Salone News

Tribute to my father: Part 1

2 March 2018 at 04:04 | 2326 views

By Felix Foday Sesay, Virginia, USA

In most cultures or societies, verbalizing "thank you" as a mark of appreciation is the norm.

In fact, it is considered rude in many cultures to just walk away without offering a thank you in recognition of somebody’s help or kindness towards you.

However, I grew up, not knowing how to say thank you to my father. According to my father, Pa Alimamy Sesay (photo), of blessed memory, accepting a thank you from his children, would run counter to his idea of moral obligation toward his children. For some bizarre reason, Papa postponed having children until he made sure he had the resources to take care of them. Our father opined that his children never asked him to bring them into this world, and it was a conscious decision to marry and have children. Therefore, accepting a thank you would negate his concept of moral duty toward his children.

One of my numerous sisters, Yabom Thaslim Sesay (former Senior Health Adviser to President, Ernest Bai Koroma), was in class six when she was catapulted to class seven to take the selective entrance examination, because of her extreme brilliance. Yabom got the best result in the selective entrance examination. At the Government Secondary School for Girls, Magburaka, Yabom got a government scholarship in form one, after coming first in an essay competition justifying why she should be awarded a government scholarship. Papa got this news of the Government scholarship but was not impressed. Every start of a semester, Papa would give Yabom her school and boarding fees. When Yabom reminded Papa of her government scholarship status, Papa said: Never mind, I am only fulfilling my moral obligation as your father. Yabom later told me that Papa considered it a moral failure for accepting help from anyone else to pay her school fees.

At the Government Secondary School for Boys, Magburaka, there was a Government Scholarship up for grabs. The announcement was made the first day of school by the class teacher. Students with Government scholarships were excluded from an academic essay competition. Double S, a very brilliant student was one of the excluded students. I was in form 301, then considered the academic frontline. The class teacher collected the essays with a promise to announce the winner the next day. As it happened, I was the winner of the essay competition. It was a vain quest; I went to Bumbuna that day to collect my form one and form two results, only to be greeted with the unpalatable news from Papa that he could afford to pay my school and boarding fees; Who would squander the allocation of a government scholarship on his son? Only my father had that ideological conviction that the responsibility of his son rested solely on his shoulders and no one else. The class teacher was stunned when I delivered the message from Papa to him.

My father made a fortune during the gold rush in the 1940s in Roncalli district. In fact, according to family historian and lawyer Alim Sesay, Papa was the first person to build a concrete two story house in Magburaka, Tonkolili district in the 1940s, at No. 6 Post Office Road ,Magburaka. The house was rented by a French Firm, called, A Janet.
I was the 17th out of 28 children when my father died during the late 1970s. His last child Tejan Sesay, here in the United States, had no recollection of Papa. On his death bed at Hill Station Hospital Papa lamented to our most senior sister, Madam Yabom Kanu that he had too many young children!

Nevertheless, my father was a man of honor.

Yabom Thaslim Sesay