Meaning of Toubab: (Tubaab)
In Gambia, as well as the rest of West Africa, the word means
a Caucasian person, though this word can also describe a person
of lighter skin. This is not a derogatory statement, simply a
label meant to describe. As the widely understood sentiment in
The Gambia is that toubabs are rich, expect cries of toubabs to
be accompanied by pleas for money or minties, from adults as well
as children. Basically, if you are a foreigner, and especially
if you are light-skinned, expect to be described by this name.
It is not clear how European people came to be called toubab in
Gambia. Some say it is a corruption of the word Tabib which in
Arabic means doctor. Note: missionaries and doctors in the imperial
era were people from Europe.
The other theory is that it is derived from the word "two
bob" 2 shilling coinage from the pre-decimalization period
of British currency when The Gambia was still colonised by Britain.
Other Ethnic Groups