Monday, December 29, 2008
His Excellency, Professor Dr Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, on Sunday, December 20th, received renowned reggae singer, Sizzla Kalonji, and his delegation at the Gambian leader’s Juramba Farm in Kanilai.
The meeting between the two icons rekindled a hope of understanding between Africans and Africans in the Diaspora. President Jammeh and Sizzla Kalonji spent the day harvesting rice on a multi-acre rice field, where they discussed several development-oriented issues such as repatriation, reparations, education and agriculture.
The landmark meeting also served as a replica of the scene when the reggae musician first touched on Gambian soil earlier in the month. There was rapturous singing and dancing from a crowd of admirers.
Kalonji used the opportunity to make a commitment to be a musical ambassador for The Gambia as well as to serve as a bridge between The Gambia and the Diaspora. He also proclaimed his desire to become an honorary citizen of the Gambia. One of Sizzla’s goals for the Gambia is to assist the music industry, something he intends to fulfill by establishing a studio for the youth, helping schools, building more hospitals, and assisting in different areas of The Gambia’s development endeavors. He also requested that President Jammeh open a Gambian embassy in Jamaica.
According to information received from other sources, Sizzla Kalonji was also invited by the SoS for Information and Communication, Honorable Fatim Badjie, as her chief guest at her wedding, alongside the vice president of The Gambia, Her Excellency, Isatou Njie-Saidy. The chief of defense staff of The Gambian Armed Forces, Major General Lang Tombong Tamba, also had an official meeting with Sizzla and his delegation, where General Tamba presented Kalonji with an award for his work.
As part of his exploration of The Gambia’s development infrastructure, the renowned reggae maestro also met with the chief medical director of the country’s main referral health facility, the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital, Dr. Tamsir Mbowe.
Kalonji had earlier on visited Bakau Primary School, where the children went wild on seeing him, excited to see the reggae phenomenon in their midst. All these happened as the country prepared to see Sizzla’s first performance in Africa on December 25th and 29th, at the Independence Stadium and December 27th at the Brikama Mini-Stadium.