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A Tale of Two Gambians

Apr 1, 2008, 8:20 AM

Ordinarily, both Dr Momadou Tangara and Badou Jack are worlds apart: the former is a scholar while the latter is an athlete. Tangara has just been entrusted with the headship of NAOSU (National Authority System Unit), the body that oversees all European Commission-funded programmes and projects in the Gambia. By contrast, Badou Jack is a boxer who has just made history as the first Gambian ever to win an Olympic boxing qualification. But they have two things in common nonetheless. One, they are both Gambians. Two, they are high achievers who have through their outstanding accomplishments brought glory to the Gambia.

Tangara, 42, holds a doctorate degree in semiology from the University of Limoges, where he achieved the highest distinction. A polyglot, he speaks English, French and Spanish fluently. Having worked as programme officer and rapporteur of the European Commission at the Office of the Director General for Development, he is expected to be able to give a good account of himself in his new and challenging job.

We would have him know that this is a job that demands utmost integrity because it "serves as a bridge between the Gambia and her largest donor - the EC". Besides, Tangara will have to show uncommon resourcefulness, diplomacy, adroitness and wits in order to do the right thing all the time in the best interest of the Gambia. We are proud of him and wish him the best of luck in his new challenge.

Unlike Tangara who is quite known to many of us, Badou Jack burst into the national consciousness by his exploits as a first-rate boxer not too long ago. Before his discovery, Badou Jack, born to a Gambian father and a Swedish mother, had represented Sweden in the World Championship in 2007. Under the influence of the Gambia Olympic Committee, Badou Jack agreed to "change his sporting allegiance to the Gambia". To clinch the Olympic qualification, the young pugilist got the better of the South African champion Masana Manganyi, knocked Nigeria's Danuuloko Ekele sideways and then made the DR Congo's Herry Saliku Biembe to bite the dust. We are certain that Badou Jack will bring greater glory to the Gambia this summer in Beijing.

These two most recent success stories should serve as an inspiration to young Gambians that there is always a room at the top for anybody who exerts themselves - it is discipline, determination and diligence that count.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson