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From Wolof to Jollof: Debate on Jollof Rice Origin Ends as UNESCO Ranks Senegal Source 

Variants include the older French Ouolof, Jollof, Jolof, Gambian Wolof, etc., which now typically refers either to the Jolof Empire or to jollof rice



In a post made by the Chief Executive Officer of JIC Holdings, Mark-Anthony Johnson LinkedIn, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has officially recognised Senegal as the origin of Jollof rice over Ghana and Nigeria.


This origin of jollofrice recognised by UNESCO, also known as Ceebu jën in Senegal, settles a long-standing debate between West African nations, most especially Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.


“The dish, which is a staple in West African cuisine, is made of rice and fish, accompanied by vegetables and sometimes tomatoes,” Johnson had written.


The origin of Jollof rice can be traced back to the entrenchment of colonial rule in West Africa between 1860 and 1940, research by The Conversation Africa, learnt.


“During this period, French colonisers replaced food crops with broken rice imported from Indochina. Over time, broken rice became more prized by the Senegalese than whole rice grain and the dish known as Ceebu jën was born,” Johnson wrote.


The Jollof Rice dish has become a source of pride and cultural identity for Senegal as a whole and has been recognised as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO.


This certification is expected to positively impact the Senegalese economy, particularly in tourism, agriculture, fishing and catering.


In addition to its cultural significance, Jollof rice is also closely linked to a particular way of life and the consumption of the dish is strongly linked to ceremonial events and the aesthetics of presentation and service.


The women of Saint Louis, a port city in northern Senegal, are known for their remarkable know-how in the area of preparing Jollof Rice and have been credited with adding finesse and elegance to the dish. Many thanks to UNESCO.


The Senegalese version of Jollof rice, Ceebu jën, is now officially recognised by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity, putting an end to the ongoing debate over its origins and solidifying Senegal’s claim as the true home of Jollof rice.”


Is It Thieb, Wolof or Jollof?

From Wolof to Jollof: Debate on Jollof Rice Origin Ends as UNESCO Ranks Senegal Source 
Image of a Jollof Rice from web.

Tiep or thieb is a traditional dish from Senegal that is also consumed in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and The Gambia, Wikipedia noted. It is the national dish in Senegal. The version of tiep called thieboudienne or chebu jen (Wolof: ceebu jën; French: thiéboudiène) is prepared with fish, rice and tomato sauce cooked in one pot.


There are also tiep yappa (with meat) and tiep ganaar (with chicken). Additional ingredients often include onions, carrots, cabbage, cassava, hot pepper, lime and peanut oil, and stock cubes.


Historically, tiep is commonly attributed to the city of Saint-Louis, in the nineteenth century. The name of the dish comes from Wolof words meaning ‘rice’ (ceeb) and ‘fish’ (jën).


In Pulaar it is known as maaro e liddi (‘rice and fish’). It is served on large trays with the rice on the bottom and the fish, usually white grouper (Epinephelus aeneus), and the vegetables, many of them whole, placed in the center.


Traditionally it is eaten in a large communal dish with the hand. It is also the symbol of Senegalese terranga (hospitality): family, visiting friends and guests gather around a single dish (called a bolus) from which everyone eats using a spoon (couddou Pulaar) or a piece of bread.


The popular West African dish known as jollof is thought to have originated from the thieboudienne, but is usually made with meat rather than fish, and the rice is mixed into the other ingredients.


The Gullah dish red rice resembles thieboudienne, suggesting a creolization of foodways from West Africa in the New World by enslaved Africans and their descendants. Like thieboudienne, there are regional variations of red rice throughout the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, including Savannah red rice and Charleston red rice.



The Wolof and its Rice

From Wolof to Jollof: Debate on Jollof Rice Origin Ends as UNESCO Ranks Senegal Source 
Image of Jollof Rice from web.

Wolof (/ˈwoʊlɒf/; Wolofal: ولوفل) is a language of Senegal, Mauritania, and the Gambia, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of the Niger-Congo family, Wolof is not a tonal language.


Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language.


Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. The principal dialect of Dakar, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.


Wolof is the standard spelling and may also refer to the Wolof ethnicity or culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof, Jollof, Jolof, Gambian Wolof, etc., which now typically refers either to the Jolof Empire or to jollof rice, a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include Volof and Olof.


English is believed to have adopted some Wolof loanwords, such as banana, via Spanish or Portuguese, and nyam in several Caribbean English Creoles meaning “to eat” (compare Seychellois Creole nyanmnyanm, also meaning “to eat”).




It is a preparation of fresh or dried fish, and rice (rice Wolof), cooked with vegetables (such as cassava, pumpkin, cabbage, carrot, turnip, or eggplant), parsley, tomato paste, peppers, garlic and onions. Originally made with fish, it is nowadays frequent to see it served with beef or even chicken.


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The neck-deep investigation, OSINT Fact-checking, Climate Change airing the marginalized, and doing critical and accountability reporting is what I do. I lead a group of professional investigators at the PIJAlance Magazine Research and Investigations Desk (RID). If you have a story, check 'contact us' to hit me.

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  1. […] Read Also: From Wolof to Jollof: Debate on Jollof Rice Origin Ends as UNESCO Ranks Senegal Source […]

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