Culture Today: Tamki Of Bangui
Bangui is a place in Niger which borders Nigeria and Niger. It is closer to Sabon Gida in Sokoto State, Nigeria. The river that separates Niger and Nigeria is called Tamki. Although their favoured language is Hausa, the inhabitants of this community are from different ethnic groups from both Nigeria and Niger, people like the Fulani Kaltamashak and Maguzawa. According to history the Fulanis are not really from the Bangui, they are known to be travelers from Cameroon and Chad. The Maguzawa are believed to come from Sokoto and Kano state in Nigeria while the Kaltamashak came from Agadas a place also in Niger.
Tamki is a small community that depends on farming and rearing of animals most especially cows which they use as a means of transportation of crops and water from the river to their homes. Their major source of light is a solar system that they pay for monthly, the power supply in the village comes on between the hours of 4pm to 3am. They preserve their food by building a hut which is called Tidangut. The calmness of the village and the way people live simply is really something that I have not witnessed.
People from different tribes live like brothers and sisters, the closeness between them is touching because you hardly see such relationship in Nigeria. They are also known to be Muslims for decades and their wealth of knowledge in history is refreshing. They intermarry for reasons best known to them. The Fulanis in this community celebrate a festival annually when they harvest their crops called Gultungo. The other tribes have traditional songs that they sing during marriages and naming ceremonies.
As a visitor in their community I was happy with the way they received every member of my crew, we grew used to the diet of fresh milk and meat. Although they were shabbily dressed and might be termed as poor, they value their food, they eat well and enjoy what they have under their little hut. They are satisfied with all they have.
An elder told me that each tribe has their king who are all under the Madawa kingdom. Madawa is a local government under Thouwa state, it is also known to be that the Fulani king doesn’t stay in one place he travels a lot to places like Madawa, Malia and Bangui therefore he rules in three places. Their government and system of ruling is quite complex but it works for them.
The people of Tamki are welcoming. On a walk to witness the beauty of this community I was treated like a queen with friendly gestures from the people I met on my way. At the river, old women are seen doing (bacache) of millet. The view of the river is breathtaking and suitable for picnics with family and friends. The distance between Bangui and Sabon Gida of Sokoto sate is not far, it is a walking distance if the river was not there but unfortunately you need a canoe to take you to the other side.
This community reminded me of the Africa we heard about before Western civilization, the Africa that was one with Mother Nature, nurturing and kind. This remote village could not be bothered by the events of the outside world and they have woven a bond far greater than any witnessed in all my places of visit in West Africa.