Tribute to Malick Jeng: Bidding Farewell to the “Golden Feather”!

Inna lilah wa inna illaihi rajiun

Tribute to Malick Jeng: Bidding Farewell to the “Golden Feather”!

Malick Jeng, a renowned veteran journalist and the esteemed former Director General of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), passed away on Saturday, May 4, 2024. Malick’s steadfast dedication to freedom of expression and his relentless work as a journalist have not only left an imprint but have also sculpted and characterized our journalism community. His kindness, compassion, and steadfast support for young journalists and reporters have transformed many lives, and his legacy will continue to inspire and direct us.

May 4, 2024, will be etched in my memory as the day I was struck by devastating news. The abruptness and harshness of the announcement paralyzed me in my sleep late into the night.

Malick Jeng, a veteran journalist, was a man of free spirit whose talented pen is now broken. He shone with the strength of his ideas, the elegance of his prose, and the fluidity of his oratory. A true team player, he understood the art of collaboration and sharing. He was a vital member of our vibrant and dynamic team. The loss of Malick Jeng is beyond measure. We have lost a brother who was generous, approachable, and supportive. His bright smile, which lit up his face, reflected the purity of his heart, devoid of any hatred, malice, or bitterness. He was a fine man, a good man, embodying the severity that Maurice Merleau-Ponty spoke of, distinguishing the serious man from one who is merely self-important.

How do we speak of this man who carried professionalism like a badge of honor, acclaimed by all, especially his peers, as a master of the written word? How do we describe this man with a gleam of mischief and intelligence in his eyes, who wielded his eloquent pen as a formidable tool to root out injustices wherever they arose?

Malick Jeng was a genuine journalist and intellectual. He passed away on May 4, 2024. A luminary in Gambian broadcast and print media, particularly noted for his time as the Director General of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), he played a pivotal role in the organization’s growth and development.

Regarded as one of the most gifted and promising press officers of his generation, Malick Jeng’s chronicles and broadcasts were cherished by audiences and readers alike. They served as a bountiful source of information, rich in relevance and intellectual depth. Previously, I would sometimes meticulously preserve Malick Jeng’s writings as they were a treasure trove of knowledge for me. Reading Malick Jeng was never wearisome; we delighted in ‘tasting’ his texts, ‘relishing’ them, ‘sketching’ them out; such was the simplicity and depth of his writing, so enjoyable and exquisitely crafted. It has always been a wonder to me how he balanced the duties of writing with managing a political desk at Radio Gambia and the Statehouse.

Malick Jeng’s profound understanding of literary genres and robust journalistic training in Wales rendered him exceptionally adept at navigating concepts and figures of speech. Whether addressing the political issues of the day, engaging in significant ideological or theoretical debates, or commenting on “miscellaneous facts,” Malick Jeng’s insights were consistently profound, substantial, and illuminating.

His ability to transform a mundane, ordinary fact into a written work of aesthetic beauty is a testament to the fact that Malick Jeng was not just a brilliant and talented journalist but also a distinguished writer with an alluring and persuasive style.

Malick Jeng possessed an extraordinary talent for conceptualization. His pedagogical approach ensured that his writing was never dull to read. He had the knack for making abstract concepts understandable and accessible, a talent that made his work highly valued and comprehensible to a broad audience.

Malick Jeng was more than a mere bundle of intellectual qualities; he was a monument of writing, a model of generosity, and a man of pleasant courtesy with a profound sense of friendship, or rather, humanity. He dedicated his knowledge and vast encyclopedic culture to the service of research, becoming the driving force and the bright beacon guiding the course of journalism.

A tireless warrior, Malick Jeng battled against injustice, arbitrariness, and obscurantism throughout his life. His pen and microphone were in constant conflict with those who fostered intolerance and the spread of anti-values.

In the end, Malick directed his powerful spotlight to expose, uproot, and discard all those cloaked in political and social hypocrisy, attempting to advance their ruinous anti-democratic agendas.

Malick Jeng has indeed completed his earthly mission. He fought valiantly to his last breath. He was first honored as a genuine journalist and a prolific writer, with one of the finest dissertations in Gambian media. Even from his grave, he will joyously celebrate this honor, of which he is the deserving architect.

The legacy of Malick Jeng, along with that of other journalists, serves not only as a reminder but also as a testament to the significance of a free press and the sacrifices of those committed to informing and enlightening us. May their memories fuel the passion for truth and justice in the generations to come.

As the adage goes, “The dead live on as long as they are loved.” Those of us who knew and cherished Malick Jeng will remember him eternally. May Allah, the Almighty, grant him entry into His Eternal Paradise, and may the earth rest lightly upon him.

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