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Bantaba in Gambia (Gazebo)
Culture & Traditions   Village Structure   
What is a Bantaba in Gambia?
The name "Bantaba" is derived from the word for a large tree, which is called Bentennie in the Mandinka language and is a traditional meeting place for the men of the village. The origins of the word is from the Mandinka for tree which is "Bant" and "aba" means "where to meet" and so the 2 words combined says Bant-aba. It is the modern day equivalent of a garden gazebo, which is larger than an arbour.

Today, it is used to describe any wooden or cement construct which is located within the confines of a family compound or other property with a roof made of grass or corrugated iron sheets with pillars made of wood / bamboo or concrete. The structure itself has no walls and resembles a gazebo.

Early in Gambian history a big tree formed the basis and foundation of the village. Due to its natural shade it became an obvious meeting place for men to get out of the stifling sun and heat of their huts during the day. This is where they discussed issues that were pertinent to the village such as ceremonies or communal works.

The tree is sometimes known as a gathering tree.

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