Sunday, May 06, 2007

Toubab tales

Here's a new term for non-indigenous, which I learnt from an article in Le Monde.

It's best explained in the website A Toubab Traveller's Tales:

A Toubab is the generic name for a white person in West and Central Africa ..
it is not a derogatory term of address and is more especially used in The Gambia and Senegal.

Depending on which you wish to believe .. the name Toubab has many suggested derivations, amongst which are: A corruption of the Arab word Tabib meaning doctor .. a verb in the Wolof language meaning 'to convert' (the early doctors and missionaries during colonial times, being whites coming from Europe) or the generally preferred .. that it is derived from the two bob (two shilling) coin of pre-decimalisation UK currency when The Gambia was a British Colony

Tabib (doctor) is similar in meaning to the Bantu umlungu (magician).

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