It was tears, grief and sorrow in New Jersey yesterday Sunday March 3, 2013 as a whole community of Sierra Leoneans laid to rest one of the icons of their society — A man on whose behalf funeral orators exhausted the platitudes in the dictionary in their attempt to accurately describe the tremendous loss of one of the driving forces of the community . They eulogized a powerhouse who has left a void that they all agreed will never be filled. Yesterday, as the weather turned overcast and a crisp, cold wind blew over the Garden State, one of the most deeply mourned deceased Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey was given a funeral befitting the marvelous , selfless, supportive , giving, humble , warm-hearted , progressive gentleman he was.
SEKOU DAUDA BANGURA, the teacher, journalist , community mover and politician was accompanied by a long convoy of vehicles to his final resting place at the Makbarat As-Salaam Cemetery on Route 33/Conover Road in Marlboro Township after a jampacked and tearful funeral service at the Andersen Funeral Home in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mr.Bangura , who was Secretary General of the All People’s Congress (APC ) New Jersey Chapter and the the Sierra Leone-America National Organization ( SLANO ), as well as being a distinguished member of Sarbeh, the Sierra Leone Community of New Jersey, Albert Academy Old Boys Association and the Port Loko Descendants Association, died at the Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey on Thursday February 28, 2013 , after a brief illness.
JANAZA PRAYERS BEFORE THE LONG DRIVE TO THE FUNERAL
It was perhaps the most shocking death in the Sierra Leone Community in New Jersey in recent times , given the fact that Mr.Bangura was in very bouyant health, very fit and well trimmed before he took a flu shot that led to complications and his ultimate sudden demise. As the news of his death spread that Thursday afternoon, many people screamed loudly in shock and disbelief as Bangura had been previously seen in recent weeks in the community looking very hale and hearty. The sudden nature of his death which demonstrated the frailty and fragility of life was the topic of discussion for the past days and the theme of the funeral sermon delivered by Alhaji Savage.
DAUDA’S SORROWING WIDOW, KHADI
The Government of Sierra Leone was represented by Minister Plenipotentiary to the UN, Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu , the Head of Chancery of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN, Mr. Alhusine Sesay and the Financial Attache, Mr. Vahfombah Barwoh . The APC -NA Branch was fully represented by chapter presidents and members who travelled from the different states .Among them were the Vice-Chairman Mr. Sallieu H. Conteh of Boston, Former Chairman Mr. Osman Conteh from Washington DC; Alhaji Ibrahim Sei of Texas; Fund-raising Director Mr. Mohamed Lamin Fofanah and Madam Abie Bangalie Mansaray also from Washington DC, Dr. Bankole Gibson from Campden; Mr. Kebbie Turay and Kabbah Kamara of Philadelphia, Mr. Osman Sesay and others to be named in coming articles . The President , Mr. Allie Badara Kamara , along with other officials Secretary General Mr. Alimamy Turay, Mr. Suliman Kargbo , Mr. Pavi Jalloh, Madams Madina Rahman, Bomposseh Kosay, Khadijatu Jalloh, etc. etc represented the APC -New Jersey Chapter.Dr.Abdul Rahman Kamara, a distinguished member of the APC-NJ , who has been playing a lead supportive and consoling role to the bereaved family , moderated the funeral ceremony and the Repass at the East Franklin Firehouse in Somerset.
The officiating clergy at the muslim funeral was Alhaji Abdulai Savage, the Chief Imam of the Jamatul Haq Mosque of Somerset, New Jersey ,assisted by Sheikh Balla Barrie, who acted a Chairman and Alhaji Aliru Bakarr. Also taking part in the ceremony was the Chief Imam of Dawatul Islamia of Somerset, New Jersey, Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh.
SHEIKH BALLAH AND IMAM SAVAGE
The congregation created a mournful atmosphere from the word go as they recited sorrowful islamic funeral dirges as they waited for the program to start. With the air charged with grief and sorrow, you could hear the sniffles , sobs and expressions of agony from the congregation. It was a day of lamentation as the coffin , draped in a red-lined green islamic shroud stood in the corner by the side of the clergy. In it lay the body of one of the most promising Sierra Leoneans , whose sun had set while it was yet day.
