Another Hero in Africa’s Tragic Hall of Fame

Solo and Biko

By Dida Halake

In Dying Like Biko, Solo Sandeng Frees a Nation

Let the day be etched in the minds of Gambians and Friends of The Gambia everywhere.

Thursday 14th April 2016:

The day Solo Sandeng led some forty colleagues in a peaceful demonstration carrying nothing more dangerous than a clothe banner calling for “Fair Elections” and met his death at the hands of Gambia’s security forces, will be remembered as the day that awakened a nation and changed The Gambia forever.

Just as that other day thirty-nine years ago has been etched in our minds forever.

Monday 12th September 1977:

When Steve Bantu Biko perished at the hands of South Africa’s notorious security forces, having accomplished the task of freeing and awakening the minds of a generation of South African School Children: the Biko Generation that finally won Freedom for their country.

It is tragic that President Yahya Jammeh, the man who so eloquently became the 1st African Head of State to advise Libya’s Gadaffy to resign for the sake of Libya, has ignored everyone’s advice to level the electoral playing field for the sake of The Gambia. Even my call for “A Govt of National Unity” back in 2011 received barbed rejoinders in the pages of the Daily Observer – and the Daily News which put it on the front-page was soon banned.

And so here we are at a tragic cross-roads. Brave Solo Sandeng has taken the bull by the horn and bravely asked for nothing more than an electoral playing field. Gambia’s security service have over-reacted – and killed the defenceless young man. And the result is completely the opposite of what the security services intended: the young and old in The Gambia will, inspired by Solo Sandeng, rise up and demand their freedom.

President Jammeh now faces the Solo Sandeng Generation, Gambians young and old who, inspired by in memory of Solo Sandeng will settle for nothing less than a “Free and Fair Election” – and a government of The Gambia that they freely elect without fear.

Like that other African Great said: “It is a prize worth dying for”. Cry not for Solo Sandeng’s memory; just make his dream of a Free Gambia come true.


Dida Jallow-Halake,

London, UK.


  1. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

    Evil Jammeh and his criminal gang of murderers will never have peace. Jammeh will fall sooner than he could imagine.

    Solo and everybody hurt and killed will get justice some day soon.

  2. Thank you Dida for this fitting tribute to Mr. Sandeng,

    I know this is not the time for lengthy writing but I would like to say the following:

    In the midst of all the noise and innuendoes, when the moment of truth came, it was Ousainou Darboe and his UDP that stood to be counted. It is not a good feeling when people of over 60 years, amidst rubber-coated bullets and batons, take to the streets to agitate for reforms which some of them may not live to enjoy.

    Nevertheless, as events unfolded, there were some genuine people who stood by the heroes. My admiration and personal appreciation goes to the Gainako Radio, (the Trio of Mama Linguere Sarr, Ahmad Gitteh and Demba Baldeh), The Diasporium Radio (Pa Babou Jobe, Jobis and crew who continued the coverage even up to this early morning), The Kibaaro Radio (Serign Bamba Mass and Prince Bojang) the Banjulfocus/Hellogambia Radio (Baaba Haidara) and Kaironews.

    Equally, I will call out Freedomnewspaper for their incitement and irresponsible reporting all these days. In my view, they are equally guilty as the killers of these innocent demonstrators. When the day of reckoning comes, they shall surely be called to account. I hope I will live to witness that day.

    May Allah/God be with the departed souls and may we live to witness a new Gambia free of dictatorship and tribal hatred.

  3. All these lives have never been lost but indeed, they are always here with us as transcendent symbols of the democratisation process of the Gambia in its two decades of miserable state of barbarism. Someone has to be there somehow and so those who sacrifice to stake their lives in the democratic front of action, on the ground, to demonstrate their uncomplacency towards despotism and the state of impunity in the Gambia, are true heroes in Gambia and in the whole Africa’s quest for democratic governments and its efforts in realising the values of democracy.
    It has been part of the debates here, if the international community has any part to play in the search for restoring democracy in the Gambia, where some enthusiastic citizens think, its something Gambians have to do all by themselves. Others up till now, remain with the motion that, the international community and America on another hand, are urgently needed in bringing about and end to a dangerously mad man and his clique’s warring agression against fellow innocent citizen and mostly poor, of the Gambia. Though the blood thirsty might be thinking they have quenched their thirst, all the prayers for these innocent lives shall remain the perpetual nightmare of this coward who points the guns on the very taxpayer’s head, who bought the guns to protect his borders.
    For one reason or the other the cause of it may be, death is a formidable experience awaiting every living being. May Allah/God rest Solo Sandeng and all the innocent victims’ souls in perfect peace.

  4. Indeed Dida, a free Gambia is what the genuine Gambians & friends have set our selfless tasks & dedicated our lives to, in whatever shapes, ways or forms in anyways necessary, whenever & wherever we are….

    Solo, God bless & reward him, amongst many, is INDEED the Steve Biko of Gambia liberation struggle; whilst we equally have our Mangazulu Buthelezis, Ousainou the ‘Gambian MANDELA’ has taken the fight to the kanilai ogre-DEVIL, until liberation which is a MUST, just matter of time…..

    Now is time for all true patriotic Gambians & friends, wherever we may be, to tighten our belts, close ranks & render our unconditional services incumbent upon all; Gambia is there for all citizens & non citizens, & will always continue to be no matter what; it’s time to ask oneself what you can do for Gambia at this material time of need, in whatever shapes, ways & means necessary…..

    It’s surely going for wire…..

  5. Solo is national hero who will forever be remembered as Gambian face for justice and democracy . Mr solo Sanderg is a breed of Gambia who will never support injustice and political oppression . we shall continue to fight what he and entire UDP party believe in , that is justice , freedom and democracy. Yaya Jammeh will never leave power in peace and I think that is even clear to those with thick and naive brain . Jammeh will be captured and face the competent courts , that day is fast approaching . Peaceful people of The Gambia deserve a government who respect fundamental human rights and rule of law .