Posted - 01 Nov 2023 : 18:55:41
HAPPY MANDING EMPIRE DAY: 788 YEARS OLD TODAY
By Dembo Fatty
Some 788 years ago, a people gathered on the plains of Kangkaba to draft a constitution that would govern their lives. At the head of this council or Gabara of twelve kings sat a young and fearless 35 year old Sundiata Keita crowned Emperor of the Manding Empire.
THE TWELVE DOORS OF MANDING
Students of history for the most part mistaken Manding as simply one state. No. it was not. Manding had what was called the 12 Doors of Manding consisting of twelve states that came together at the Kurukang Fuga to adopt a constitution and crown Sundiata as Emperor of the newly minted Manding Empire; a sort of an imperial empire. The following are the 12 Doors of Manding:
1. State of JALO – This state was according to oral accounts was annexed by Farang (Fran) Camara
2. State of BAMBOUGOU - This state was conquered by Fakoli Daaba, Faa koli Kumbaa, the nephew of Sumanguru kanteh
3. The State of the Bozo people
4. The State of KRI,
5. The State ZAHARI
6. The State of DJEDEBA
7. The State of TABON
8. The State of KANIAGA. It is believe that Sundiata Keita himself conquered this state.
9. The State of SIBY, which voluntarily joined the alliance under Kamanjang Camara
10. The State of TORON
11. The State of OUALATA also said to have been conquered by Sundiata Keita himself.
12. The State of DO. This is the state where Sundiata Keita’s mother Sogolong came from. Many future queens of the Manding Empire also came from this state. A mother’s family was well trusted in Manding.
However, prior to the Kurukang Fuga, the last assault on Sumaguru which ended his reign was under the auspices of a Camara king of Siby called Kamanjang Camara. He organized all the states to meet at Siby, where a battle plan was drawn for the invasion. That took place in 1235 when Kirina fell and that ended the reign of Sumanguru.
44 Articles were enacted in to law and thus was born one of, if not the only constitution in Africa or the world at the time. Students of history would agree that the Magna Carta evolved due to a revolt of the people. The Manding Constitution was enacted through a voluntary process borne out of the realisation that people should live dignified lives and that all men were born with inalienable rights.
The people were on a march and the empire would expand in all directions from Northern Nigeria to Chaaroye in present day Senegal and from thence to the fringes of the Sahara covering a a great expanse of territory.
They would go on to build one of the best military structures in the region and enjoyed the trademark: "Quiver Carriers". Their art of war is still taught in some military schools.
They were not satisfied. They built great institutions of learning where it is recorded that one university boasted of 10,000 students foraging in science, astrology, medicine and so on when many parts of the world were in the dark ages.
They would perfect the art of diplomacy by guaranteeing the safety of diplomats and at the same time opening embassies outside of the Empire.
Up until today, they produced the wealthiest man in human history. Mansa Musa was worth $400 billion in today's value. No one has come close to even $300 billion, not even Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or anyone for that matter.
And of course, promoted art and music enjoyed to this day by creating a class of historians called the JALI. Sundiata understood the importance of history and during his time, the JALI did not have to worry about anything. In fact all that Sundiata inherited from his father were the JALI and the metal and wood workers.
It was on this day too that the Manding song called "Bi Lamban" or "Jaaaliya" was recorded dedicated purely to the Jalis. "Allah menka mansa yaa daa, wolleh ka Jali yaa daa". (The God that ordained the position of a king, is the same God who ordained the art of Music".
It was on this day Manding Empire emerged 788 years ago.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, then you have not spent a night with a mosquito. Sundiata was just 35 years old when he headed an Empire. Through out history, the people who influenced history most, were mainly young people. This is why it is said that where you sit in old age is determined by where you stood in your youth.
As Managers, it is important how we nurture talent in our organisation to ensure that the best and brightest are adequately supported and rewarded irrespective of their position. Wisdom is sometimes found in the simplest of places and ranks.
Sundiata was not the most senior king to become Emperor. Matter of fact, Sundiata was never a king prior to the Gabara. Kamanjang Camara, king of Sibi was Sundiata's father's contemporary and a brother in law to Sundiata. Seniority means nothing in an organisation if it cannot deliver results.
Rely on competence because that is what sustains and advances an organisation. Sundiata showed competence and skills even as a young man which endeared him to the people. In fact he had no experience as a king before he became Emperor. Experience to me is the worst teacher because it gives you the answers before the exam.
When Sundiata learned to walk for the first time, the people sang:
BIWO, BIKA DILAY
MADAA ALAA MAA MANG BI NYOGHONG DAA
"Today, is a joyous day
God, our Creator has not created a day like today"
And that would be true for the people of Manding then but they would be surprised with a greater day as today when they unified, created an Empire, brought justice to the perpetrators of crimes under Sumanguru Kanteh and enacted a Constitution guaranteeing rights to life, property and many others.
Yes, MADAA ALAA MAA MANG BI NYOGHONG DAA.
As the Commander in Chief of the Annihilating And Patriotic Forces of Kaabu in Kombo, I hereby decree that the people of Kombo can, for the next ten days be free to roam about and enjoy the outdoors without fear. No chaalo but meat supplied free, courtesy of Kaabu. These Kombonkas need to upgrade now and start living.
Happy Manding Day to all of you.
A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone