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Cosaan Seereer : Exclusive interview with the late Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof (aka : Cham Joof) by the Seereer Resource Centre and Seereer Radio

February 22, 2016


Tamsier Joof, founder of the Seereer Resource Centre and Seereer Radio has been documenting Seereer and Senegambian history for the past few decades. This is the interview he conducted with his uncle the late Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof more commonly known as Cham Joof, the highly acclaimed Gambian historian, author, politician, broadcaster and trade unionist who passed away on 2nd April 2011.   This audio is a collage of interviews Tamsier conducted with his late uncle over the years. The earliest recording for this particular audio is 2008.


Tamsier dedicated  this show to Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof. The show was co-presented with Demba Sene.

Date of first broadcast on Seereer Radio : Saturday, 13th February 2016

Presenters : Tamsier Joof and Demba Sene

Interviewee : Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof (aka: Cham Joof)

Source language(s) :  English, Wolof and Saafi-Saafi

Subjects covered : Political life of Cham Joof, Trade unionist life of Cham Joof, Meaning of Geweel (griot), History of Wally Nyang and Kotcha Joof,Brave Women at the Battle of Kansala, History of Sa lolly Jabou, The Great Boukary Ngoneh Juuf, The difference between Kal and Gamou,Tafsir Ebrima Samba and Tafsir Demba Jange, The Great Ibra Faye, (griot of King Abdou Njaay), The Joof family (The Nyang and Joof families, and the Seereer code of honour), genealogy and family history of Cham Joof.

Radio program : Cosaan Seereer

Radio station : Seereer Radio

Owner : The Seereer Resource Centre (SRC)

Collection : The SRC Collection

Date(s) of recording : From 25th December 2008 to 24th January 2010 (this is a collage of interviews)

Location : The compound of Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof in Bakau, The Gambia

Medium : Audio recording

Additional information : This audio was recorded for the SRC Collection, with permission to broadcast granted to Seereer Radio  | The Voice of the Seereer Community (our 24 hour stream radio station). The research team was headed by Tamsier Joof (founder ofthe SRC and Seereer Radio). Apologies for the poor quality of this audio and the background noise from other members of the household. The interviews were very old and the equipment used at the time was not as sophisticated as we have now. The structure of the interview was also less formal as you might have heard before, because Tamsier was interviewing his own paternal uncle so the formal interview structure you might have heard from Tamsier was not present here. Instead, the interview was informal and there was much laughter between Tamsier and his uncle. However, the recording is full of great content on Seereer and Senegambian history. In parts of the interview, Tamsier decided to give the microphone to Cham and allowed him to speak freely. 


Information about Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof : Alhaji Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof  (22 October 1924 – 2 April 2011), more commonly known as Cham Joof was a Gambian historian, politician,author, trade unionist, broadcaster, radio program director, scout master,Pan-Africanist, lecturer, columnist, activist and nationalist who fought diligently to ensure The Gambia and her people gain full independence from British colonial rule. He was one of the leading Gambian nationalists during the colonial era.

Cham Joof’s political inspirations came from  Rev. J. C Faye and Ibrahima Momodou Garba-Jahumpa. He was amember of the Gambia Democratic Party (GDP),  the first political party in The Gambia formed by Rev. J. C Faye in February 1951 at the then Information Bureau at Allen Street in Banjul. The GDP was previously known as the Gambia Congress Party. Cham Joof organised and led “The Bread and Butter Demonstration of 1959”, a political demonstration against British colonial rule. As a result of that demonstration he was arrested and imprisoned by the British colonial authorities along with his collaborators Crispin Grey Johnson and M. B. Jones. They were all indicted as "inciting the public to disobey the laws of the land." Their Gambian barrister - Bamba Saho represented them and the case was later dismissed. The old black and white picture above shows the scene during the Bread Butter Demonstration of 1959 in Banjul, The Gambia. You can see the much younger Cham Joof in a white shirt and hat holding a file. 

Cham Joof was one of the pioneers of the "Chossanie Senegambia" program, a collaborative radio show between Radio Senegal and Radio Gambia from 1973 where prominent Senegalese and Gambian historians and griots were interviewed in the local Senegambian languages about the history of Senegambia (i.e. Senegal and Gambia). Chossanie Senegambia (variation: Cosaanie Senegambia) simply means the history of Senegambia. The word "cosaan", a Saafi-Saafi word, is a generic term denoting history, culture or tradition or a combination of all three.Cosaan means origin or the beginning in Saafi-Saafi.

Many of Cham Joof’s manuscripts were unpublished but quoted by scholars who interacted with him. Here is a selection of some of his books:


  • The history of the Banjul Mosque


  • Getting to know The Gambia  


  • The root cause of the bread and butter demonstration


  • Banjul Daemba 1816-1999 Tagator


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Download transcript « Télécharger la transcription » :

Visit the Seereer Resource Centre download page to download a transcript of this audio in English, French, Seereer a Sinig, Saafi-Saafi, Ndut, Sili-Sili, Noon and Laalaa.


Websites : 


The Seereer Resource Centre (SRC) - 

Seereer Radio -