Faye family

This article is about the Serer surname Faye. For other uses, see Faye (disambiguation).
The African warthog
Totem of the Faye family

The totem and symbol of the Faye family is the African warthog, symbolizing courage and leadership in Serer mythology.
Country Kingdom of Sine (present-day Senegal)
Titles Lamane, Maad, Maad a Sinig, Buumi, Thilas, Loul
Founder Descendants of Boukar Djillakh Faye (14th century, c. 1335[1])
Final ruler Maad a Sinig Sanmoon Faye (King of Sine, 1871–1878) was the last king from this family to rule in Sine. The last king of Sine was Maad a Sinig Mahecor Joof (died 1969)
Dissolution 1969 — death of the last kings of Sine and Saloum

The patronym Faye (Serer: Fay) is one of the typical surnames of the Serer people of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania. In French-speaking Senegal and Mauritania, and English-speaking Gambia, the surname is spelled Faye.

This Serer surname is unrelated to the similar given name or surname in the Western world. They are also pronounced differently.

The name of their clan is Fayeen. The history of the Faye family is linked to Serer medieval history and Serer royalty. During the Guelowar period (the last maternal dynasty in the Serer kingdoms), the Faye family provided many of the kings of Sine. This family's biggest rival to the throne of Sine were the Joof family,[2] with whom they have a long joking relationship according to Serer and Senegambian culture.


The early history of the Faye family goes back to Lamanic times, however they did not achieved particular fame and notoriety until the 14th century.[1][3] The Faye family that had ruled the pre-colonial kingdoms of Sine trace descent to Boukar Djillakh Faye (variation: Bougar Birame Faye), an early 14th century professional wrestler called njom in Serer and patriarch of this patriclan.[3] In the early 14th century, Boukar Djillakh Faye was regarded as one of the best wrestlers in Serer country. The Guelowar princess Lingeer Tening Jom[4] was given to him in marriage. Tening Jom was the niece of Maysa Wali[3] who later became a Maad a Sinig (title for the king of Sine) — ruling from c. 1350–1370.[1] From that marriage, they had several children including Tasse Faye (or Tassé Faye, the first from this family to rule Sine as Maad a Sinig during this era) and Waagaan Tening Jom Faye (the king with at least 24 children including 9 daughters)[5] — one of the better known kings from this family. Dinned into Senegambian and Serer history, the Faye family, like their Joof counterparts are one of few Senegambian families that have a family anthem (boom).[2] The name of their anthem is "Waagaan Koumbassandiane",[2] (proper: Waagaan Kumbasaanjaan) who actually was a medieval king of Sine (Maad a Sinig Waagaan Kumbasaanjaan Faye[6]) reported to be one of the longest reigning kings of Sine and ancestor of this family.[2][7] This family's anthem forms part of the overture of the Epic of Sanmoon Faye, which relates the history and deeds of Maad a Sinig Sanmoon Faye, the controversial king of Sine who succeeded Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof in 1871.[2][8] Their family totem is the African warthog (called "ruul a koб" in Serer,[9] variation: "ruul-a-koƥ"[10]) — (previously grouped with the boar).[9][11] In the early part of the Guelowar dynastic period (1350–1969), the Faye paternal dynasty was dominant in Sine, providing many of the Serer kings. However they were eventually overtaken by the Joof family who provided more kings of Sine, even from the 19th century to 1969.[8] Notwithstanding the rivalries between these two patriclans, alliances were formed on certain occasions in order to repulse those they perceived as the greater enemy. One of these medieval alliances was between Maad a Sinig Diessanou Faye and Jaraff Boureh Gnilane Joof (founder of the Royal House of Boureh Gnilane Joof). That historical alliance was brought about when the Muslim marabout—Mohammadou of Koungo launched jihad in the Sine, threatening the survival of Serer religion in the country.[12] Diessanou Faye, who was on the throne of Sine requested the assistance of the Joof family. Assistance was granted, with the Joof clan led by Boureh Gnilane Joof (son of the warlord king of Laah and conqueror of Baol - Maad Patar Kholleh Joof). The Joof—Faye alliance led to the defeat the Muslim army.[12] For his part in achieving victory, Boureh Gnilane was made Jaraff (equivalent of prime minister) and given the sister of Diessanou Faye (Lingeer Gnilane Faye) in marriage.[12]

Historical battles involving this family

The table below lists some historical battles in Senegambia involving the kings or princes from this patriclan :

The Junjung: the Serer war drum of Sine (19th century)[13]
Name of the battle Member of the clan Opponent Reason for the battle Victor
The Battle of Kalikounda* Maad a Sinig Waagaan Tening Jom Faye The Mandinka marabout of Kalikounda (believed to be in the present day village of Malikounda) Religious war Maad a Sinig Waagaan Tening Jom Faye was victorious. He is also reported to have had the marabouts' alwa (or alwah religious tablets) destroyed.[14]
One of many Serer-Marabout Wars of the 14th and 15th centuries Maad a Sinig Diessanou Faye

