It took me a long time to learn the word for alcohol. Since this is a Muslim society nobody uses the term. I on the other hand love the word and wish I had more of it from time to time. The word for alcohol is the same for every language here in Senegal, but was created by the Sereers. They call it sangara. I thought the origin of this word was interesting enough to write about and share with all of you. During the French colonization here in West Africa many things were exported from Europe to meet the living standards of Frenchmen living abroad. Alcohol existed for many years before the colonization of Senegal, but nobody here had ever experienced the goods. A wealthy merchant by the name Jean was the sole source for importing sangara to rich industrialists and opportunity seekers alike. During that time the Sereer people held the power over all the other ethnic groups, even the current leadership- the Wolofs. The Sereer King dealt a lot with the French, especially with imports and exports (later it became the export of slaves to Europe and the Americas).
The wealthy merchant, Jean, decided to reach out past his normal clients and introduced his products to the Senegalese locals, predominately the non-Muslims. From then on, every time the African people on the coast saw Jean’s ship and flag, they would yell out "Jean a gar a," which means "Jean is coming". Though at that time, even now, the Senegalese had trouble pronouncing the letter J, and it sounded more along the lines of a hard S sound. The speed at which they spoke was fast so the words all came together as one, san-a-gar-a……into sangara.
(Historical facts shown may or may not be true. My village likes to boast)