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Momodou Posted - 04 Apr 2022 : 14:27:02
By Dembo Fatty

We have quite often heard of the local name Grumette and it is generally accepted to mean a Christian or an Aku although majority of Aku are Christian.

The problem is that grummette neither means Christian nor an Aku.
An Aku is an indegeneous African of Yoruba descent and are mostly of Nigerian origins. An Aku is or related to ethnicity whilst a Christian is any one who subscribes to the religious philosophy preached by Prophet Issa or Jesus.

A grummette on the other hand is a profession. It is a corrupted Portuguese word spelt as Grumete which means a deckhand or Cabin Boy on a boat or ship. And because the Portuguese were one of the earliest traders here from Europe, and because they traded and lived long enough here, a new ethnic class emerged called Luso Africans.

These were people of mixed race: half Portuguese and half African. This group would then become involved in trade as well and were preferred to the Portuguese traders. In other words, these deckhands/Cabin Boys became middleman in trade in our region buying from locals and selling to the Portuguese.

In Bathurst, the Grummette lived in the area west of Wellington Street mainly in Portuguese Town but before Jollof Town.

Next time you hear Grummette, remember that it just means a deckhand or a Cabin boy who acts as middleman in trade. It would be our current equivalent of RABA RABA whatever that means. Perhaps a hustler.
In short, we do not have Grummettes (Grumete). The profession or the business role is long gone.

Ramadan Mubarak
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Momodou Posted - 04 Apr 2022 : 14:29:02
Emmanuel Daniel Joof

Intresting write up. Years ago however someone gave me a different story/history about the "Grummetes" which is ver different from this one. Note however that today when you say someone is a "Gourmet" , you are referring to someone who is a Christian but a Catholic and not belonging to the Anglican, Methodist and or other Christian denominations. So whether the story of the meaning of "Grumete" as you have stated or the other versions are true, the meaning of a "Grummette" today is those Christians who are Catholics. Most "Grummets" despite adopting Christian first names, maintain their traditional and tribal surnames: Joof, Njie, Sarr, Jobe, Kolley, Sambou, Samba, Wadda etc etc.

Dembo Fatty

Emmanuel Daniel Joof Yes overtime the meaning changed. initially, a different class answered to the name.

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