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Our special tribute to Saltigi Biram Pouye

16th September 1940 (Sanghe, Jooɓaas) - 2nd February 2019 (Sanghe)

Obituary of Saltigi Biram Pouye (Saltigi Biram Puuy)

born. 16th September 1940 (Sanghe, Jooɓaas, Senegal)

died. 2nd February 2019 (Sanghe, Jooɓaas, Senegal)

buried. 3rd February 2019 (Sanghe, Jooɓaas, Senegal)

A special tribute to our colleague and uncle Saltigi Biram Pouye

By The Seereer Resource Centre (SRC), Seereer Radio, Seereer Heritage Press and their respective teams

Published: Sunday, 3rd February 2019

Last edited: Saturday, 9th February 2019

We are saddened by the passing of our colleague, friend, uncle, granddad and mentor - the great Saltigi Biram Pouye. The Seereer Resource Centre, Seereer Radio, Seereer Heritage Press and their respective teams would like to offer their heartfelt and sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to our respective teams who regarded him as a member of our family.

Saltigi Pouye was born on 16 September 1940 in Sanghe, Jooɓaas (or Diobass), Senegal to a Seereer Saafi family. His maternal grandfather and namesake was a renown saltigi (Seereer high priest) and a gifted elder whose valor is still recited in Jooɓaas. Although Saltigi Pouye came from a large extended family, he was his mother's only child. Saltigi Pouye became a bona fide saltigi in his 20s. For over 60 years, Saltigi Pouye served the Seereer priesthood as a saltigi. In his latter years, he cut back on his work as a saltigi and devoted most of his time preserving and educating the young about Seereer history and culture. Some of his family were and are members of the saltigi class.

Saltigi Pouye was one of the last remnants of the old saltigi class within the Senegambia region. For many years, there has been many charlatans proclaiming themselves as genuine saltigis. However, most of these people have neither been initiated nor do they adhere to the tenets of Seereer/African spirituality. It is for this reason why we have refused for many years to recommend any other saltigi to our members and the general public at large. Despite receiving numerous emails at the SRC from all over world asking for recommendations, we refuse to recommend any other saltigi other than Saltigi Pouye. As a policy, we do not recommend any saltigi whom we have not worked closely with and/or who has not passed our credibility test. Saltigi Pouye was without doubt a bona fide saltigi. A rarity! He was one of the last remnants of the old saltigi class who have not been tarnished or corrupted. His wisdom was second to none, and the Seereer priestly class knew it. This is one of the reason why Saltigi Pouye was not seen at the annual Xooy (a divination ceremony). Instead, he was known for sending his messenger to Fatick MALANGO to reveal his divination. He was so well known for this - that the organisers would say "Gorgi Pouye of Jooɓaas has sent his messenger to relay to us that he has divined..." so and so. He was that well esteemed by his peers. 

The Seereer Resource Centre and Seereer Radio have been fortunate enough to interview him on numerous occasions in our mission to preserve Seereer tradition. In all instances, he had been more than generous with his time and knowledge, and fully understood our mission and urgency to preserve his knowledge and Seereer tradition in the pages of history before we lose it forever. For someone who did not give interviews and had turned down many media houses more powerful than ours' (i..e. Seereer Radio), we felt and still feel privilege to have had that special relationship with him. He was part of the SRC and Seereer Radio family, but most importantly, he, just like his late friend and cousin Professor Issa Laye Thiaw, believed in what we stand for, what we are trying to achieve, and the need and urgency of our mission. It was an honour to know the man, and to have worked so closely with him for many years. His door was always opened to us, both professionally and personally. His love for humanity and nature, his views on how much we can all learn from nature, and his wisdom and knowledge of the umbilical connection between the universe, humanity and nature - as enshrined in the Seereer creation narrative was as remarkable as the man himself. This, in our view is his legacy. His passing is a great loss to the Seereer community, to Senegal, The Gambia, the African continent and the Diaspora. He will be surely missed. 

Our prayers and deepest condolences goes out to his family. Our door is always open if they ever need our assistance. Gorgi Pouye was a family to us, and by extension, his family are part of our family.

Rest in peace dear Uncle. Thank you for visiting this world and passing on your wisdom without asking for anything in return. A true saltigi you are. Now you rest and return to the ancestors. Jaaniiw awaits you.

May Roog Seen, the pangool and ancestors grant you eternal peace, and open the gates of Jaaniiw so you can enter. Goliŋ!

In paying tribute on Facebook,

Tamsier Joof wrote:

I am saddened by the loss of our colleague at The Seereer Resource Centre and Seereer Radio. The late Saltigi Biram Pouye was one of the last remnants of the old Saltigi class. He was more than a colleague to us but a friend, uncle and mentor. His humour and wisdom will surely be missed. May his soul rest in eternal peace. Goliŋ!

Seereer Radio wrote:

Our sincere condolences to the family of our colleague and friend Saltigi Biram Pouye. He was a family to us and not just a colleague, and will be surely missed. Saltigi Pouye passed away yesterday - Saturday, 2nd February 2019, and will be buried today at Diobass, Senegal. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Goliŋ!

If not tonight, in the next few days, the Seereer Radio team will be broadcasting a live tribute to our late colleague. Stay tuned for updates

You can listen to all previous interviews we've had with the late Saltigi Biram Pouye by visiting the SRC and Seereer Radio's joint podcast website (see links below).

Seereer Heritage Press wrote:

We are saddened by this news. Saltigi Pouye was highly regarded and respected who have worked diligently to preserve what is left of Seereer culture and traditions. He will be missed. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Demba Sene paid tribute in the following terms:

Other than being my teacher of Seereer spirituality and wisdom, Saltigui Birame Pouye was also my grandfather [great-uncle] on my mother's side.

He was one of the rarest and most authentic saltigui I have met during my research. The last time we've seen each other was 8 days ago, before his death. He has not been feeling well for sometime.

We spoke a lot about the importance of family. When I was getting ready to leave, I offered to give him some money but he asked me for more - saying: "I have to buy two bags of rice." That was unusual, because in all the years I've known him, and throughout his life judging by the accounts of elders, Saltigui Pouye lived his life like a true Seereer and saltigui, and never asked others for anything. Another strange thing which I only thought about later was when he told me to come back on 3rd of February 2019 (the day of his funeral). In my view, this is all symbolic and he was practically saying goodbye and wanted me to be at the funeral, and to be there for the family when he is gone.

He was the last true saltigui from the Saafi community I know. He taught me a lot to which I am immensely grateful. I'm sure he is making his way to Jaaniiw to start a new life.

Safe journey Grandpa!

Radio tribute coming soon!

Seereer Radio will be broadcasting a special tribute in the next few days to honour our late colleague, uncle, granddad, friend and mentor. Please stay tuned for further announcements.

Name variations:

  • Seereer proper: Saltigi Biram Puuy
  • Other: Saltigui Birame Pouye or Saltigi Biram Pouye



Listen to all our previous interviews with Saltigi Pouye on our podcast website


Our video interview with Saltigi Pouye in 2015

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