Special tribute to the late Sarjo Barrow
Basidia M Drammeh:
I still vividly remember when almost every family member encircled a small radio in anticipation of ”Duniya beh Kibaro”, a flagship Radio Gambia program that served as a window through which the average Gambian beeped into the world.
When 3 pm clocked, silence prevailed in anticipation of Sarjo Barrow’s melodious voice that stroke like thunder. Everybody religiously lent him their ears as he went through the news with unimaginable energy and passion.
Sarjo became a household name in the Gambia and beyond. His golden voice reverberated across the width and length of the country and transcended Gambia’s boundaries at a time there was no single TV in the country. Back then, Mandinka language speakers virtually depended on the likes of Sarjo to get updated about the latest developments in the country and overseas.
I came to meet him through my cousin and mentor, Sheikh Banding Drammeh, in early 90s, when he gave Sarjo a ride after having his weekly “Muslim World” program recorded at Radio Gambia.
It was my first time to put a name to a face. When Sarjo alighted the vehicle, Sheikh Banding turned to me and asked: “Do you know the gentleman who just alighted the car?”. I replied in the negative because most people only heard his voice as a famous Radio anchor.. I felt so sad that I didn’t know it was Sarjo. I wish I could have interacted with him.
In this age of technology and proliferation of social media platforms, particularly Whatsapp, Sarjo’s voice reached thousands of people around the globe. Some of his listeners may not be that interested in the newscast per se, rather they listened to him to familiarize themselves with history and to learn Mandinka, a language he indisputably mastered. Sarjo was an erudite and eloquent broadcaster who selflessly served his nation. Sarjo Barrow is already missed but his voice will be immortally engrained in the minds of Gambians.
With Sarjo laid to rest, I ask Allah to forgive and grant him Jannah.
Late Alhagie Sarjo Barrow