History in Perspective - origin of the name GUNJUR
We still continue to thank God Almighty Allah for linking all of us to the glorious history of Gunjur. We also thank and pray for Darboe Ba and AmaTora Touray, the founding ancestral patriarchs of Gunjur for laying the foundation of Islamic clerical civilisation that also became a catalyst for the creation of nineteenth Islamic theocratic state led by Great Ebrima Foday Kombo Sillah Touray. It should be understood that the quest for foundation of Islamic state in the nineteenth century required intense material and human resource mobilisation. Therefore, the contributions of martyrs and the warriors of the uprising that led to Muslim conquest in Kombo require the attention of scholars. It is obvious that Gunjur area was initially inhabited by Bainunkas of Beyai clan headed by Banjuk Byai. The Beyai Bainunka group was identified as Beyaros in the southern Kombo by Manding speaking people. Prior to massive Westward Mandinka movement in the Senegambia region, and the consolidation of prominent Manding clans of Darboes and Tourays, the area was never called Gunjur. So there is a need for us to raise certain relevant theoretical questions before exploring the evolution of Gunjur in the relevant historical context:
What is the origin of the name GUNJUR? Was this name linked to any ancient clerical establishment in the Senegambia region prior to the migration of Muslims into Kombo? The notion that the name Gunjur derived from Tunjuru is a general belief. What of the settlement like Badibu Gunjur in the North Bank? Was the name of this settlement also carved as a consequence of similar process? Who actually created the name? These questions are raised purposely to attract diverse views. It is not actually meant to discredit the earlier misconceptions but rather meant to re-situate our history in the scientific context.
Watch out for the answers to the questions raised herein in our subsequent series.
Editor’s note: Ensa Touray is a lecturer of History at The University of The Gambia. He is currently a doctorate student at University of Ife, Nigeria. He obtained his Bachelor and Master's degrees in African studies from University of The Gambia before proceeding to University of Ife, Nigeria where he is completing his doctorate degree in African studies.