An African African Library Has Fallen

The late Alagie Mbye

Citizens of the subregion, particularly Mandinka speakers, woke up Wednesday morning with the shocking news of the death of Gambian Historian and Kora legend. Many people find it hard to believe that Jali Alagie Mbye is no more. This cannot be a social media hoax, callers to Kairo News repeated.

“I am out of words about Alagie Mbye’s sudden death,” Sheriff Mamina Hydara, a close associate of the late Mbye told Kairo News. Alagie last visited Hydara in his Bundung home on Sunday. “We discussed about spicing up Alagie’s Manding Tariko on GRTS by inviting some Gambians with historical knowledge. Alagie Mbye is an exemplary griot – the one who masters his trade, understands the society and gives people their due. I am saddened that another African library has fallen,” Hydara said, praying to Allah to provide Gambians with Alagie’s replacement.

Alagie Mbye’s sudden death at Sir Edward Francis Small Hospital in Banjul has been widely mourned. One person who mourns deep is a childhood contemporary. “I have been shocked and saddened to the bone since news of Alagie’s death broke out,” Kemo Barrow, who lives in Atlanta in the United States, said. “Both of us were born, brought up and started school in Barrow Kunda in Lower River Region. In fact, we both started school the same day.”

After leaving Pakalinding Junior Secondary School, Alagie decided to study Kora in Sanjal Sarakunda in North Bank Region until he mastered the mystical instrument. The son of the late Sutaring Mbye and Aja Jabou Jagne spent significant amount of time and resources traveling far and wide in search of acquiring knowledge. His research led him to most parts of West Africa to gather facts about the Manding empire.

Jali Alagie Mbye, a fluent speaker of many languages, traveled to Norway and Sweden where he promoted and lectured traditional music in various universities as well as built kora teaching school.

Through his mastery of history and excellent moderation of GRTS crew, Alagie Mbye was able to tell the untold story of Sheriff Cheikh Mafuge, a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) to the extent that the Ahlul Bayeet (family of Muhammad) from across the world organised special day of prayers in The Gambia last month.

Alagie Mbye died in his mid-fifties without completing his mission of telling the history of the Great Manding Empire. To Allah we all came and to Him we will all go. We pray for the gentle soul of Alagie Mbye to rest in Eternal Peace.


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