassamance, a Mandingka village. Fara Bass dreamt of the Holy Kabba whilst a non-Muslim, he narrated the dream to his host, the Fina family. They took him to the village Imam, who explain to Fara Bass that, his dream is strange. Since he is still a non-Muslim, he dreamt of the Kaaba in Mecca.

Few months later, Fara Bass decided to convert to Islam, and became a Muslim. He was given the name Mamadou Njie. Several years later, Mamadou Njie, was able to save enough money to journey to Mecca for his pilgrimage. In those days, only two other people went on pilgrimage in that entire region. After the pilgrimage, he took the name ‘Alhagie Njie’. His fame grow to the point, his close friend recommend that, he marry a Mandingka wife. This is where the love story began. Today, our segment is in his arrival at Sinbandi and how he travel to Mecca and was offered a wife by Keba Jaiteh. The controversy that result and the epic end of the love story will relay next week Tuesday. It is a good end, so tune in today and next week Tuesday for the complete story.

The tradition to marry women from other tribes in a long and commonly practise in our region, this is to break down barriers and solidify relations. In the 1960s, 1970s to the 1980s, prominent rural dwellers in the Gambia, marry women from other tribes to reach out and create the atmosphere of commonality and maintain ties. The Gambian capital is a proof to this testament.


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