The old Soninke realm of Batelling in line with their thousands of years evolutionary sacred culture, heritage, tradition and norms has conferred custodianship of the sacred Royal Batelling to Prince Ebrahim Sanyang, as their Crown Prince on Sunday 26th November 2017 in Mansa Kunda” (Royal Household).
Prince Ebrahim thus became the reigning Prince on the stool of “Sibi Karang Mansa” since late Mansa Koto I.
Royal Batelling is an historical Soninke Royal Realm said to be 796 years old, situated along the Kiang West National Park about 148 Kilometers from Banjul. The crowning of Prince Ebrahim makes him the 8th Royal to be crowned in a historically significant manner, as this is the first time in 118years since the demise of the last “Sibi Karang Mansa, Mansa Koto Sanyang.
Other “Sibi Karang Mansas” include Jombo Tango, Falansara Suntukun and Mansa Koto, during pre-colonial and pre-independent Gambia. The realm also hosted a long period of traditional chieftaincy including the reign of Lang Nyama Sanyang, Junkung Batelling Sanyang, Bunja Sanneh, Nfally Sanyang and Kika Sanyang in that order.
When asked how these centuries of tradition and heritage has been maintained, and how a Sibi Karang Mansa is identified and enstooled, the Chief Priest said “The appointment of Sibi Karang Mansa is deeply traditional and down to divine intervention, which involves external forces (unseen forces) as well as ( the seen)”. He continued, “the stool can be safeguarded for over a century if need be, until the right crown is found, nurtured, abled and ready.
However, indentifying a “Sibi Karang Mansa” is deeply spiritual combining prophesies and traditional process that never fails. To make it short, he said, “Sibi Karang Mansa” can be identified as early as pre and post birth; as well as into very early childhoods, exactly same as in the case of lthe ate Mansa Kewuleng Sanyang of Nyambai Kingdom, Jombo Tango, Sunjatta Keita, Mansa Koto Sanyang etc. It is very traditional, complex and highly spiritual.”
Momodou Sunkar Sanyang, a head at “Mansa Kunda” (Royal Household), who is an uncle of the newly Crown Prince intimated that “once crowned, “Sibi Karang Mansa” like our newly crowned prince, our tradition and norms strongly forbid them into holding a political post especially within the modern day civil services, a norm that stays with them until their death,” he concluded.
When asked on the mandate of the newly Crowned Prince, the Royal Batelling realm’s chief Sutay Sanyang said Crown Prince’s mandate falls within three main areas. “Being our Crown Sibi Karang Mansa, he is now the custodian of all our sacred spiritual sites therefore he safeguards and sustainably protects all our centuries old priceless sacred and spiritual sites for the benefit of current and future generations for thousands of years to come. The second duty of his mandate is to ensure that the traditions, norm and all scared cultural practices are protected, preserved and promoted accordingly, for the benefit of the current and future generations.”
The Realm’s Chief concluded that the third foothold mandate of the Prince means that he is the principal socio-economic driver for delivery of sustainable socio-economic development and productivity of Realm of Royal Batelling, thereby complementing greater the Gambia’s economic aspirations for benefit of all and sundry. He concluded by declaring a title to the newly crowned prince thus, “Today I declare our new crown prince a title Farim Ebrahim. But those who cannot, can still refer to him as Prince,” he said, as the crowd cheered with new song.
On the part of the newly crown prince, he thanked God, his ancestors, Realm’s elders and people for the trust, love and faith bestowed on him and promised to deliver as expected.
He assured the realm of the major social reform programs within the realm that includes FREE uninterrupted water and electricity supply, free healthcare, free insurance (medical, motor vehicle etc); a special care services for elderly, disable, widows and children under 18 years old, free travel advice, free legal services, free education and free employment advice and skills training among others. He also assured of attracting major inward international and or foreign direct investments and sustainable economic development of the realm within his first year of crowning.
Reflecting on need for stronger Anglo-Gambia relations, especially British-Batelling crowns historic relations, the crown prince went on to say that “Realm of Batteling’s crown frequently hosted and worked closely with Her Majestys’ Government of Great Britain’s first colonial British Travelling Commissioner, Sir Frederick Cecil Sitwell in 1897-1901, and subsequently Commissioner Bidulph among others.” He emotionally revealed “historically Anglo-Batelling crowns both tragically lost very dear selfless leaders in the services of our people in an unfortunate incident in 1901. Whilst Royal Batelling’s crown lost Mansa Koto (my great grand father), the British crown also lost Sir Cecil Frederick Sitwell and Frederick Edgar Silva; very sad events that will continue to bring closer our people for generations to come.”
The ruins of the residences of travelling commissioners are still within clear visibility within Kiti Soto Palace, which are part of the newly crown prince’s restoration programs that will help tourism in the country.
He continued: “My late father proudly served in the Gambia company of Royal West African Frontier Force Battalion together with other Gambians in Burma 1945. Given that history, it is imperative upon me to ensure our relations between our two crowns become even closer and cordial for the sustainable interest of our people”.
Finally, the newly crown Prince also extended eternal gratitude to Her Majesty’s Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for extending years of enviable education, mentoring, training and continued support. He assured of a new dawn of special relations between the two crowns.
Newly crowned Prince also thanked Government of Gambia for enabling conducive environment in promoting and protecting their culture, whilst assuring of very close and all inclusive working relations with President Barrow’s administration for the sustainable development of the realm especially in areas of tourism, culture and history for the benefit of all.
The crown Prince described President Barrow as a humble, sincere and well meaning president for all.
The crowd cheered, celebrated and the party continued until early hours of the morning.
In concluding remarks, another elder brother of the crown prince who doubles as the VDC Chairman and head of Sarah Kunda, said: “By the grace of God, we will be hosting a 3 days ceremony for our new crown from 2nd to 4th March 2018; all and sundry will be invited.