• Sainey Darboe, Editor-in-chief

Sheikh Bun Jeng: An immortal voice

Compiled by Sheikh Sulaiman Danjo and

Translated by Basidia M Drammeh:

The renowned Gambian preacher, Sheikh Omar Sadibou Fadera, commonly known as "Oustass Omar Bun Jeng" was born in Niomi, in the North Bank Region but originally hailed from Kiang in the Lower River Region. He was a resident of Gunjur in the West Coast Region.

Famous for his unique style of preaching and a captivating voice, Bun is a household name in The Gambia and beyond.

"Jeng" is a family name that he had acquired through his teacher in the Senegalese city of Kolakh who admired him so much that people had assumed that the young student Omar Bun was the Sheikh's own son, hence attached “Jeng” to his name. Bun was one of the closest students to the Sheikh.

Early education

Sheikh Omar Bun Jeng started his education in Kolakh in Senegal at an early age and has soon proven himself to be one of the most outstanding and distinguished students in the informal learning centre.

He spent his childhood and part of his adulthood in Senegal, where he acquired knowledge about the basics of the Islamic religion and the Arabic language.

In his twenties, Bun returned to his hometown of Niomi, where he was appointed as a teacher in one of the public schools.

Relationship with Sheikh Hattab Bojang

During his work in public schools, Bun met Sheikh Hattab Sheriff Bojang, who was then in charge of Quranic and Islamic studies in public schools.

In 1977, the Ministry of Education held a training course in cooperation with the International Federation of Islamic International Schools as well as Saudi and Sudanese universities. The training course was spearheaded by instructors from all the aforementioned bodies. Sheikh Hattab Bojang was the general supervisor of the course.

Since this training was specifically meant for Quranic teachers in public schools, Sheikh Omar Bun Jeng took this opportunity to participate in the course, during which he forged close ties with Sheikh Hattab who started to admire him for his distinction and good manners. At the end of the course, the trainees who took part were posted to various public schools throughout the Gambia. Sheikh Omar Bun Jeng was posted to Combo Gunjur on the orders of Sheikh Hattab Bojang.

To be continued....by Basidia Drammeh

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