By Alagie Jinkang
The eternal sleep that has come to take Mother Ralphina de Almeida is very untimely. She has gone to sleep so soon especially when she should be enjoying the demise of the most brutal dictatorship she has enormously fought against in spirit and physic.
The author, poet, feminist, activist, lecturer, counsellor and most of all, a concerned Mother, has left very positive and very interesting memories in all of us. Be it in the media, government, GPU, the Gambia College and the University. She has defensively and authoritatively left her good names in/on our political landscape forever. She has actively and passionately fought for justice and fairer representation in our patriarchal society. Her name cannot be missed by any concern Gambian. She was that strong woman –proudly and rightly so.
When the news of her journey to the land of our ancestors was openly made on social media, many people were left unprepared.
Adam Jobe, twice celebrated journalist of The Point Newspaper, “the first time I heard of word ‘plagiarism’ was from her. She was so concerned about the PRDP students’ welfare in all forms. Personally, Almeida has impacted greatly in my career –many things I do and hear today have a direct reflection to her greatness. She was a great individual. My condolences to her family and love ones.”
Adam Jobe who has made her name within a very short time after successfully graduating from the GPU School of Journalism, capping herself with the Best Innovation and Technology Award 2015 and recently named the Best Political Reporter of the year 2016. Adam consciously associates all her successes to the Mother Ralphina de Almeida.
Who really was Mother Almeida?
The most intelligent and critical Gambian woman I have had close interaction with. She was not only a complete and perfect academic but most importantly, mother Ralphina de Almeida was definitely in close connection with everything that really matters towards the empowerment of women. She consciously stood by her belief for justice –all her life. She consistently interrelated herself with life experiences of the poor and most vulnerable people –women and children. Her vocabulary was very humane and welcoming.
“I found Almeida to be a woman of great intellect and her conviction in fighting for what is right is still in all measures. She will be dearly missed. Rest in Peace,” mourned Zainab Faal, ex-student of the Gambia Press Union.
She made the voice of the suffering clear and heard through her selfless life engagements, served the nation at the helm of things that concerns the patriots. She was more than the best example of a patriot. She was a freedom fighter, a mother and an academic. We will all have pleasing adjectives for her but none can be more explicit with love and concern than that of the PRDP students of the Gambia Press Union School of Journalism.
Isatou Joof, ex-student PRDP at the GPU strongly expressed her feelings towards what she put as very “sad news”. In her own words, “I felt completely numbed by the news. She was a powerful woman. Her services to this state will forever be remembered. Rest In Peace.”
Ralphina de Almeida, pioneer director of the Women’s Bureau was supposed to be among the present think tank to sufficiently and appropriately direct the coalition government and some will say to direct the youths; women and men. She has such an in-depth expertise and professionalism to be able to singlehandedly do all what she was able to accomplish.
Her position in our society is nearly irreplaceable but someone of her calibre must have contributed to the successes of many including me. It is now left to her brave students, colleagues and Gambians in general to continue her fight for a more equal society. That will be the most appropriate way to make her happily live in us and through us and in our children. That is what I sincerely promise to keep her memory in all way possible but a personality like her, most be well kept in the national records concretely.
“This is indeed a very sad news. She was a woman of substance. She was an intellectual who has left her footprint in the lives of many particularly her students,” grieved Mary Gomez ex-student GPU, PRDP.
Rest in Peace Mother Ralphina de Almeida.