Kairaba Yeh La

Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s personality alone is infectious! He will be remembered forever for diligently serving his nation and her people with sincerity.

My mom said she will not cry over your passing DK. She is choosing to relish her fun memories of you even if you have never interacted directly with her. Such was your impact Kairaba. You see, my father was a dead NCP supporter and despite his close friendship with Sheriff Dibba, neither one of them could sway my mom to support the NCP. She told me last evening that her party leader Kairaba had passed on. I grew up in a divided household: Father was dead NCP and my mother is still clinging to the PPP. I grew up with a framed picture of Sheriff Dibba on one door and a framed picture of DK on another. My father believed in no other politician but Sheriff and my mom believed in no other politician but Kairaba. Each held on to their own and stood firm. Such was the harmony and peace your leadership encouraged.

I remember the first time I met you in Atlanta. It was while you were on tour promoting our book. Yes, I call it our book because it is written for us. Reading the book, I imagined myself as you in your formative years in Barajally, saw myself in you when you first moved to Banjul and lost myself in your brilliance and statesmanship. Your struggle for our independence from colonial rule, the betrayals you endured, the hatred you banished, the two-timers you embraced, your ups and downs all point to the fact that you were a human being just like any of us. Oh but Kairaba, you were an extraordinary human being! A patriot. A selfless servant of the people. A Gambian. A true embodiment of what it means to be a good Gambian. As dark as the night of our beloved Gambia may seem at times, you have left many stars in your wake. I hope and pray that we all rise and shine in your name for this once improbable nation to realize the dream of a better Gambia for all.

The last time I met you was at your home. Everyone took pictures with you but I was too awestruck to sit by you and take a picture. What a memento that would have been for me had I mustered the nerves. I remember you praying for us. I remember the smile that creased your face when you were teased by your wonderful and amazing wife. That smile is the last memory I have of you. The lamentations of my mother over Jawara Jamano and her own smile over her Kairaba will forever be seared in my heart. As you go on to to the ancestors, please continue to watch over us and may the meaning of your name mean something to all of humanity. You represented the best in humanity. Allah ma la jangno sonoh yalla!

Alagie Saidy Barrow
Culled from Facebook


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