Posted - 09 Jan 2020 : 20:19:27
TIRAMAKAN TARA WARA
By Dembo Fatty
First things First
Tiramakan Tara Wara is the true name of this Military General of Manding Empire. Note that i did not mention Manding State. The two are different. The state had its capital at Niani and the Empire at Kangkaba. He gained immeasurable fame after Kurukan Fuga in 1235 in the westward expansion of the Empire.
Trawally is a corrupted name for Tara Wara. Tiramakan's ancestor was Abdallah Tara Wara and genealogy started from him down to the rest. Tara Wara is an Arabic description for an ability to see from behind. Tara means to see. Wara means from behind. Simply put, Abdallah Tara Wara means Abdallah who sees from behind or a man with knowledge and who sees into the future.
His Military Career
Tiramakan came west to avenge for the humiliation of Manding army's procurement officials tasked with buying horses for the cavalry. When the king of Jollof seized their horses and gave them dogs instead, that angered Sundiata and the competition for who should lead the expeditionary army became quite theatrical. Fakoli asked to be appointed head and so did Tiramakan who dug his grave and asked to be wrapped up in a shroud ready to committ suicide if not given the chance. Sundiata yielded to him.
He killed the Jollof king; was at heart of the creation of Kaabu Empire and became the FARIM or Mansabaa. His descendants, the Sanneh and Manneh who are actually Tara Wara ruled Kaabu.
His first settlement he founded was Sangkonglaa Berekolong in Kaabu. He later founded Tiramakan Tenda now Basse. His descendants, the Jobes founded present day Dakar. Remember that Yoff, where Senegal's old airport is is the heart of Lebu ethnic group of Jollof. It was the Lebu who gave us the name Senegal from the words: Sunu gal; meaning "our canoe". They were sea farers. Dakar is next door.
Tiramakan was a young man just as Sundiata and Fakoli. Sundiata was said to be 35 years when he became Emperor.
It is told in oral history that at the time Tiramakan came west ward, he had two sons already namely Musa Tara Wara and Dantuma Tara Wara.
He expanded the Empire and credited with good administrative skills.
Tiramakan according oral accounts never settled again in the imperial capital of Kangkaba. He was said to have died in present day Basse and buried under the great "Timbing" tree or Tamarind tree.
Before his death, his Jalis requested that he grant them a settlement of their own and he gave them land later to be known as Sotuma. Sotuma is from: Suwo Tuma meaning " a home at the right time". The time simply in reference to Tiramakan old age and ensuring the request for land was apt.
Sotuma is a Jali town granted under a royal charter if you like. I have not visited the settlement but am told that it once teamed with Suso,Kuyateh and Jobarteh clans. The Manding song called LAMBANG is to the Kurukan Fuga as SOTUMA is to Tiramakan as far as MandingJalis are concerned. .
Jalis do not normally found a settlement of their own. They settled among their BATU FAAs. Sotuma was an exception to the rule. Sotuma and Basse are important Mandinka settlements in the Gambia.
I hope I have answered your question and stand to be corrected.
Lets rewrite our history.
THE FALLACY THAT THE BAMBARA CHASED THE MANDINKA OUT OF MALI: ENTER TIRAMAKAN TARA WARA
By Dembo Fatty
As a follow up to your question regarding the burial place of Tiramakan and my response, i feel it is necessary to further clarify the held notion by a few but determined segment of our population that the presence of the Mandinka in today's Gambia was recent and that it was as a result of the Bambara who chased them out of Mali to Gambia.
Let's dissect this notion and put it under the microscope to see if it passes the tests we will subject it to.
1. The notion that the Bambara and the Mandinka are different is the biggest fallacy there is. It is like saying the Burureh or the Habobeh are not Fulani or the Mplomb are not Jola.
The Bambara and Mandinka belong to the same mande speaking group and the two share so many similarities in language and convergence in culture.
Here is the problem. I am scratching for any historical antecedent in which the Bambara fought the Mandinka and a large scale migration of the Mandinka into this area was set in motion. Neither oral accounts nor written records point to biblical equivalent of Exodus to have happened because that would have been the most plausible argument to support the fallacy.
