After almost 40 years of voluntary public service to the nation, one of The Gambia’s legendary Broadcaster cum Social Healers, Alhagie Ebrima Bah has been crowned as “The Gambian Pride of the year” 2017 by Gambian Talents Promotion (GTP).
Alhagie Ebrima Bah, affectionately called Mamakoto, is the third legend to win GTP’s Lifetime Achievement Award as part of their on-going campaign to “Celebrate our living Legends”. The award is a token of appreciation for the voluntary, selfless public services offered by the 86-year-old man to The Gambian people.
“”It’s unfortunate that we the Gambians are not very good at celebrating our own. We often wait until people die before we recognize them. Gambian Talents take pride in celebrating our people dead or alive. Grandpa Alhagie Ebrima Bah takes real pride in sharing his vast wealth of experience and knowledge with the younger generation. Talking to the people and addressing the ills of society is what gives him joy. Thus the name of his show “Menyanta [what should be.]” Pa Ousman Joof, the Global Coordinator for GTP, tells Kairo News. “His doors are open for us and all media houses whenever he is needed. After 38 years of personal sacrifices, we see it necessary to recognize Mamakoto’s voluntary services. The award is our own token of appreciation for a man whose life is well spent on bettering our people and country. Everyone is talking about how good and useful the old man is,” adds the emotional Mr. Joof, who also anchors the Menyanta program with Alhagie Ebrima Bah Mamakoto on Gambian Talents Promotion.
The desire to award Mamakoto, according to Joof, has been in the offing for some time. “We kept it secret until the end of our last Saturday show on the Eve of The Gambia’s 53 Independence. Since Since the President of The Gambia often confers National Honors to Gambians they believe have contributed towards the development of the country, we at GTP also take pride in honoring our own legends. We made this announcement live on air and that’s when the old Pa knew about the award. We are grateful to the old man for helping us understand not only the Mandinka language and culture but also the world in general. We cannot pay him for his service and sacrifice to the nation, only Allah will.”
Mamakoto, a Native of Janjanbureh, currently lives in Vancouver, Washington State, in the United States. He spent his early childhood in McCarthy before moving to Banjul where he engaged in small scale trading, selling cola nut and eventually owning a big clothing store which was very popular in Banjul at the time. He was a living witness to the 1965 Independence celebration and other socio-political and cultural events that took place in our country in the early and mid 90s. Pa Menyanta, as he is also called was pleased, honored and humbled to accept the award. He thanked GTP, particularly Pa Ousman Joof, for “recognizing the value of my work. I have served and still continue to serve Gambians with my heart, time, energy and resources without asking for or expecting any pay but I really like it when people appreciate my work. I do what I do because I know the young people need help and I have a little I can share with them,” says Pa Mamakoto, thanking his family and friends for their unshakable support.
Alhagie Ebrima has been contributing to the Gambian media for over 3 decades. He started his radio programs in the early days of Sir Dawda Jawara’s rule. He has hosted several shows on different community radio stations including the state broadcaster GRTS. “Since I came to the US a few years ago, I have been wanting to continue what I love to do (talking to the people) but didn’t have a platform to do so until I was introduced to Gambian Talents by Imam Baba Leigh and Sariong Marong,” Alhagie Ebrima says. “I started doing my Menyanta show with Pa Ousman Joof two years ago and I have no regrets coming on board the platform.”
Kairo Radio Editor describes the “award as very timely and deserving. Most of us have been talibes of Balagie who patiently teaches us about vital lessons. He is man of unlimited wisdom. We will forever remain grateful to this Great Social Healer endowed with careful use of words. Through him, we learn about proverbs, culture and complex social matters. No award can pay Balagie but GTP has done the right thing,” says Musa Saidykhan. “Our listeners anxiously wait to listen to Menyanta with the old man. Balagie is like a library of its own. He is a Great Pillar who also succeeded in business and raising of highly achieving sons and daughters. We pray for him to attain sound health and long life.”