Ndoye Demba

Image of the symbol of the Serer people of Sine and of the universe in the Serer religion. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Holly Marsden

Lingeer, or queen, Ndoye Demba was a born in the middle of the 14th century in the Kingdom of Sine, present day Senegal. She was a princess of the Serer people, before marrying the Brak, or king, of Waalo, Caaka Mbaar Mbooj, around 1367, making her Queen of Waalo.

By becoming queen, Demba was the founder of the Serer Joos Maternal Dynasty of Waalo and considered the matriarch of this clan by people in the Kingdom of Waalo. However, the Kingdom of Sine, where she originated, considered her grandmother Lingeer Fatim Beye to be the matriarch.

The maternal dynasty ruled pre-colonial Senegambia until French colonisation and the abolition of the monarchy in 1855. Gambia and Senegal had open borders and shared historical and cultural heritage before the demarcation of the countries by France and Britain.

The Joos clan were often engaged in dynastic wars with the Tedyek and Loggar maternal dynasties, being of differing ethnic origins. Upon her marriage and arrival into the Kingdom of Waalo, after the ceremony in Sine, the new Lingeer Demba was met with great hostility.

Little is known about Lingeer Ndoye Demba’s practise of queenship. It is known the Lingeer and Brak of Waalo had a son who became king, Brak Yerim Mbanyik Ndoye Demba Mbooj, who defeated two dynasties who tried to dethrone him. They also had another child, Sodeh Mbooj.

Recommended Reading

Boubacar Barry, Le Royaume du Waalo: le Sénégal avant la conquête (Paris: Karthala Editions, 1985)

Boubacar Barry, The Kingdom of Waalo: Senegal Before the Conquest (New York City: Diasporic Africa Press, 2012).

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