This is a short eulogy to our classmate and friend – Mr. Wilfred Bola Carrol – from the Gambia High School Class of 1975.
In the September of 1970, a class of some 25 pupils were assembled in GHS Form 1T under the watchful eye of Ms. Tytler, a rather young English lady. We were some 14 boys and 11 girls, all smartly dressed, with eager, fearful eyes, but with pride in our steps.
Bola was at once remarkable for his serious demeanor, voracious appetite for learning, and a studious approach to his education. He was not one to join the “bad boys” that smoked cigarettes at Korka’s shop at Primet Street junction with Box Bar Road. He was not one to do the Aunty Alima 2 by 3, “mburu ak liba” as his lunch pack of ham and cheese was the envy of many. He hardly took part in the yearly class Easter Monday picnic at the then Bakau Community Center.
Bola was a favorite of all the teachers’ as he clearly was a well-behaved pupil. He was never sent on detention or what was then called ‘work party.’
So, you can imagine when in Form 3, Bola had his first crush on a bright well-rounded girl pupil, one class lower and whose name will remain forever secret! He promptly renamed himself Bola Manla…. And so a legend was born!
In sport, Bola was a champion table tennis player and his speed and smashes were only outmatched by his fast talking and hearty laughter. His earlier attempts at basketball were quickly abandoned after his shooting pose was roundly derided.
After High school we all moved on to different colleges, Universities and careers but stayed connected and always remained friends.
Bola’s choice of French can be attributed to the good tutorship of Mrs. Gibril whom we all fondly, if secretly, called n’est-ce pas … But we who knew him way back then, also know that Bola chose French firstly for the seduction of the language … Oui Cherie, ca va madame, allo all … Monsieur l’avocat, son excellence, c’est un grand plaisir, ah oui, titi ti tata ta …
French for Bola also represented his taste for the finer things in life – a well pressed suit, a cigar after brandy, a coupe of the bubbly Champagne and a glass of Bordeaux wine.
Ah yes, there was one and only one Bola Manla!
Bola went on to become a learned senior counsel in The Gambia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom to name but a few countries. Those of you here who were lucky not to have been sued by our Dr. Henry Carrol should be thankful there was the Bola to calm things down!
We are proud of Bola, his achievements, his personality and his demeanor, and blessed to have been his friend all these years, starting from when we were small boys and girls.
To his colleagues at both the Bar and Bench, we offer our sincere condolences and hope that his short sojourn on this earth has been an inspiration to some of you;
To his immediate and extended family, we say ‘unu oosh’ for the double loss. A great man has passed. To his many friends here in The Gambia, Sierra Leone and beyond, we share your loss.
May his soul rest in peace.