Grim reality: How Gambians ignored Musa Ngum’s desperate calls for help

Written by Alieu Khan

Musa Ngum

The sad news of Musa Ngum’s death has hit the entire Senegambia region like a lightning bolt. He died in Dakar, Senegal on Sunday morning just a few hours after performing for his fans at a famous entertainment venue in the heart of the Senegalese capital.

According to information gathered by What’s On-Gambia, he was rushed to Le Dantec Hospital in the early hours of Sunday, where he was later pronounced dead.

Musa Ngum’s tragic end was the result of a long battle with illness and also heartbreaking betrayals. His desperate calls for help were ignored by Gambians.

“I can confirm to you that letters were sent to different people asking for help to get him urgent treatment overseas, but no one answered,” said a family source.

The legendary musician was on a downhill road for a long time. Faith Cole, a Gambian nurse in England, met Musa Ngum during his London visit two months ago. She said: “He was very sick and needed urgent help.”

Since his death was announced on Sunday, social media was awash with tributes from across the country and overseas. Many described him as a legend that fought bravely and honestly for a united Senegambia.

But where were the fans when Musa needed help?

“When he was alive he was never acclaimed,” one Muhamed Darboe wrote on What’s On-Gambia Facebook page.

In January 2015, Musa Ngum organized a concert at the Jaama Hall marking his 40th anniversary in music. The event was well publicized, but only a handful of Gambians turned up.

“The turnout at his 40th anniversary in music was pretty poor, and the few that came were not even cheering him up and I think it shows how unsupportive Gambians are to their own musicians,” said Alhagie Manka who was there to photograph the event.

Musa Ngum needed help, but no one was there for him. He was left to fend for himself until the very hour that death took him away.