Jaraff Boureh Gnilane Joof (assisting the Maad a Sinig, the Joof-Faye alliance)
The marabout – Mohammadou of Koungo (in the east of Saloum around Koungheul) A religious war due to a jihadic expedition launched in Sine by the Muslim forces. Maad a Sinig Diessanou Faye, Jaraff Boureh Gnilane Joof and the Joof-Faye ally forces.[15]
The Battle of Ngaskop Maad a Sinig Latsouk Faniame Faye

The people of Dieghem
The criminals of Dieghem and Diohine (robbers and murderers) This battle was between the people who adhere to the laws of the land against those who use murder and robbery to achieve their goal. It was a battle where the good citizens attempted to take back their country, led by their king and his army. Maad a Sinig Latsouk Faniame Faye and the good people of Dieghem.[16]
The Battle of Ndoffène Maad a Sinig Njaak Faye The Sandigue Ndiob Niokhobai Joof (The warlord) The Sandigue Ndiob Niokhobai Joof entered this battle to secure the succession of his young son Maad a Sinig Ama Joof Gnilane Faye Joof The Sandigue Ndiob Niokhobai Joof[17]
The Battle of Logandème Many members of this family. Allied with Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak JoofLouis Faidherbe (French governor of Senegal)

Émile Pinet-Laprade
Resistance against French colonialism France[18][19][20]
The Surprise of Mbin o Ngor
(This was not an open battle but a surprise attack, also known as Mbeetan Keur Ngor).
Many members of this family. Allied with Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof Maba Diakhou Bâ,

Damel-Teigne Lat Jor Ngoneh Latir Jobe

and their Marabout armies
Religion, vendetta and empire building Indecisive. The marabout army withdrew when reinforcement finally arrived, but caused severe damage before retreating.[21][22]
The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune (also known as The Battle of Somb) Many members of this family including Mbange Som Faye. Allied with Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (the Serer forces) Maba Diakhou Bâ,

Damel-Teigne Lat Jor Ngoneh Latir Jobe

and their Marabout armies
Religion, vendetta and empire building Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (Serer ally forces)[23][24]


This abbreviated genealogy shows the descendants of Boukar Djillakh Faye.[25]

Descendants of Boukar Djillakh Faye
                                     Boukar Djillakh Faye    = Lingeer Tening Jom
                                     of Djillakh (Dieghem)   │    queen mother
         │                                      │                              │                       │
    Maad a Sinig Tasse Faye        Maad a Sinig Waagaan Tening Jom Faye     Mabane Faye         Lingeer Gnilane Faye
   (Maad a Sinig, king of Sine)            (king of Sine)                (prince of Sine)       (princess of Sine)
            reigned 1370                         │
 │                 │                   │                  │                      │                          │             │
Mba Waagaan Faye  Ndougou Waagaan Faye Yakis Waagaan Faye Karabel Waagaan Faye   Biram Jakar Waagaan Faye*  Ngom Waagaan  │
                                         _______________________________________________│                       Faye      │
                                         │                                                                                │
             ____________________________│       _________________________________________________________________________│
             │                                   │
             │  _________________________________│_____________________________________________________________________
   __________│ │                 │                       │                         │                 │                 │
   │           │           Khanjang Waagaan Faye    Njein Waagaan Faye      Lassouk Waagaan Faye     Jokel           Koly
   │       Toma Waagaan Faye                                                                         Waagaan Faye    Mbeggaan
   │_________________                                                                                                Faye
   Maad a Sinig Waagaan Kumba Saanjaan Faye
                (king of Sine)

* It is his name people cite when they make a short praise to the Faye family, i.e. "Fay Biram" which may signify, "Faye! From the line Biram." For the Joof family, it is the name of Maad a Sinig Niokhobai Mane Nyan Joof they recite, i.e. "Juufa Niokhobai Samba Lingeer" (var. Dioufa Niokhobaye), which means "Joof! The great nobles." These short family poems or proverbs are called lastangol la (or ndakantal) in Serer.[11]

Status in Serer religion

Main article: Pangool

The Faye family's involvement in Serer religion is linked to the Pangool (the Serer saints and ancestral spirits). During the reign of Maad a Sinig Waasila Faye (in the fifteenth century[26]), the Fangool Laga Ndong was canonized king of the Pangool (singular: Fangool).[27] Between c. 1750–1763, the then king of Sine — Maad a Sinig Boukar Tjilas Mahe Soum Joof[28] is reported to have come into conflict with the Fangool Tamba Faye (the "great Fangool of Ndiob").[29]

In Senegambian culture

Serer personalities with the surname Faye or Fay

The following list is a sample of those personalities who are ethnically Serers of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania partaining to the Serer patronym Faye or Fay :


