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HISTORY in perspective: Origin of the name Gunjur

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

By Ensa Touray, University of The Gambia:


ORIGIN OF THE NAME GUNJUR -

We forwarded in our last posting some theoretical questions relevant to attract diverse opinions and evidence centred on the origin of the name Gunjur. We have not been able to receive a response that could be juxtaposed with the existing popular opinion of TUNJURU. To understand the origin of the name Gunjur requires broader understanding of the framework of historical context of ancient Jahankeh migration led by Jahanke clerical patriarch or ancestor, ALHAGIE SALIM SUWAREH from JAHA MASINA in Mali to Bambuk in the Senegambia region.

Present day coastal settlement of Gunjur: Photo credit - A S Janneh

This historical rationalization will enable us to trace the background of Islamic clerical education of AMATOURA TOURAY, THE ISLAMIC CLERICAL PATRIARCH OF KOMBO GUNJUR. The Jahanke tradition indicated in the work of professor Lamin Sanneh establishes that the first son of Alhagie Salim Suwureh founded a very famous clerical center of GUNJUR:

Darameba and Kharu Muhammad Fofana-Girasi, and that their names had a Serakhulle origin. Darame, it says, was a laqab (honorific), acquired from the practice of cultivating in a field located on what is vaguely described as 'the south side of a great river',i.e., the Bafing on which Diakha-Bambukhu stood. This suggests that the name originally had farming associations.

It was the descendants of this Darameba who founded the famous clerical town of Gunjur, between Khasso and Bundu.


58 LAMIN SANNEH: The Origins of Clericalism in West African Islam:

This evidence can be substantiated by the continuous clerical alignment of the descendants of Amatoura to JAHANKE CLERICS up to the 19th century. Further manifestation can be seen in Manleh's naming of Kombo Sillah after a great Jahanke Saint, Sillahba of Pakau.


About the author:

Ensa Touray hails from Gunjur. 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.

Ensa Touray is a lecturer at the University of The Gambia





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