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Tabanani: A Mandika Village Named After Fruit

By Yunus S Saliu

Among other villages that always come to my mind whenever I’m on a trip to the famous island called McCarthy Island/Georgetown or Janjanbureh and other parts of the Central River Region in Destination Gambia is Tabanai, a beautiful and friendly place with cultural activities that will make you keep coming.

My first visit to this lovely village was through Ninki Nanka Trail (NNT) packaged trip, a trip organized for Travel and Tour writers.

Ninki Nanka Trail trip package will broaden your upriver and Community-Based Tourism (CBT) experience, and it is a combination of river and overland excursion to see and visit exotic places in the destination.

With Ninki Nanka Trail, you can explore communities and different products with investment opportunities. Your visit to CBT villages will expose you to fascinating insights into local life, history, arts, and different cultures of The Gambia people and their ways of living in peace, harmony, and tranquil environments, as your NNT trip will be led by enthusiastic and experienced tour guides that take your safety and enjoyment a priority.

However, Tabanani village located in Central River Region (CRR) is a Madinka community named after fruits. In Madinka language, the word ‘taba’ means fruit while ‘nani’ stands for the number four. These two words were combined to have ‘tabanani’ meaning four fruits.

According to oral narration, before settlement, a hunter called Foday Karr Ceesay was moving with a dog. The hunter was observing the dog to know where it would feel more comfortable around the area during his search for land to do farming and other agricultural activities. The dog moved around and found four different fruit trees in the area and the environment was more conducive and relaxing for the dog, Foday Karr Ceesay, the hunter, who was able to identify the place informed his brother who resided in Brikama Bah (another settlement).

As a result, Foday Karr Ceesay, the brother, and others including the dog migrated to the place to settle and named it Tabanani.

In the Tabanani community, you will learn about Madinka culture, tradition, and food which include freshly made vegetable domoda – which translated into peanut butter sauce and drinks – baobab, wonjo juice, and palm wine.

Among other activities to do in the community include listening to the village folklore and watching cultural performances with narration of the Kanyeleng from the Kanyeleng Group, Kankurang dance, visiting the Alkalo of Tabanani, yard of Ebrima Sanyang who makes ‘taafia’ (local hand fan) and among others.

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Yunus S Saliu

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