By Teddy Foday-Musa (Brother)
In December 2021 last year, we spent Christmas together in our village – Kandor. We were together at our famous 25th December On-the-Rock Carnival. Today, I am writing a tribute to this great man six months away from that event. I do this with a heavy heart and mixed feelings. But it is the will of God. Therefore, let me thank you all for coming today to celebrate the life of our late brother Gibril Foday-Musa (photo). The family is also grateful for all your condolences. I am giving this tribute on behalf of the entire family at home and abroad.
2.Gibril the Royal
Gibril Foday-Musa was my older brother and the eldest child born into the “MUSA RULING FAMILY”, the first colonial established ruling home in what was then the amalgamated Jaiama-Bongor chiefdom, now Bongor Chiefdom – Bo District. He attended the Great Bo School on admission number 3048 and later proceeded to Fourah Bay College but completed his studies in Ghana. Gibril and I were blood brothers but became friends as we shared a lot in common. Sometimes in our conversations, I will respond to him, “Yes, Sir”. He rebuked me jokingly, saying, “Mi nor to Kono man nor call mi Sahr” (I am not a Kono to be called Sahr). All as a way to enhance our friendship and remove formal barriers between us. We were very close. He was also very close to Saffie (our sister), Augustine and Gerald.
3. Gibril the Big Brother
Gibril was brought up as a Crown Prince, constantly reminding him of his royal responsibility as the eldest child in our family. At an early age, Gibril accepted his big-brother role and did all he could to guide, protect and cater for his younger siblings. Gibril excelled in his career as a professional journalist but always managed to remain humble. He was a brilliant news writer and worked as an editor at one of the country’s most prestigious newspapers – The Daily Mail.
During his days at Daily Mail, Augustine and I will set our weekly plan as to how we will visit him in his office, as each time we visit, he will give us money and render his elderly words of advice to us. His office became a harvest field for our financial needs. We were so confident that each time we visited his office, our pockets would be loaded, and we would leave with smiles on our faces that we gave him the name “Jesus Never Fail”. But because we didn’t want to bother him, we decided not to visit together and that we should see him one after the other in the week – thus, our weekly big brother dreg-man plan was established. Augustine gave me the privilege to do more weeks ahead of him as I was a student at FBC by then, and the issue of my weekly lunch played in my favour.
One day after a successful raid by me, I bumped into Augustine, and he asked: “when will you be visiting Jesus Never Fail?” I laughed and told him, “I am just from seeing the high priest and have received my blessings. It was so colossal that I wonder if I left anything there for you”. We laughed over it, and I returned to campus as a small millionaire student that week. That was just the kind of guy our brother Gibril was. He was generous and kind-hearted, which he extended to his friends and colleagues at his workplace.
4. Gibril with friends and colleagues
When he passed away on 12th June, my phone line was busy with numerous calls and messages from his friends and colleagues. Some of his close friends were: Rahim Kamara, Titus Boye-Thompson, Abdoul Mahdieu Savage, Kalilu Tutangay, and Dr Kabineh, to name but a few. Rahim Kamara knowing I was out of the country at the time of his death, contacted me as he wanted to know when I would be coming over for the funeral. We had a long chat as he expressed his grief and condolences. He wrote:
“I took him to the hospital and was greatly heartened by his recovery. He fought hard, but God knows best. He was a brother and friend for all of 30 years – a great human being. May his soul rest in perfect peace”.
Titus Boye-Thompson, who lives in the United Kingdom, wrote a tribute to him on the very day of his demise (12th June), titled: THE SADNESS OF DEATH: GIBRIL FODAY-MUSA BOWS OUT. Here is an excerpt of his tribute:
Death’s certainty is undisputed, but the ultimate casualty of its occurrence is the shock and sadness of its incidence, particularly when it visits the door of those we love and respect. So it has been with news of the passing of a dear friend and colleague, Gibril Foday-Musa, this Sunday, 12th June 2022. Gibril was a formidable journalist and, in his later career as PR staff at the EU Mission in Freetown, held a central role and station in strategic affairs in the polity. He was a revolutionary in approach and temperament but was never one to wear his colours on his sleeve. He is now at peace, with no more pain nor strain. I wish him the safest of passage to the one actual world. May his gentle soul rest in peace!
Abdoul Mahdieu Savage in the United Kingdom (UK) also wrote a tribute to him in the form of a poem on 14th June – two days after his passing. The poem was titled: “ADIEU GIBRIL”.
I was also contacted by Madam Barbara Bangura, who told me how shocked she was after reading my message on Facebook about his passing. She sent this message to my phone:
“Gibril Foday-Musa was a gentleman. I met him severally on electoral and post-electoral matters during my leadership of the Political Party Registration Commission. He was friendly but professional. In our interactions, I understood he was a Student Activist during his days at Fourah Bay College. My sympathy to the family, especially Janet, his daughter. May his Soul Rest in Peace”.
After I engaged with Madam Barbara, I was also contacted by Frances Fortune. Having worked with Gibril at the Talking Drum Studio, she was devastated to hear about his demise. She wrote:
“Hello, Teddy! Barbara Bangura shared your contacts with me. I wanted to send our condolences to you and the Foday-Musa family on the death of Gibril. He was a colleague at Talking Drum Studio, and I appreciated his friendship and working together. He was very social, and I learned a lot from him. May his soul rest in perfect peace”.
5. Gibril the Extrovert
This was Gibril, the extrovert. His care, warmth and love were not only felt in our family but extended to friends and colleagues. No doubt, losing such a dear brother at 62, when he could not even clock the biblical three scores and ten (70), is one of the most challenging things one can experience. As a family, we are devastated by his loss. Gibril is gone. We mourn him, but at the same time, we celebrate the bright life he lived. He was a blessing to our family, friends, colleagues, and humanity.
6. Farewell to Gibril
Commander-in-Chief, our Crowned-Prince, an elder brother who was always there for us. We bid you farewell. We will miss you. You have gone but not forgotten, as you will always have a place in our thoughts and hearts until we meet again; bye and may your soul rest in perfect peace.