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Epitaph: Academic and Former State Minister Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh

Inna lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’un.
The harsh reality of death is both inevitable and inescapable. Our brother and friend, Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh, who profoundly influenced countless students and academics from all walks of life, has departed for his final abode, leaving us in shock. We find ourselves at a loss for words, with only tears to express our sorrow and hearts heavy with grief. Thus, we shall speak only what our Lord permits.
Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh succumbed to mortality and returned to his Creator, achieving, we dare say, immortality, on Saturday, 17 May 2024. His departure was both sudden and unforeseen. In recent times, I have not witnessed the extinguishing of such a bright light within our generation as I have with the passing of this distinguished gentleman.
I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, children, the entire family in Foni, the Gambian community, his friends and colleagues in Gambia, the United States, and his relatives in Gambia.If you had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh during his final month, you would undoubtedly comprehend the true meaning of irreplaceability. To mourn him is not to diminish our love but to honor his memory eternally.
I am at a loss for words. The enormity of Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh’s passing is beyond expression. Death is a constant shadow trailing every living being. It is a universal and inevitable event that claims the weak and the strong, the wealthy and the impoverished, the young and the old alike. “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his believing and his dying” (Martin Luther – not the King). Indeed, all lives must end. It is a debt we all owe. Hilaire Belloc said, “Death is something not even politicians can bribe or swindle, bully or blackmail.” Farewell, Dr. Saja Sanneh:
Dr. Edward Sanneh was an outstanding, indomitable, and irreverent scholar, a pragmatic professional, a remarkable human being, a dedicated husband and father, and a faithful and delightful friend to all who had the privilege of knowing him. He was an exceptionally decent and compassionate individual. The sharpness of his intellect, the kindness of his heart, and the selflessness of his spirit immediately impressed me. His passion for the advancement of youth was profound and contagious. I saw him as a man of wisdom and a great thinker. I learned immensely from him through our engaging and challenging discussions on various topics during online and telephone conversations while working on a draft manuscript for publication. His contributions to my intellectual curiosity and personal development will forever be treasured
Dr. Sanneh was a humble and respectful individual. He believed that a steadfast commitment to principles and humanitarian values should not compromise one’s humility. Despite the Fula and Jola joking relationship, “Kal or Sanawoyya,” I often teased him on Facebook, as I did with some of my Jola and Niuminka friends. He responded in kind, with laughter, and our banter extended into serious discussions about the Gambia we deeply cherish; he always addressed me as “Bro.” He never ended a conversation without his infectious, charming smile. Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh embodied humility, complemented by kindness and a generous spirit. He was incredibly caring, giving so much despite having so little. A true professional, a devoted academic, and a patriotic individual, his contributions to his country will be profoundly missed. A General of the People’s Army has fallen while the battle continues and victory over our people’s adversaries remains unachieved.
We have lost a gentle, flourishing soul. I admired him, loved him, and will miss his mischievous smile, the bursts of extraordinary insight in our conversations, his hearty laughter, and his zest for life. The authenticity of his humanity and his impeccable integrity and ethics were beyond reproach. The loss of Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh is a cruelty beyond imagination. Yet, it was a privilege to know him, to be his friend, and to join him on the journey of imparting knowledge to the youth. We can all be thankful that he walked among us, enriching the lives, minds, and hearts of young people, inspiring many.
Dr. Saja Sanneh, I wish I possessed the poetic grace to craft an elegy worthy of your memory to commemorate your painful departure. Words fail to capture the depth of this loss.
Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh: You were so full of life; ‘death’ seems an inadequate term. You have transitioned, transformed, and transcended. Dr. Saja Sanneh—a truly decent human being—you were gracious, soft-spoken, and open-hearted. Your faith and quiet deeds have touched many hearts. All things bright and beautiful; the Lord God made them all. ‘He gave us eyes to see them and lips that we might tell.’ Through his example of servant leadership, he inspires us to lead lives of purpose and significance. Leading with integrity, grace, and compassion, his example has influenced our faith journey. Your strength and comfort in times of joy and challenge are deeply valued. We are grateful to him for guiding the souls of the young. Dr. Edward Saja Sanneh’s dedication and love will forever be remembered, and his absence deeply felt. Let us honor the legacy of a former state minister and a champion of youth academia, and celebrate the impact he had. May these words bring encouragement and support to those who selflessly serve in public service and academia. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah al-Firdaus.

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