Kingdom of Sine

Main articles: Kingdom of Sine, Maad a Sinig, and Lingeer


Main article: Kingdom of Jolof




Leopold M'Bar Faye: Senegalese field officer and colonel

Art and entertainment



See also


  1. 1 2 3 Sarr, Alioune, "Histoire du Sine-Saloum", (Sénégal), Introduction, bibliographie et notes par Charles Becker. Version légèrement remaniée par rapport à celle qui est parue en 1986-87. p 19
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 (French) "L’EPOPEE DE SANMOON FAY", Ethiopiques n°54 revue semestrielle de culture négro-africaine, Nouvelle série volume 7 2e semestre 1991 (Retrieved 14 August 2012)
  3. 1 2 3 Diouf, Niokhobaye, "Chronique du royaume du Sine", p 705-6 (pp 4-5)
  4. Variation: Tening Diom
  5. Serer proper: Waagaan Tening Jom Fay. Other variations: Wagane Tening Diom Faye or Waagane Massa Faye
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 (French) Ndiaye, Fata, "La saga du peuple sérère et l'Histoire du Sine", in Éthiopiques (revue), numéro 54, vol. 7, 2e semestre 1991
  7. Variation: Waagaan Koumba Sandiane Faye (see Diouf, pp 716–7 (p 11)
  8. 1 2 3 4 Klein, Martin A, Islam and Imperialism in Senegal: Sine-Saloum, 1847–1914, Edinburgh University Press, 1968, p. XV
  9. 1 2 Crétois, Léonce, Becker, Charles "Le vocabulaire sereer de la faune", (Editor: Charles Becker), Centre de linguistique appliquée de Dakar (1983), p iv.
  10. Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (France) Laboratoire d'ethnobotanique et d'ethnozoologie, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France), "Journal d'agriculture traditionnelle et de botanique appliquée: JATBA., Volumes 32–33", Laboratoire d'ethnobotanique et d'ethnozoologie, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (1985), p 233
  11. 1 2 3 Lamoise, LE P., "Grammaire de la langue sérère avec des exemples et des exercises renfermant des documents très utiles", Imprimerie de la Mission (1873)
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Diouf, pp 708-9 (pp 5-6)
  13. Faye, Louis Diène, Mort et naissance: le monde Sereer, Nouvelles éditions africaines, 1983, p. 56 ISBN 2-7236-0868-9
  14. Diouf, pp 706-7 (pp 5-5)
  15. Diouf, pp 709-10 (pp 6-7)
  16. Diouf, pp 719-20 (pp 12-13)
  17. 1 2 Diouf, pp 724-725
  18. Diouf, p 726
  19. Diouf, Cheikh, "Fiscalité et Domination Coloniale: l'exemple du Sine: 1859-1940", Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (2005)
  20. Klein, pp 55-59
  21. Diouf, pp 726-727
  22. Klein, p90
  23. Diouf, pp 727-729
  24. Klein, pp 90-93
  25. Waagaan / Wagane Tening Jom Faye is also spelled Wagane Tening Diom Faye (following its French spelling in Senegal). The names of his children are also spelled: Mba Wagane, Ndougou Wagane, Yakis Wagane, Karabel Wagane, Biram Diakher Wagane, Ngom Wagane, Toma Wagane, Khandiang Wagane, Ndiène Wagane and Lassouk Wagane (see Diouf, p 707(p 5). See also:
    Sarr (page 22) for the name variations : Yakisse Wagane, Dougou-Dougou Wagane, Khandiang Wagane, Diokel Wagane and Koly Mbégane Wagane. The names Diokel and Koly are not provided by Niokhobaye Diouf.
    Tasse Faye or Tassé Faye (following its French spelling in Senegal) succeeded Maad a Sinig Maysa Wali Jaxateh Manneh (or Maïssa Wali Dione) who ruled from 1350 - 1370 (see Sarr, p 19).
  26. Gravrand, "Pangool", p 386
  27. (French) Gravrand, Henry, "La Civilisation Sereer Pangool", vol.2, Les Nouvelles Editions Africaines du Senegal, (1990), p 363, ISBN 2-7236-1055-1
  28. Variation: Boukar Tjilas Mahé Soum Diouf
  29. Diouf, Niokhobaye, "Chronique du royaume du Sine", Suivie de notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. (1972). Bulletin de l'Ifan, Tome 34, Série B, n° 4, (1972). pp 723 (p 14)
  30. 1 2 Sarr, Benjamin Sombel, "Sorcellerie et univers religieux chrétien en Afrique", l'Harmattan (2008), p 19, ISBN 2296059163
  31. The Lingeer-Awo is the first wife of a king.
  32. Diouf, Niokhobaye. "Chronique du royaume du Sine." Suivie de notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. (1972). Bulletin de l'Ifan, Tome 34, Série B, n° 4, (1972). pp 722–732 (pp 14
  33. (French) "CARNET DE ROUTE – DIAKHAO Dans la cour des Bour Sine" [in] Setal net (Retrieved 15 August 2012)
  34. 1 2 3 Klein, pp 106-9
  35. 1 2 Diouf, p 730 (p 18)
  36. Klein, p 46
  37. Diouf, p 717 (p 11)
  38. Klein, p 106–7
  39. (French) République du Sénégal, Primature Secretariat General du Gouvernment, Journal Officiel "MINISTERE DES FORCES ARMEES, Décret n° 2007-1486 du 10 décembre 2007" (Retrieved 14 August 2012)
  40. (French) "Liste des 197 Officiers de la Promotion GDG 70–72" [in] Association promotion gènèral de Gaulle


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