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Published in In Focus
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 14:31

Biography: Sanjally Bojang; Legendary Kombo Chief

Mon - 28 Oct Written by Administrator

Sanjally Bojang, born in Brikama in 1910, was undoubtedly and by far the most charismatic trader, traditional politician and ruler ever to have reigned in post-Independence Gambia. Even up to his death in 1995, almost 25 years after he lost his throne as district chief of Kombo Central, Sanjally Bojang remained the man no one couldn't ignore in the affairs of Kombo in general and his native Brikama, in particular. In fact Sanjally Boajng was no ordinary district chief but a national figure whose influence and respect transcended his traditional kingdom of Kombo.

 

 

The man who carried and glorified the nobleness and royalty of the Bojang clan, Sanjally Bojang‘s charming and natural endowment as a leader started as a foreman at the then United Africa Company, UAC, well-known trading enterprise dealing in groundnut processing, sales and exportation in Banjul. He was feared but admired for his firm and affirmative leadership which made him loved by his white employers.

 

At the dawn of political activity, Sanjally Bojang joined hands with several other rural men of steel, such as the late Jombo Bojang among others to form the protectorate peoples’ party and chose Barajally born Dawda Jawara to lead it. The party metamorphosed into the Peoples’ Progressive Party,PPP and became the dominant party in the Gambia for over 32 years wining every elections held in the Gambia. His lack of western education, notwithstanding, Sanjally and co, tactfully out-smarted the Banjul elites of mostly well educated people to build a the biggest party in the Gambia which eventually swallowed or over shadowed the more established ones.

 

He could not serve in Cabinet but continued to proper as a famer and trader and became a district chief with unlimited influence from 1978 to 1981.The story has been told of how litigants feared appearing before his traditional court to settle communal disputes over marriages. One example that made the rounds was the case of a man whose wife was claiming divorce on the allegations that her husband was i mpotent. Sanjally allegedly asked the couple to make love in the court for all to witness it at which point the woman confessed she was telling fibs.

Such was Sanjally. His approach to dealing with complex issues was unique and fashionable. When he spoke on radio, he would attract a large audience who were always charmed by his strong voice and serious delivery of words.

 

Alongside running his throne Sanjally Bojang was a firm believer of farming and cultivated hundreds of thousands of acres of land growing domestic and cash crops from his base in Kembujeh where he called Nayanibere. The old man was so much loved and prominent that he was considered as one chief that would reign for life given his influential post independence contribution to the powers that be. But that respect and trust by President Jawara dissipated in 1981 when Kukoi Samba staged a coup and rounded up prominent PPP personalities and force them to denounce president Jawara on radio at gun point.

Sanjally in his usual enthusiasm denounced Jawara and asked him to accept to quit any attempt to come back. Critics said he over did things and when Jawara eventually returned he was not too pleased with Sanjally’s comments and deposed him. Sanjally was known to have been unhappy with that and many of his disciples felt that his treatment was undeserving giving his role in the making of Jawara as president. He was to see the eventual downfall of Jawara perhaps with some sense of vindication. He died in April 1995, a fulfilled proud and legendary leader of the Bojang clan of modern Kombo.

Read 10055 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 May 2017 09:07
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