Baboucarr Gaye, one of the titans of the Gambian media, yesterday passed away at the Medical Research Council following a brief illness.56-year-old Mr Gaye, who succumbed to heart attack, was a determined, courageous and honest journalist who had contributed enormously towards the growth of the media in the country. His untimely death has sent shock waves through many in The Gambia and beyond. Shortly after news of his death was announced, thousands of mourners including the press fraternity streamed to his residence in Kanifing.
Married and blessed with five children, the late Baboucarr Gaye will be laid to rest at 5pm at the Old Jeshwang Cemetery.
As a way of paying tribute to the legendary Gambian media mogul, The Point’s Alhagie Mbye spoke to a number of Gambians who had worked with him, lived with him and known him at personal level.
Pap Saine, Managing Director, The Point
The death of Baboucarr Gaye is a big loss to the nation. Baboucarr was not only a friend, a colleague but he was also my in-law. In 1983, myself, Baboucarr Gaye and Deyda Hydara established a weekly paper called the Senegambia Sun which was funded by the Senegalese Daily Le Soliel between 1983 and 85 when the paper closed because of financial constraint. On December 16, 1991 again, myself, Baboucarr Gaye and the late Deyda Hydara established a newspaper, The Point because that time there was no taboild paper in the country. So we felt the need to launch such a medium but in April 1992, he resigned, and I and Hydara continued to run the paper.
Baboucarr has contributed enormously in the media sector. He had worked for Radio Gambia for several years up to top management level. He also created his own newspaper, The New Citizen and his own radio station, Citizen FM from 1995 to 1997. From 1997 to 2000 the paper and the radio were closed but reopened in 2000 following a court order. However the radio and the paper were finally closed in 2001 by the authorities.
Baboucarr was also a BBC stringer for several years during the dispensation of the first republic. He was committed and dedicated to the field of journalism.
Charles Sarr Thomas, Writer and Friend
Baboucarr Gaye was a native of Kaur (Dandimayo), Central River Region where his father, Alhaji Gaye, was the Alkalo in the 1950s. While his father became renowned in provincial administration, Baboucarr made his mark as a journalist in the capital city, Banjul, where he graduated from one of the most prominent high schools, Methodist Boys High School, which was later converted in 1959 to Gambia High School.
After his schooling, he remained in Banjul and excelled as a journalist and radio director. Following a good stint with the national radio (Radio Gambia), he started a bustling newspaper ‘SENEGAMBIA SUN’ to which I regularly contributed, in partnership with the late Deyda Hydara and current Managing Director of The Point, Pap Saine. That paper was superseded by The Point Newspaper under the same partnership. Baboucarr subsequently shifted gear to radio and became sole proprietor of Citizen FM Radio. He will be best remembered in his news hour radio programme, in which his radio gave a translated edition of the day’s news and newspapers into wollof and Mandinka. His brand of journalism could be characterized as most engaging, provocative, and mind-rousing, and he never lost his sense of humour and candour in the process. A passionate and tenacious advocate and fighter for the fundamental freedoms.
Aji Lena Jobe- Sallah, a Former Colleague
The death of Baboucarr Gaye is very sad. He was a man who was kind to his wife, his children, his family and his friends. I have worked with him at Radio Gambia for 12 years. He was very polite, hard working, diligent. He was like a father and friend to everyone.
Amie Joof –Cole, veteran Journalist
I feel very sad that we have lost a hero, a champion, a fighter for freedom of expression and human rights. He gave all his life to the media. He was honest, committed, dedicated, truthful and fearless when it comes to his work in the freedom of expression. We have all seen his contribution and professionalism when he established the Citizen Newspaper and radio and did his work without fear or favour. He was one of the media gurus in The Gambia. He is gone but his deeds will remain with us. We will continue to defend the rights of journalists; the rights of freedom of expression should be respected and upheld.
Mam Baboucarr Gaye, Mr Gaye’s third Son
I feel very sad that I have lost a father who was a great family gentleman. He has supported us well, with much love and affection. He only spoke the truth. May his soul rest in perfect peace!
Madi Ceesay, President GPU
Well, his demise is a sad and great loss to the entire journalism fraternity. Baboucarr has really done much in the development of journalism both in the electronic and print media. However he will be best remembered in radio journalism. His radio was a good radio. He has indeed left a big vacuum. He will always be remembered in this country.
Sam Sarr, Co-Editor Foroyaa Newspaper
It is a sad loss. Babourcar has been some one who was very principled, given the fact that he had served both in the first and second republic. The most significant development in his profession is the establishment of The Citizen newspaper and Citizen FM radio. Another significant programme he launched was the broadcasting of newspaper stories in the local languages. At least the people were becoming aware of what was happening…Unfortunately that was short- lived because the radio was closed down.
Swaebou Conateh, Publisher News & Report Magazi ne
It is a great loss for the Gambian journalism fraternity and the Gambian population as well. He was a good citizen who had served his country throughout his life. He has served this country as a public servant and when he retired he went to establish his own newspaper, followed by the establishment of Citizen FM radio, which is a legend in the history of the country. He had contributed to good governance and welfare of Gambians. I am very sad as I’m speaking to you. Today is a sad day for the country. I extend my condolence to his wife and his uncle, Mr Wadda.
Femi Peters, Politician and Defender of Press Freedom
The death of Baboucarr Gaye came as a surprise and surprisingly also it came as a shock. Baboucarr was one of Gambia’s finest radio journalists. He was a good editor and reported accurately and fearlessly. And we hope and pray that upcoming journalists will emulate his example. Baboucarr will always be remembered by the old, the young and the interested readership.