Dida Halake

(JollofNews) – Two and a half years ago, I read this piece by my fellow KairoNews contributor and saved it. I thought then, and I still think now, it is one of the most brilliant pieces on Deyda Hydara I have ever read (apologies may be due to the honourable author of the book whose cover I use here since I have not read the book yet). As I say it is a brilliant piece from Foday Samateh and I would like to share it with those who may have missed it first time round.

My knowledge of Deyda while he was alive was very brief, but I too made the same journey as Foday into that corner office: I was leading a group from UK to build a library for Kotu Senior School and I wanted Deyda to cover the story. He sent a reporter and edited the story himself. Some three weeks later we took our leave and promised to see him again when we returned to complete the library job in a month’s time. We arrived back on the 17th of December 2004 only to learn that Deyda had been shot dead the previous day. It was a miserable trip for the whole group, but with typical British tight upper lips we completed the job inspite of a most miserable Christmas and left.

Of Deyda the man himself I have nothing to add to what Foday has written so brilliantly. Foday and I seem to have been in close proximity to each other in those days. He in Bakoteh, me in Kotu, he walking into the Daily Observer to “fight” with the insollent English writer Harmattan; me walking into the Daily Observer to “fight” with the insolent English writer Harmattan (and going to the Englishman’s Kotu restaurant to arm-wrestle with him); we were both followed into the Daily Observer by Madi Jobarteh who also came to “fight” Harmattan! Foday would then walk into Timbooktoo to collect his book to review for The Point, and I would walk into Timbooktoo to collect my book to review for the Daily Observer!

And yet, Alas, Brother Foday and I never met. But they say as long as there is life, there is hope and I leave you, dear reader, with Brother Foday’s brilliant “Requiem For Deyda Hydara”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.