Her story has become a legend in Senegal, it is Princess Anta Maguen Injay who was captured in 1806, and sold to a slave trader and a wealthy farmer from Florida, who made her his slave; But it was his right hand to manage his land.
In the French magazine L’Obs, the philosopher Solomon Bashir Dayan tells the story of the Wolof princess who became a slave after being rebuilt by Daniel L. Schafer, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Florida in his book Anna Majin Jay Kingsley.
Diane says in his introduction to the book published today by the French house, “Albin Michel”, that this book represents a story of obsession, which began in 1972 when its writer toured as a tourist in “Kingsley Farm” located on the island of Fort George, and heard from the guide with his companions on the trip, The amazing story of a princess from Senegal is Anta Majin Jai, who arrived in the New World in Havana as a slave.
The story of this slave who bought and freed a farmer from Florida, and officially recognized her as a loyal companion and mother to his children, and inherited his property from him, whose name is Kingsley, reached the ears of the historian who saw an invitation to explore the history of slavery in Florida in order to update her inscription in the “Black Atlantic”, as He was called by British historian Paul Gilroy who was interested in the history of slavery.
From the Senegalese island of Gori, which is called the Farewell Gate to the African Land, the adventure of this 13-year-old girl began when she passed through the “door of no return” through which many of the prisoners heading to the Americas passed through; However, she became the owner of a farm and slaves in her new country.
A humane declaration
The writer said that this story collects historical facts that have been patiently collected through archives and interviews with historians; But also with the Senegalese singers (who have preserved the history of kings in the Wolof community), in addition to the hypotheses that complement these facts, without forgetting the aspect of imagination necessary for a better understanding of the Anta / Anna Engai saga and the drama of slavery.
Diane noted what the story of the slave trade represents in the great transatlantic scene, and how it linked the Kingdom of Jouleof with the cities of Guerre and Rvisk in Senegal, Havana, Florida, Haiti and other places in the world that they call “the new”, through the interconnection of the destinies of many personalities with their freedom, their slave, their white, black and their males.
Thus Anna’s book reveals – as the writer says – the feelings of all these people, and turns the story into a play that reviews what was known as the slavery of blacks in the southern United States and the Caribbean.
After an exploration of the slave revolutions in Haiti and Toussaint Louverture, the author notes that this book represents the “declaration of humanity” as presented by those revolutions; Because the person who was destined to live the life of a Wolof princess, no one knows exactly under what circumstances she was kidnapped and raped, and then boarded a slave ship to be sold to a man 3 decades older than her while she was 13.
Daughter of the proud kingdom of Golov
Despite all this – the writer says – this child was able to rise again, and preserved her whole life in her name and identity. Because Engai reminded her of the land that was her daughter, and that she was from the descendants of the first Engadians, the founder of the Kingdom of Jolof in Senegal, and Maggin refers to her mother, while her name is You, even if it is distorted to Anna; But nothing has changed about it.
Although you were dispossessed from her homeland at the age of 13, the story of her life as a woman really shows that even after passing the “door of no return”, she never stopped being the daughter of Jollof, as the inhabitants of her childhood kingdom are called.
The author briefly reviewed the history of the Jolof Kingdom, which ruled different population groups in Senegambia and southern Mauritania today, between the middle of the 14th century and the middle of the 16th century.
Anna’s life shows – as the writer says – that Anta became a strong woman who imposed her respect on her master, who quickly freed her, and recognized her as his wife by entrusting her with managing his possessions.
This woman showed extraordinary courage – according to the writer – during the uprising in 1812, which was encouraged by the United States to annex Spanish Florida, when she went to set fire to her house, to prevent it from being used as a headquarters for militia members, who risked returning from Haiti to Florida after the Civil War.
The writer notes that Anta at a certain stage in her life was not friendly towards free blacks, linking that to her attempt to cling to her inheritance from her husband, and that is why Senegalese feminist historian Binda Mbou says, “We would have liked the woman who created a community around her of free colored men and women to embody the spirit of women.” Wolofism in the African diaspora, as it would not have owned the slaves who devoted to it with property, and left them an inheritance afterwards according to the will that she wrote in 1860, 10 years before her death.
It remains to be noted that Anta Maggin Enjai was able to restore a life that could have been destroyed forever since adolescence, which shows that man is invincible, especially if it is Enjai, because “Enjai” is also the name of the lion and the hymn of freedom.