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Sunday, September 20, 2020

The launch of the biography of Rev JC Faye

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The book will be launched on Friday, 12 December at 17:30 pm at the Relax Sahel Beach Resort at Cape Point in Bakau. 

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This book, as far as we know, is the first of an effort to garner and screen information, all compiled in one volume in a detailed and comprehensive narrative of the life and times of that Anglican priest who served the Anglican Communion and the Gambian people as a distinguished schoolmaster, a religious leader, a diplomat and a politician. 

This publication comes in the wake of a spate of publication of other books by other authors. 

However, the biography of the Reverend JC Faye is different. This is authored by a biographer motivated solely and wholly by the intellectual pursuit of his trade, in which he has a long track of record.

The priest, himself a scholar par excellence could have written with his own hand his life and times but shied away from doing so, perhaps believing and rightly, that someone someday will highlight his work and worth. 

The book to be launched by this forthcoming gathering, is a realisation of that belief.  

This book, as far as I am concerned, is apparently a fitting response to the oft-repeated and frequently heard comments – and this is true – that very little efforts had in the past been made (by independent writers) to put on record the experiences of The Gambia’s political leaders, who according to Senghor, had in various ways contributed to the emancipation of The Gambia.

This is the second biography authored and published in The Gambia. The first as far as I am aware, is The Life and Times of Edward Francis Small by the erudite Nana Grey Johnson.  

The biography of the life and times of Reverend JC Faye will be launched on Friday 12 December by the author of the book. 

He is Dr Jeggan C Senghor, a Gambian, born and bred in Bathurst, now Banjul, young in the heydays of Reverend JC Faye. Nonetheless, he has taken the task of writing about the life and times of that gentleman with no self-serving motive. 

Dr Jeggan is a political scientist and he has several other feathers in his cap. A brief account of his achievements, includes being senior research fellow, Institute of Commonweath Studies, University of London, and is a senior researcher at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.

He is also known as the most senior in age (a koto) to present-day high intellectual celebrities. These include, Professor Sulayman Nyang, Professor LO Sanneh, Nana Grey-Johnson, Fafa Edrissa M’Bai (King of Literature), Dr Seedy Drammeh of GRA, Dr Pierre Gomez of University of The Gambia, Halifa Sallah and Sherif Bojang of The Standard newspaper, as well as several others not known. 

The long list of intellectuals succeeds a generation of scholars. These include distinguished educationists, such as Mr MD Sallah, (having celebrated his 103 birthday anniversary recently), Mr SHM Jones, and Mr Gabriel Roberts. In other areas, distinguished figures include Mr Valentine, Sir Dawda Jawara, Dr Ibrahima Malick Samba, a medical surgeon, Dr Lamin Mbye of Abdou Wally Mbye, Dr Lamin Marenah, Dr Ayo Langley, Dr Florence Mahoney, et cetera. The list is too long to exhaust here. These and others not named here were taken away by our colonial masters to drink in the River of Knowledge in Great Britain and returned home to help in the development of their country. The only one not able to perform that task was that star scholar, the late EO Njie, an educationist. Before completing his studies, he died prematurely. May his soul rest in peace. 

The information relating to the book launch is contained in two pamphlets delivered to me by a gentleman who walked into my castle. He was Mr Francis Jones of Uncle Billy Jones of Allen and Oxford Streets in the Soldier Town area of Banjul. I say thanks to Francis. 

In one of the pamphlets, I read that an organising committee had been put in place, consisting of Georgie Thomas, Dr Burang Goree Ndiaye, Mr Alex Faye, Theophilus George, Mr John Charles Njie, Mr Francis Njie, Mrs Adele Faye-Njie and Mrs Michelle Jarra. They are responsible for programming all the activities scheduled for the occasion of the book launch. 

In the conclusion of the review of his own book, Dr Jeggan decries the failure of society “to put on record the experiences of former politicians not only as a process of knowledge generation and transfer but also as a source of inspiration for those aspiring for leadership”. 

He chronicles the highlights of Rev Faye’s political career, which was not without missteps.  

As he put it: “As happens in politics, a series of miscalculations eventually led to the end of an outstanding political career.”

This conclusion, in my view, having had my own experience and seen the life of others of my time, is a true reflection and recording of the sort of miscalculations that can happen to any public figure. 

This is a wakeup call to all and sundry, whether a politician in the driving seat or otherwise. The day of reckoning must come at some time, some point. It is common knowledge that there’s no permanence in human glory. It is a pendulum.  

As sometimes, at the height of one’s career, there is a tendency to miscalculate. 

In The Gambia here, we have seen very interesting incidents of politicians, at the time least expected and their beds not well prepared, crashing. 

The beds of these politicians vary in their structure. Some are made of rocks, some nails, some fire, and some others soft mattresses. 

This brings to mind what Mark Anthony said in the death of Julius Caesar: “But yesterday the word of Caesar might have stood against the world. Now lies he there, and none so poor to do him reverence.” 

As said earlier on, we hope that this book will be a wake-up kick to all. 

I hope we will all be at the book launch on Friday at the Relax Sahel Resort.  

 

Alhaji Ba Tarawale is a doyen of Gambian journalism.

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