By Amadou Jadama
just back from Illiassa
Scores of people over the weekend descended on the historical royal settlement of Illiasa in Baddibu for a twin-ceremony that relived the life, times and achievements of ancient chief Mama Tamba Jammeh.
Right by his own former court yard, crowds gathered to witness the unveiling of a book written by his grandson Alieu Jammeh. The book launching was preceded by a festival where cultural groups including kora maestro Jaliba Kuyateh played and sang songs in praise of the ancient paramount chief and royal Jammeh clan.
Several speakers including the alkalo of Illiassa and other Baddibu natives traced the history of the Jammeh Kunda family and others like Marong, Mambureh, Jammeh and Jadama. The festival was staged in collaboration with the village to reconnect its people spread across the globe.
Author Alieu Jammeh, a former minister and currently High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, said even with colonialism there were people like Mama Tamba Jammeh who manifested good, strong and solid leadership which was not necessarily dictatorial which brought wealth, progress and development to their people.
“So, that has been my interest to try to understand how our people were governed and how they governed themselves, and how we can learn from those things. As a country we talk about decentralisation of local governments, what can we do to learn from some of these people, example Mama Tamba? This was a person who during his time brought prosperity to Illiassa and the district,” Ambassador Jammeh said.
The author further revealed that through the impact of the book the present and future generations would come to know who we were as a people and can learn from that to shape their lives moving forward.
Mr Jammeh added that his book, A legend Sefo Mama Tamba Jammeh co- authored by Historian Hassoum Ceesay is the first of its kind and the first time any person has written deeply on a chief, or mansa of the Gambia of yester years.
“So, this I believe should be the impact. Schools should encourage students to read and study history, culture and traditions of our own people before those of other people around the world. The book would be a start for people to begin to look back inside to know about ourselves,” he added.
Reviewing, journalist Saikou Jammeh said the book is a great refreshing read, an encyclopedic material on governance at all levels, from national to local administration, and from pre-colonial to colonial.
“It is well researched, and it is written in largely simple language. The context it provides in respect to the socio-economic and political norms and practices of the past are relevant to current realities. Those in policy – or decision-making positions could benefit from useful guidance to addressing some of the country’s political challenges, such as the vexed questions around the role of chiefs and how to the make the institution of chieftaincy effective, transparent, and accountable,” Mr Jammeh said.