Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Clarifying a poem: Remnants of the Nyanchos

'I do not mean to chastise....'Re: Responding To Haddy Sanneh
Our able sister, Nyancho Fatou Jaw Manneh, our many Nyancho brothers within the Gambian democratisation struggle, among them (Abdoukarim Sanneh, Dave Manneh, Banka, Kebba Sanneh Sweden, etc) I salute you. The poem I wrote over an year ago was in fact, acknowledging the valour and fortitude of Nyanchoya and the Korinya generation.
I respect the suspicions of Haddy Sanneh in wanting others to provide further explanations to the poem. However, sister Haddy should remember that, poetry is open to individualistic understanding, hence the poetic license terminology. The poem was inspired by the books I read on the adventures of the Nyanchos and Korings across the Gambia and Kabbu. Their motivations, philosophy, thinking and the reasoning behind their military campaigns across what is now the Senegambia intrigue me.

Haddy should be reminded that, the Nyanchos even though were not Muslims use to have very close cordial relationship with the spiritual witch doctors or Marabous (Moros) of which, we the Manden Moris are equally complicit in energising the good and bad expeditions. To this end, a famous episode is associated to the reason why, the Tourays and Sanyang kunda became very strong cousins. The simple explanation of the poem is to do with, the advent of the Nyanchos embracing Islam. And this spiritual turnaround was never by force.
Even after Kaabu fell, the Nyanchos continue to maintain a relatively respectable positions within societies they inhabit. This is evident in the settlements they founded in the Gambia and Cassamance.However, in paganism they vow to die without hesitation for the sake of empire and pride in their heritage. In Islam, pride is curtailed if it is to do with ones birth right, tribe, race, wealth etc.

In Islam, the Nyanchos threw away all the mega idols of Kaabu (Tamba-Julu-Jalans: Kabentu Tabo, Len-ko, Kansala-Sibo and the decommissioned ‘Kantenten Suto’, Bere Kolon Jiinoli and the minor bees they place their trust with).
Islam forbids associating partners with the only creator of mankind. The interest in Idols is to do with the demons that enter them and make believe that, the rocks, Trees, rivers, bees etc people direct their worship and venerations to are intermediary to God. The Nyanchos became prominent in the Monotheistic religion of Islam to earn the title Kan-Sanneh, Kan-Sanyang etc.
So Haddy, it is on that vain the poem was speaking. Extolling the Nyanchos to remain in the faith and never try to allow the pride of the past make wine or idolatry fanciful.I quote the Qur’an:
On IdolsVerily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills; and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, has indeed invented a tremendous sin. (Chapter 4:48)
Finally, on Alcohol, fortunetelling etc"O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-ansab and Al-Azlam (divinations by using arrows) are an abomination of Shaitan's handiwork..." ( Qur'an 5:90)
Idolatry and alcohol indulgence was the bedrock of Nyanhoya past time. These two things constitue the worst sins in Islam. On the issue of Idols, that is a straight red card in Islam, whilst Alcohol drinking is classified the mother of all sins. Any Nyancho who freely abandon them is still a hero.

Below are further explanations of the key Mandingo terminology used: I hope that helps?

Kabunka Kelus: Kaabuu men. They use to vow to attain excellence in bravery or martyrdom. The griots would say, these sorts of men are extinct. I would say, may be a few are around.
Fan kun fan kun: This means the selfishness that is now unhidden. People choosing number one even in dire situations where the majority plight should be considered first.
Tipu korto and majah doloh: Tipu korto use to be a certain fashion of trouser in the old days. The top is tight and the leg end is widen.
Maja doloh is the maize wine.Kumaa baa foo and Jamun dima: Boastfulness and seeking praise for the bravado.

Sidoyaa anin laban tiinya: Early death and improper end of life. Here I took a swipe at the Nyanchos for preferring to die early instead of living up their dreams. I find them courageous but one should stay and finish a business instead choosing death. But the other side of their choosing death is that, they will never tolerate humiliation, death is better.
Muu nyo mann nyon-soto: patient is a virtue. When one can be calm on the face of adversity, you are a winner.
Suturo maan nyon soto: To be discrete is vital. Allow an air of mystery.
Nka nko kumo lefo aliyee: A talk in MandingoTaa moo kana ale badalindi: The phenomena that travel has created in our society is open for all to see.
Kubaa bee laban, kun din: Everything ends in humility and weakness.
Saya wote baye lah: Death is inevitable. Sometimes our intelligence deceives us.
Nyancholi tubita: The nyanchos have accepted monotheism, i.e. IslamAllah yee tuboli mutale: God has accepted the repentance.Thank you Haddy. The poem was never a ridicule or chastisement. I love the Nyanchos.Suntou

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