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.