By Lamin Cham
Whether you had liked Kebba Yoro Manneh or not, (and any did love him) – you could not ignore him. Such was his charisma that his presence could be felt everywhere. Born in the then CRD Kebba remembered growing up in Janjanbureh in the 1950s, when he was among the most brilliant scholars of his time at Armitage High School. He was always a public speaker, teacher, youth leader and a passionate politician though he did not score much success at the polls.
He taught for many years after graduating from the then Yundum College and represented his region and indeed the rural Gambia at many youth and sport forums.
In 1988 he won a fellowship to study youth administration and leadership course in Zambia. Upon his return he was elected secretary general of the Gambia Football Association, GFA, the frist rural Gambian to hold such a position where he stayed until 1993 when the body was dissolved by former sports minister and late Buba Baldeh.
Kebba Yoro never forgave anyone for that decision which he said in many ways continues to bedevil Gambian football until today.
“Since that sad day in Gambian football there has never been peace let alone development. It has always been ostracizisation and or tantalization which will never bring us any good,” he famously commented to me on numerous occasions.
KYM as he was affectionately called, also believed that there could be no head way if rural Gambia is not involved in Gambian football. I pride myself for standing for the rural people in all walks of life and I will continue fighting for that until I die,” he once told me.
“Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to other, let his wing break”, KYM would tell me quoting from his favourite book Things Fall Apart of Chinua Achebe.
When he felt provoked by his critics, he would return to this famous book for another proverb” “Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble”, meaning those who got what they got in a silver platter should not be proud.
KYM was a source of knowledge, whose kindness and humour knew no boundaries. He died on Thursday and by his own wish was taken to his native Janjangbureh for burial. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.