The Legacy Of Great Dobo Kemo

By Suntou Bolonba Touray

foday kaba
The late Islamic warlord Foday Kabba Dumbuya

Na Tariko program anchor today had an interesting and educative chat with Alhagie Ebrima Darboe, the great grandson of Grand Marabout of Niani Dobo.

The elder brother of the Gambia’s veteran opposition leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, narrated the history of Dobo Kemo, the man who founded his own village and named it after Karanbantang [the place of knowledge].

Alhagie Darboe who sits on Dobo Kemo’s throne said the only warlord who penetrated Dobo was Foday Kabba Dumbuya who failed in his first attempted attack. “Dobo Kemo prayed against the first attack but Foday went around the hurdles and encamped at Dobo for sometime preventing people from leaving.  The Dobo Kemo came out and told Foday Kabba ‘if you attack my village, you may win and destroy it, but remember that your name seeking and glory will end right here!’ Foday Kabba Dumbuya lifted the siege and left with his fighting men,” the Dobo Spiritual Leader told Kaio Radio.

Alhagie Darboe said Kemo is a title that is conferred on well accomplished Islamic scholars.

Dobo Kemo travelled to many places before eventually settling in Niani, and a safe location to found a village. In his day, there were many warlords and invaders. The grand scholar wish to attend to his goal of Islamic teaching, education and spreading the word of God peacefully.

The location of Dobo is strategic as it is surrounded by river on three sides, forcing invaders to go through painstaking journey of crossing the river.

Alhagie Darboe dispelled the myth that, Dobo Kemo prayed against his family’s engagement in modern and western education, he said, that is false. He said “Dobo Kemo rather invoke God to destroy and stop anyone who visits his settlement with evil intention and wish of preventing people engaging in worshipping God and engaging in fruitful enterprise.”

Dobo Kemo had an encounter with both warlords like Foday Kabba Dumbuya and Musa Molloh. He was a great teacher who maintained a Majlis (traditional Islamic school). He also made many prayers for Islam to take roots in the Upper River Region and wider Gambia..

Alhagie Ebrima Darboe is the head of the Majlis who leads Dobo’s annual Islamic gatherings [Gamo and Ziarrah]. Darboe said Dobo still follows the tradition of the late Dobo Kemo who emphasised the importance of teaching Islamic knowledge.

There are other ‘Kemos’ (professors) in the Dobo area namely (Kujawu Kemo, Kayaye Kemo, Barajaly Kemo, and Sinmoto Kemo). These men were great teachers and educators. We shall labour to highlight their great achievement of peaceful preaching.

The program will be aired on all day, inter-changing with the new album of the Gambia’s Kora King Jaliba Kuyateh. Kairo Editorial is thankful to Yahya N Darboe, solicitor Lamin Darboe and Ya Adama Darboe in Birmingham for facilitating the interview with Uncle Alhagie who is on a shot visit to the United Kingdom.

Kairo news and radio will bring you the legacy and life story of our great men and women. The goal is to inform and educate our people about the great and excellent works of these people.

While Suntou Touray presented Na Tariko with Alhagie Ebrima Darboe, Musa Saidykhan and Yaya Dampha edited and monitored the sound, respectively.



  1. Thanks Kairo for this program. I deeply enjoyed it. We need more programs like this. Peaceful preachers were the champions of Islam in the Gambia.

  2. Kebba Sanneh

    Thank you very much Kaironews for the brilliant talk with Alhaji Ebrima Darboe about Niani Dobo Karanbantang, my birth place. Alhajie Ebrima Darboe is my First Teacher in the village. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest men of our religion today and of the Gambia. Please extend my regards to him.

  3. Alhagie Fabakary Sanneh ( Seattle WA)

    Hi bro Suntou, that was in deed very touching for me. In fact, i’m from that family linage
    of Mustapha Sanneh of Jarra Darsilami who happened to be the younger brother of Dobo Kemo. Again, i’m very pleased to hear the story of these great worshipers of Allah that we all should be inspired to follow their foot steps. Thanks to Kairo News.

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