Why the name: Dakar?


African Heritage

Map of Senegal Map of Senegal

After talking about one of the great queens of Senegal, Queen Ndate Yalla Mbodj, it made total sense to explore the meaning of the capital and largest city of Senegal: Dakar. Is the name a local Wolof name? or does it have a French origin? Is the name’s meaning linked to Dakar’s strong fishing tradition or something else?

Map of Dakar in 1850 Map of Dakar in 1850

The name Dakarcould be the French version of Ndakaarou (Ndakaaru), local name whose etymology still remains uncertain. It could be derived from the wolofdeuk raw meaning “whoever settles here will be in peace,” or dekk-rawfrom dekk(country), and raw (to escape) because of the afflux of populations from the Cayor and Baol regions after the Lebous settled there. It could also arise from the wolof dakhar, the name for the tamarind tree: it is said that upon…

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