It did not take long before the funeral hall became so crowded with mourners that the throng stretched to the outside of the building. There were more people standing than seated.
Speakers at the funeral service included Dauda’s brothers Messrs Abdul Alie Bangura and Sullay Sesay , his sons Sheikh and Jamil and Jemillah ( Twins ) ; Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara, a member of the family Mr. Sullay Tunis and University English professor, Dr. Sheikh Umarr Kamarah , whose condolence was replete with impressive and instructive images and symbols of the futility of human life. All of them recalled Dauda Bangura ‘s cool, composed and friendly demeanor. His brothers described him as the sibling that never complained Mr. Bangura said that Dauda gave everything he had and said not a word about it. He also described Dauda as a good father who taught his kids to be civil , focussed and progressive.
Dr. Rahman Kamara described Dauda as very special and the one who had the cooling influence on everyone.” He was the bridge who had a formula to work with everybody. Dauda had the academic achievements to intoxicate everybody but he was one of the most modest in the community “. As for Dr. Umarr Kamara, Dauda was everybody’s ideal brother, friend , father and husband. “He would draw out the best in a friend and suppress the worst. ” He described Dauda as a man of the highest integrity and he praised Dauda’s ability to embrace everybody, irrespective of tribe, region or political party. Mr. Tunis lamented that society has lost an icon . “The Dauda we all know is dead. A big void has been created. He did no wrong. The only wrong he did was he answered his Master’s call “. His children marvelled everybody with their oratory which was much philosophical as their late father’s and everybody said that Dauda had passed on his power of oratory to his kids. Little Sheikh said his father had wisdom which he used for the benefit of others. His father was quiet and believed that action speaks louder than words. He called on all to put away their differences and help to unify the community as his father did. He asked people not to cry but celebrate his father’s death because there was hope.
In his funeral sermon, Imam Savage called on his congregation to put service to God over all other priorities and preoccupations in life. He said that most of the things that people preoccupied themselves with in life were very useless and do not have any eternal value. He warned the congregation that death will come to them as surprisingly as it came to Dauda. He advised them to understand the reality of their existence on this earth which should be to serve God . He described Dauda as an intelligent, unassuming and respectful person and said that by his death a big gap has been created in the society. He noted that the doctors did their best to save Dauda’s life but failed . “We do not have answers for this. We leave everything to God.” He warned his congregation that everything they do is a step towards Heaven or a step away from it to Jahannma.
THE MOURNFUL COMMITTAL INTO THE LAST RESTING PLACE
At the graveside, Sheikh Ballah read the koranic recitals while the final prayer of committal to the grave was rendered by Imam Savage. As the earth was shovelled into the grave where the coffin had been lowered , there were lots of tears from mourners. They stood rapt and paralyzed as a tractor did the rest, filling up the grave with dirt while the muslims mournfully sang a dirge interpreted to mean: “Dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return ” . The mourners left the cemetery still in denial that it was Sekou Dauda Bangura that had just been buried , never to be seen again. WHAT A LOSS ! !
During the Repass, various groups and organizations, including the APC , made presentations to the family. WE WILL BRING YOU MORE DETAILS.
May Mr. Sheku Dauda Bangura’s soul rest in peace.
A RELATIVE WEEPS BITTERLY AT THE CEMETERY
APC -NJ PRESENTATION BEING MADE TO THE FAMILY BY ALHAJI ALLIE BADARA KAMARA
DR. ABDUL RAHMAN KAMARA THANKS EVERYBODY AT THE REPASS ON BEHALF OF THE FAMILY : THE SORROWING WIDOW, MRS. KHADI BANGURA IS SECOND FROM LEFT . NEXT TO HER IS SHEIKH , SON OF THE LATE MAN
A FULL PICTORIAL DISPLAY OF THE FUNERAL IS COMING UP SOON, SO IF YOU DID NOT SEE YOUR PHOTO BE PATIENT WITH ME.