By Dauda Bangura :
Dominic Anderson Bangura, fondly known as Malaika, who passed away on July 11, 2010, was finally laid to rest last Saturday, September 4, 2010, at the Holy Cross Cemetery, 140 Ridge Road, North Arlington, New Jersey, after a well-attended funeral service at the Greenville Funeral Home, Jersey City, New Jersey.
The service was attended by former school mates, close friends and associates. Aside from close friends and relatives from Kambia and Makeni who attended the service, there were Sierra Leoneans from New York, Virginia and New Jersey – who even though they never knew the late Dominic Bangura – felt obligated to pay their last respects to a fellow Sierra Leonean.
At exactly 10:00 am the service commenced with an opening prayer by Mrs. Princess During. This was immediately followed by the hymn – In the sweet by and by. Lydia During, granddaughter of the late Dominic Bangura, did the scripture reading – Luke 18:18.
In his message to those who gathered to bid farewell to a brother, friend, father and grandfather, Pastor Emanuel Kamara spoke about what happens after the passing away of a loved one. “While the body is buried, the spirit goes back to God; and the soul goes either to hell or heaven (depending on one’s work on earth).” The young pastor exhorted all those gathered to do what is right in the eyes of God; to follow the path of righteousness in order to have a place in heaven.
After the closing prayer by Pastor Emanuel Kamara, Mrs. Annie During, daughter of the late Dominic Bangura, gave the vote of thanks. She offered her profound thanks and appreciation to all those who traveled from far and near to attend the funeral service. She singled out the following for their tremendous show of support: Mrs. Princess During, her mother-in-law. who did not only offer words of comfort at her moment of grief but also coordinated the funeral program; Alhaji Tofro Nabe of Staten Island, Mr. Brimah Kamara of Trenton, Mr. Joseph Kamara of Westchester, Mr. Emmanuel Mfon, a Ghanaian, and Mr. Saidu Kargbo, president of USLA, Staten Island, NY. She expressed her incalculable thanks and appreciation to all those, who even though could not make it at the funeral service, contributed financially toward the funeral arrangement and burial of her father.
The late Dominic Bangura was found dead at his Hoboken home in New Jersey by police officers. He is believed to have died of a heart attack. With no immediate relatives around at the time of his death, the police officers contacted Mr. Saidu Bai Taylor-Kamara of Jersey City whose telephone number appeared many times on the cell phone of the late Dominic Bangura.
According to Mr. Taylor-Kamara, Bangura was about to be buried by the authorities, but he pleaded for the body to be turned over to him so that his friend of many years will be given a more befitting burial. With no immediate relatives around to handle the funeral arrangements, Saidu Taylor-Kamara immediately went public, informing Sierra Leoneans in the United States about the death of a fellow Sierra Leonean. He also appealed for financial contributions in order to meet the financial obligations associated with burying someone in the US. Sierra Leoneans from all across the US responded positively toward the appeal made. The numerous contributions from individuals and organizations made it possible for the burial last Saturday, September 4, 2010.
At the North Arlington Restaurant, where friends, relatives and sympathizers converged immediately after the burial, glowing tributes were paid to the late Dominic Anderson Bangura. Alhaji Tofro Nabe described the late Dominic Bangura as a perfect gentleman.“He was my senior at Saint Francis Secondary School, Makeni, where he was not only a very gifted student, but very kind, loving and caring.” He was so kind-hearted that, he earned the name “Malaika” (Angel), according to Alhaji Nabe. Alhaji Nabe offered a Muslim prayer for the late Anderson Bangura. He asked Allah to forgive him for his mistakes and to reward him abundantly for all his good deeds.
Unisa Bangura, a cousin of the late Dominic Bangura, recalled growing up with him in Kambia. “He regarded me as his younger brother, and he was very kind and helpful to me. Even when I came to the US, he will call once in a while to check on me.”Mr. Val Manley, a very close friend of the late Dominic Bangura, reflected on the time they stayed together in the same apartment complex in New York. He described the late Dominic Bangura as ‘a dear friend who will go out of his way to help a friend in need.”Mr. Saidu Taylor-Kamara, among other things said “Our friendship started when I was just fifteen, when I use to spend the holidays in Kambia. He described the late Dominic Bangura as “a bosom friend, who was selfless, modest, unassuming, but very smart.” Even though he kept a very low profile over the years “he has constantly kept in touch and confided in me,” Mr. Taylor-Kamara revealed.
Joined by Mr. Sekou Dauda Bangura and Mr. Ismail Taylor-Kamara, Mr. Foday Mansaray, a mortgage banker and businessman in Somerset, New Jersey, made a presentation on behalf of Jamatul Haq of Franklin Township, New Jersey. Aside from conveying condolences from the Chief Imam and members of Jamatul Haq, Mr. Mansaray urged all present to be steadfast in the path of righteousness, and he appealed for unity among Sierra Leoneans. “It is only by working together and helping one another that we can build a strong community,” Mr. Mansaray pointed out. Mr. Mansaray’s message was buttressed by both Mr. Sekou Dauda Bangura and Mr. Ismail Taylor-Kamara.Quoting from the Poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Grey, Bangura drove home the message that death is inevitable. “The passing away of our brother and friend is a painful reminder of our own mortality.”
Mr. Ismail Taylor-Kamara offered words of comfort to the bereaved family and prayed for the departed brother before presenting an envelope to Mr. Saidu Taylor Kamara. Mrs. Princess During gave the final vote of thanks. She expressed immense thanks and deep appreciation on behalf of the family of the late Dominic Bangura for the tremendous outpouring of support by Sierra Leoneans.
Born in 1949, the late Dominic Anderson Bangura attended the Roman Catholic Elementary School, Makeni, where the Reverend Father at the time developed a great liking for him because of his good behavior and strong religious conviction. He went on to attend Kolenten Secondary School, Kambia after passing the common entrance examination. After spending two years at Kolenten, he proceeded to Saint Francis Secondary School, Makeni, where he attended from form three to form five. Upon completing his secondary school education, he he resided for years until he was called by God on July 11, 2010.