Epitaph: Buba SM Ceesay and I


Tribute By Journalist Sanna Camara 

When I came in, walking to Oustass Jagne’s office on that Monday morning with my dad, in September 1993; nicely dressed in my new school uniform to start Grade 7, Buba SM saw me from his class (then Grade 8) and came out to escort us to the VP’s office.

We knew each other from the village and he liked me too. SM did not come from Boraba like me. He’s from Jambanjelly (Jam City). But my dad’s childhood friend, M. I. Jobs (late) served as headmaster in their village in the late 80s and Buba was to be his god son. So he became a Borabanko while I was going to Primary School.

At Armitage, I was to spend next couple of months sleeping in same bed with EK (Armitage nicknames) while SM spent the night with a friend next room. He only comes for change of clothes or to prepare for school.

Although he had already hosted EK, he insisted I too come to his corner as his boy. It was like we had our own spot even before we were distributed among various Kundas (dormitories) at the oldest givernment boarding school. EK was posted to Kaabu while I was sent to Niani Kunda. But I still continued to live with SM until I was satisfied to move to Niani and caused him a lot of trouble….

SM was my “host” at Armitage. He invited me to join him as a “green” boy (new comer to the school). A kind hearted man who loves to serve people.

He was an executive member of the now defunct “Lend A Hand Society” that helps mobilize funds to support students in need… Many students enjoyed education and career today thanks to efforts of selfless people like Buba SM Ceesay.

He was also a scout band member, a councillor and member of the Peer Health Education and Current Affairs club. He was a good debater and actor at the drama society too…. His passion for news writing went beyond school to newsroom of The Daily Observer soon after he completed Armitage in 1998.

At the drama performances, SM would steal the show with his mode of dress and epic performance that takes away everyone’s breath from laughter… Yet the next morning, he would wake up early to begin his duties looking very serious as if last night did not happen. Such was his character. A modest man, who looks after everyone around him. The trouble with such people, they do not mostly live long for others to repay their debt. But his legacy teaches that we continue to emulate his kind and selfless life by looking after others…

When he bagged a scholarship to study in India, you could tell how excited he was to upgrade himself and come back to serve Fatherland Gambia. He already had a first degree from the University of The Gambia and a Higher Teacher’s Certificate from The Gambia College. Yet, he would suffer such a bad health that would lead to his evacuation back to The Gambia. He would spend another year at EF Small Teaching Hospital with his supportive wife, Sally Jarju of GRTS, plus family members around his bed side. I visited him twice during those times and each time, I left with tears…

He had battled it and got released to the care of his lovely wife. The last time I met him was at the studios of GRTS when I was invited as a guest to discuss the National Journalism Awards, flagship and the most prestigious Journalism awards of The Gambia Press Union. For me, SM was a brother not just a professional colleague!

I cannot express how much support he rendered to me as a new student and even during the years afterwards. I pray that Allah grant him the highest abode in the hereafter. Until we meet again, my brother. Ameen!

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