Gambian Trailblazers’: Introducing Musa Njie: The Brain Behind JUFURE Clothing Brand

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M Njie, The man behind the Jufure Brand

By: Awa Conteh 

This week, we spotlight the inspiring story of Musa Njie, a visionary entrepreneur and the founder of JUFURE. This remarkable clothing brand serves as a beacon of African heritage and culture. From humble beginnings in The Gambia to establishing Jufure in Sweden, Musa’s path is one of resilience, empowerment, and unwavering commitment to African heritage. 

Join us as we uncover the profound journey of self-discovery embarked upon by Musa Njie and the JUFURE brand, a journey guided by the enduring legacies of African leaders and civilizations. Together, we celebrate the richness of African culture, embracing empowerment and resilience as foundational principles in our collective pursuit of change and enlightenment.

Musa Njie hails from Jarra Soma in The Gambia. He attended Soma Lower Basic School and later Pakalinding High School, followed by Muslim High up to grade 10. After completing his education in The Gambia, Musa made the life-changing decision to move to Sweden.

In Sweden, he pursued studies in plumbing, earning a diploma in the field. With over 13 years of experience in the plumbing industry, Musa has honed his skills and expertise through practical work.

Since childhood, Musa has exhibited a natural curiosity and a strong affinity for creativity and innovation. His friends often humorously referred to him as stubborn and crazy due to his persistent desire to try new things and explore his creative side. In essence, Musa is a curious and passionate individual who is deeply committed to innovation and creativity, continually seeking to push boundaries and explore new ideas.

As a child, Musa Njie never imagined himself running a clothing brand. His biggest dream was to become a pilot—a common aspiration among many kids in his hometown of Gambia. Looking back, the idea seems quaint and amusing.

As a child, Musa Njie never imagined himself running a clothing brand

However, life took a different turn as Musa grew older. His father, a tailor, had hopes of him following in his footsteps. Musa strongly opposed the idea; the thought of spending his days in his father’s tailor shop was unappealing, leading to frequent disagreements between them.

Despite his initial reluctance towards tailoring, fate had its plans for Musa. Today, he finds himself leading Jufure—a clothing brand that goes beyond mere apparel.

“Through JUFURE, we want to honor our ancestors and show pride in our culture. It’s a way to tell our story and feel proud of where we come from”, Musa told The Alkamba Times.

While Musa’s childhood dream of becoming a pilot may have faded, leading Jufure has brought a different kind of fulfillment—a dream infused with purpose, passion, and a profound connection to the spirit of his community.

In the quest to uncover his purpose in life, Musa Njie found himself on a journey of self-discovery. The tragic and unjust killing of George Floyd in the USA served as a pivotal moment, igniting a fire within him. Witnessing the loss of innocent Black lives sparked a deep sense of frustration and a yearning to make a meaningful impact.

Exploring African history and legacy, Musa became fascinated with its profound beauty and importance. He struggled with how best to impart this wisdom to his generation, even though he felt compelled to do so.

Initially contemplating writing a book on African history, Musa hesitated, questioning his ability to convey its richness authentically. Aware of the disinterest of the younger generation in lengthy texts, he explored alternative avenues. The idea of using music crossed his mind, but he feared the message would be overshadowed by the beats. It was then that he observed the influential power of fashion—a medium that resonated deeply with the youth.

Inspiration struck like lightning: why not utilize fashion to tell the African story? Thus, the concept of Jufure was born. Named after a village in The Gambia with a storied history, Jufure symbolizes the importance of cherishing and preserving heritage. Drawing from his family’s legacy in tailoring, Musa envisioned a brand that would redefine their narrative.

Musa Njie

“Jufure isn’t just a clothing brand; it’s a movement. Each design carries a message that speaks volumes about our culture, heritage, and reality. It’s a celebration of the richness of Black history and culture, a testament to our resilience and strength”, he said. 

Selecting the name Jufure proved to be a challenging task for Mr Njie as he embarked on the journey of building his brand. It took him three to four months of exhaustive research and frustration to discover a name that held the essence of the history of his people. After considering nearly 20 different names, Musa found his inspiration in Jufure.

What resonated deeply about Jufure was its profound connection to the rich history of places like Janjanbureh and Juffureh in The Gambia. Witnessing the gradual fading of names like these stirred a sense of urgency within him to preserve such heritage for future generations. Recognizing that the very island itself is vanishing, Musa realized the critical importance of safeguarding the name to prevent descendants of The Gambia from losing touch with their past.

Jufureh village holds a powerful and dynamic story of his ancestors’ history, prompting Musa to honor that legacy by choosing the name Jufure for their brand. This decision was driven by Musa’s unwavering commitment to preserving heritage and ensuring that future generations remain deeply rooted in their history.

“Growing up in Gambia, I witnessed firsthand the glorification and promotion of Western culture. As a child, seeing white people was a spectacle—we’d eagerly chase after them, calling them “Tubab pen and paper.” There was an ingrained belief that anything from the West was superior, smarter, and more appreciated,” Musa narrated.

As Musa matured, he came to a profound realization: his and many’s mindset was shaped by a lack of understanding of their history. Gambia, like many African nations, boasts a rich and beautiful heritage. Musa found himself navigating between two worlds—the attraction of Western influence and the pride of his African roots.

This internal duality ignited a fire within our remarkable guest, propelling him to create the Jufure Brand. His goal was to bridge the gap between these two worlds, ensuring that this generation—and future ones—understand the value of their skin, their history, and their origins. Musa firmly believes that no African child should ever feel compelled to alter their appearance or identity to conform to Western standards.

Different collections of Jufure Brand

African people are inherently intelligent, and the continent is abundant in natural resources. The history of Africa is marked by resilience, creativity, and achievement—a history deserving of celebration and recognition.

Every business faces its share of challenges, and for Jufure Brand, one significant hurdle was conveying its message to the people of Gambia. Initially, reaching everyone proved to be a daunting task, but with the support of those who joined the movement, the team has made remarkable progress.

They have been fortunate to have individuals who grasp the story and concept behind the brand, aiding them in gradually spreading their message within the African and Gambian communities. While financial obstacles are common for businesses, Musa and Jufure are addressing them methodically, taking small steps toward overcoming this challenge.

“Despite these hurdles, we remain grateful and thankful to God for guiding us through. With determination and perseverance, we’re confident in our ability to overcome any obstacles that come our way. Alhamduliallah!”, Mr Njie said.

He recounted that as the founder and owner of Jufure Brand, one of the most fulfilling moments is receiving messages or calls from individuals who express how wearing his brand fills them with pride. They speak of feeling a deep connection to the brand’s story and proudly share it wherever they go. It’s these moments that fill him with immense pride, knowing that he has created something that resonates deeply with others.

Another source of pride is witnessing celebrities like Burna Boy, Davido, JIZZLE, St. Gambia Dream, Hussain Dada, and Attack proudly donning and performing in their brand. When artists of such caliber embrace and showcase the brand, it underscores the significance of representation and belonging.

Nigerian Superstar Davido in Jufure brand

At Jufure, they prioritize quality over quantity, firmly believing that anything representing African history should be rich in both material and meaning. Through extensive research and hard work, they have dedicated themselves to creating unique materials, refusing to compromise on the value they provide to their customers, whom they proudly call Jufure members.

Their commitment to preserving and celebrating African heritage sets them apart in the fashion industry. They see themselves not just as clothing designers but as storytellers dedicated to weaving narratives of African history into every piece. With their focus on quality, authenticity, and storytelling, Jufure remains a beacon of pride and connection for all who wear their brand.

“Promoting African history and empowering African communities is not just a belief for me—it’s a personal mission. Whenever I’m in Africa, particularly in places like Gambia, I make it a point to support black-owned businesses. This concept of backing black-owned enterprises is something I wholeheartedly endorse”, Musa stressed.

In Sweden, where Musa resides, he extends his support to young Africans striving to make a difference. Whether it’s financial assistance, motivation, or simply offering words of encouragement, he is committed to uplifting those who are working hard to achieve their dreams.

Musa and his beautiful Wife represent the brand.

Beyond clothing designs, Musa invests in initiatives back home aimed at empowering youth and providing them with opportunities. His goal is to create avenues where young Africans can thrive without being exploited by others. By investing in Africa and supporting local businesses, he hopes to contribute to the growth and prosperity of their communities. For Musa, it’s not just about clothing; it’s about creating a brighter future for the next generation.

As we conclude our exploration of Musa Njie’s remarkable journey, we are reminded of the power of passion, determination, and a strong sense of purpose. Through Jufure, Musa has not only redefined the landscape of fashion and ignited a flame of empowerment and celebration of heritage but also bridged continents and generations to create a brighter future for African youth. His story serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring us all to embrace our roots, celebrate our heritage, and work towards a world where every dream is within reach.

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