The Rise And Fall Of Futa Almamate

The war between Futa and Kabou

History lecturer, Ensa Touray yet again brings us the interesting episode of the Futa Almamate, their rise and fall and violent war with the Soninke Kabunkas. Ensa interviewed people from both historical sides, and the final product in enriching and appetizing making us long for more such programs.

Although GRTS allocate 3omins per episode, the program has many missing details which could have been captured in a 1 hour program. I will recommend that a detailed narrative is accorded to the life of Alpha Yahya Jallow, his mother Kumanjo Sanneh, daughter of Kabou Emperor Mama Jankey Wally Sanneh.

The contentious final narrative of who win and who lost was also simplistic, all due to the constraint time allocation and probably budget and cost of production. In reality, a significant historical narrative like this should be much more detailed, more interviews, and wider analysis. Ensa Touray did well under the constrain time and budget for the program. We need to take our history seriously and allocate adequate funds to film balanced, fair and accurate accounts of events of our past. There are many factors that led to fall of 300 years Kabou empire. It is simply not just religious war, it is more resources competition and control of trading routes with long-standing antagonist relationships. Religion is an overstated excuse. Thank you Ensa for a lively program yet again.



  1. thanks……

  2. “The contentious final narrative of who win and who lost” well am MANDINKA but there should not be any contention of who win the Kabu fula war. Fulas destrroy Kabu Kingdom so they won the war. The end justify the means

    • Lang, the issue is not merely about ethnicity. The fall of Kansala did not result in the fall of entire Kabou. Hence, the ‘contentious’ part of the history. Kabou was 32 states, Kansala being one of them…hence the fight was not merely one assault. It was seasonal. regional, etc…Even some Mandinkas fought against the Nyancho dynasty. Yes, the Futa Almamate led the big assault, however, it was a coalition more to say between the Muslims (Mandinka, Jahanke, Sarahuleh and Fulbe).
      After the fall of Kansala and the suicide of Jankey Wally, other states continue to functions independently, until Musa Molloh time. The major contributing factor was internal dispute. This was why, other regional states pointedly refuse to come to the defence of the ‘realms’ ie Mama Jankey Wally Sanneh. This is why, it is contentious, but in simple terms, we can say Kansala fell at the siege of Futa Almamate which encompasses all allies. And also, in the defence of the ‘Kansala fortress’ non-Mandinka allies also took part in the battle, this is not a simple ethnic war, it was ideological and hegemony. Thanks

      • Lafia Touray la Manju

        The reason why other states refused to come to the defence of Jankey Wally is embedded in the song called ” Kaabu la afan janfaa”. Many believed that Jankey Wally should not have become king of Kaabu according to the strict interpretation of the succession rules.

        Jahanke or Jahanka are mandinkas. It’s just like when you say Baddibunka. Jahankas are from Jahaa or Jakaa, my understanding is, but unlike most mandinkas in Kaabu at the time who were not muslim, the Jahankas were muslims. They despise the Nyanchor alcohol consuming habits and worshipping of idols. So they would not have approved of Jankey Wally.


  3. Everything there, in such histories practically reflects nothing but myth, ethinicity, pride, class, power and arrogance. Even the history teller’s tunes on the harp makes you feel it in the bones up till date. My question first place to be is; did our ancestral kings and rulers laid any progressive foundations for their future generations political wellbeing? We have a president right now in 2015 who is an equivalent of those kings and rulers whose ideologies reflect, myth, ethnicicty, fantasy, arrogance and superstition. Most of them have a challenge in life and that is to live up to expectation that one is the wisest son and PROVIDER rather than one who should help in making AVAILABLE.
    Religion I believe had always been an excuse, who know to win more allies.
    You see folks…, my reasoning in our ancestral history always remains the same that they committed the gravest political mistakes in the past and so, future generations only need to learn their lessons from those mistakes. For that being the case, I think I would prefer such history to be presented in animated cartoons with a bit of ridicule to spice them up for the kids. I am serious it will help our youger generations to realise and understand the lack of purpose in those wars and battles, taking example of the history why the UNITED KINGDOM.

    • Ggapm Agapm, it is a clear misunderstanding of history to clearly look at the past this way. A Caribbean scholars once pointed out that, the Europeans first destroy African arts, institutions before even attempting to toy around with slave trade. The complete disregard mbue in our sub-conscious minds about our history and heritage is sad. This is not Robinhood or any utter fairytales.
      History isn’t all nice, a clear comparison with the French wars against other languages in Europe will help you better understand that, conducting field research and listening to oral and reading written accounts of our past is vital. Sadly, Africans tend to disvalue many things until the Europeans comes and tell us, this or that is of value. It is Imperial institutions like Unesco that is travelling around telling Africans, such and such is a world heritage sight. Left to people like you Ggapm, everything may just be dismantled.
      A friend of mine is doing a PhD on pre-colonial institutions in Africa, and before he even reach the stage of defending his course, a top Univeristy in London snapped him to commence lecturing. The Ecowas, AU are all struggling to have blueprints from the past, they have to wholly rely on European systems to build themselves…Why
      The narrative in pre-colonial Africa expose to us, structures and institutions which operates on different ideologies and methods…
      What we have to do is examine their values, whether we agree or disagree with those values is a matter of debate. We need to have debates about our past…discarding it as tribalism is erroneous and malicious..
      Europeans are not homogenous by accident, it was by sheer ruthless design…do you know how many human beings were exterminated for refusing to abandon their mother tongue? Please read about that.
      I will respond in a more detail later. But please don’t disregard the necessary work of our brothers, it is important for young people who aren’t wholly poison with Eurocentricism to learn from the past, to make them better thinkers for Africa. We see ourselves today more in Euro/American and to some extent Arab lenses than our own image.

  4. I have read many tales about kaabu and I am intrigued by the way they tried to maintain their independence in the face of European expansion and Islamic expansion(especially after cutting off ties with their own kiths and kins in Mali and Guinea futa jallon).
    However, today I consider these tales just what they are. They are bygones episodes. I don’t think we should see the episode as an ideal to aspire for. In contrary, the fall of kaabu should be a lesson that we can only exist as an entity, if we are able to unite all forces within and at peace with our immediate neighbours. Kaabu fell because one man, professed to himself and his people, that he is the last king. He then went on to combine his fate with general fate of the state. That totality of the mindset.

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