For the theory to be credible, the only way a recent arrival could become a majority is for there to be a migration bigger than exodus otherwise, the historical time scale cannot support a birth rate that can explain why they are a majority.
But even if they became a majority by normal birth and not a huge migration, then they must been here much earlier than many others unless those others suffered from low fertility or some historical antecedents that affected their population size yet to discovered.
i do know however, of a mass exodus of a people under Koli Tengella from Toro through our neck of the woods to Jallokeh Dugu in the 18th century to later form an Immate by 1725.
This exodus is captured in both oral accounts and written records. The problem is why we struggling to find the Bambara hypothesis. The answer is simple. It did not exist and must therefore be treated as a shadowy dream to be left alone and consumed by a black hole and die just like the stars.
2. If the Mandinka were chased and they arrived here in large numbers, where did they migrate from?
3. If they were chased by the Bambara, then this would put pressure on limited resources of our area which must result in wars for control of resources. Am waiting for any one to educate me about any of such wars. It would be unnatural for their "hosts" to welcome them with open arms without putting up a fight.
4. Mali as we know it is a colonial creation and so a reference to it has to be taken in the context of it being very recent and historical evidences that Mandinka presence in our neck of the woods point to over 8 centuries even before anyone ever thought of place called Mali would exist.
5. NJI NGAL MARRA
In the 13th century and to be specific by 1240, Tiramakan on his way to Jollof did found many settlements here like Berekolong, Tiramakan Tenda, Sotuma in his later years but also helped found a Mandinka kingdom called Jimara.
Accounts have that when Tiramakan arrived in the area today called Jimara, he did find a thriving Mandinka population in the area. That was why he spoke to them in their language: Nji Ngal Marra.
This is a Mandinka statement which means: Take the load off my head and i rule over you". Nji is the act of helping take a load, mostly a heavy one off someone's head. Marra means to rule over or to control.
Tiramakan spoke to the people he found here in 1240 who spoke Mandinka and in large numbers to speak to them in the language they spoke and understood. That is very significant in two folds:
A. They shared a common heritage.
B. Tiramakan's host must have had rights to the land to recognized as such and for Tiramakan to understand that only them could give him the legitimacy he needed to rule. He did speak a different language to a different people. Every leader needs legitimacy to rule and to be accepted .
It most likely must have been a very loose society of Mandinka without a strong central authority to impose himself over them but that they had legitimacy to give him the recognition he wanted.
There appeaes to be no record of any encounter he had with the Mandinka people he found here.
In fact Tiramakan must have found many Mandinka speaking here to organize a large fighting force to support his cause and to grant him assistance he needed on his way to Jollof otherwise, to march towards Jollof from Manding required not only resources but also a huge and complex engineering project and military skills in maintaining morale among his troops, resources to maintain a cavalry; and foot soldiers trekking thousands of miles across the vast expanse of the sahel and still win a war against an enemy in their own territory.
The only plausible reason is that he already found his kind and they lent support to his cause otherwise he would have been stopped in his tracks before even reaching Jollof.
And the later Firdu revolt in Jimara which was a province of Kaabu, (the latter founded by Tiramakan), points to the fact that that area had for the memorable part, been of strong Mandinka territory.
In fact, other than the showdown in Jollof, there appears to be little or no evidence of a major encounter Tiramakan had to deal with. That is only possible because he found his kind here who facilitated his cause.
And to crown it all, the other known military General in the person of Fakoli Dumbuya is said to be buried in present day Cassamance which was hitherto a Mandinka territory called Kandema, immortalised in the Mandinka initiation song called KANDEMA SILO LAY SILA BAA KOTO pointing to and reminding young initiates of the regions of Mandinka influence and control. Kandema may not be well known now, but young Mandinka lads have always been taught about this long ago state etched only in memory that what they were being subjected to was in line with traditions sanctioned and kept as alive in Kandema.
Fakoli is said to be buried at a place called DANTILA around Tamba Kunda. All these point to one thing, and that is a foreigner cannot all of a sudden be not only a majority but to make a lasting impact as ours.They had to have been tied to geography to be such.
Lets rewrite our history
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone