Tribute : Poem to late Pa Nderry Mbai

Nov 24, 2021, 12:56 PM | Article By: Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe

I can’t believe Pa you’re gone

As I write your name, every verb turned to was

Over this the snow of death chill

Once was fun, now done the thrill

My bones are crying with tears of cracks & creek

Tired of the sun and its hide & seek.

Pa Nderry Mbai,

‘Hol la di yalla fey’

May your abode be ‘Firdaus’ in Jannah

For being miraculously

A national asset.

You were the YES to all NOs

The shelter to runaway Gambians

The newspaper to the voiceless

The truth and reparation commission

The commissioner of reconciliation

The image of investigative journalism

And the true defender of nationalism.


When I heard you died,

It sounds so divine;

It runs within my nervous system;

It blocks my auditory system on hearing it to prevent other incoming words;

It energizes me purposefully;

It’s the religion I want to belong to;

My heart fastens to my soul.

I feel ecstatic,

I got so much static,

Or maybe, it’s all this plastic fear of no more Freedom Newspaper

That’s making me feel elastic.

I’ll tell you a story

Of my Pa Nderry in all his glory,

Maybe some parts will be glory,

But for that, I am not sorry.

Pa was a freedom fighter

He was the news, the broadcast,

The paper,

And the eye of Gambians in the Diaspora.

When I look at you

I see a fortress of dignity

I see the impeccability of God

I see the idyllically made saint

I see a congenial soul of journalism

I see the effect of beautification

I see the light you’ve put in humanity

I see the reason The Gambia is not Gambia

I feel a little bit not Gambian

You should not be buried in Zambia

When I look at your photographs,

I can’t take my eyes off your religious face

I can’t resist your godly smiles

I can’t seize to admire your bright teeth

I can’t get enough of your aroma

I can’t control my stammer.

When I look at you, Oh Pa Nderry!

I can’t blink, for you’re professionally eyeful

I can’t speak, for no words can describe you

I can’t feel my nerves, for your deeds are infectious

I can’t hear anything else, for it’s your voice I want to hear on Freedom Radio

It is your news I want to read on Freedom Newspaper,

And it is your presence I want to feel online.

Sobriety keeps me drunk

The illusion of life

Holds me abound

Life is a carcass of dreams

A theatre of illusion

Beneath the streets of my scream

Death as a reality lives in a world of dreams

Take a break from eternity

Forget about dexterity

Run wild within these fields

Let caution set itself loose

A stream of agony follows

Screams come in loud hollows

The ground slips beneath my feet

My wings dare to break

As my back bends in wake

But to roam I must

On this dammed Earth’s crust

Felling my toes itch

Falling to a ditch

Savior above reach

But to forgive

Heaven’s delight

Self, not to heal;

Beloved Pa Nderry:

Heart, pure as snow

Your tainted soul

Dwells in a heart of gold

May Allah forgive you, I pray

I swear to God

I only wish you feel what I felt

If only you had,

You will knee where I knelt.

Loving you is melting me,

Daily I melt;

I only mean to do what I meant.

But if prophets can die, tell me,

Why not you, Pa?