Sierra Leonean Academic Giant Dies

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Written by Alhaji MB Jalloh -(Former Press Attaché to Saudi Arabia and the Golf State) 

Sierra Leonean Professor, Alhaji Dr. Hamid Charm has passed away at the 34 Military Hospital in the West End of Freetown, family sources confirmed. In a short tribute, a family member, Mr. Nabie Musa Turay, formerly of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah says Dr. Charm “was a towering academic giant, philanthropist, distinguished Kolenten product and patriarch.”

I was introduced to the late man by Sierra Leone’s former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and founder of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) party, Alhaji Amadu Jalloh. The introduction took place on a 3 – way telephone line in early 2007. I was in New Jersey, Ambassador Jalloh was and still in Virginia and Dr. Charm (now late) was in Rochester, New York.

In his tribute to his late friend, Ambassador Jalloh wrote: “As I am writing, tears are streaming down my face. Charm, as I always called him, is the best friend I have ever had.”

Dr. Charm and Ambassador Jalloh were like brothers from the same parents. When Dr. Charm wrote his book, “It took a broken leg to go to school”, Ambassador Jalloh suggested to him for me to lead the publicity team of his book – an idea he welcomed. He wasted no time to call me and discussed on how we should go about it. And I also wasted no time to go into action. After a few weeks, he got back to Amb. Jalloh and reported to him that his book had got the publicity he wanted.

In 2009, I told him I was going to Freetown on a short vacation; he mailed me some copies of his book for distribution in Sierra Leone. One copy was an autographed copy for former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the other was for the then Minister of Education, Dr. Minkailu Bah, one for the former Minister of Information (his college mate and friend at Njala University) in the 60’s., Hon. I. B. Kargbo and the other copies for some media houses. Alhamdulillah, they were distributed accordingly.

The late man wanted me to visit him at Rochester since we became friends, but it was not destined. He also wanted me to visit him at his Juba Residence in Freetown after his retirement from the University system in the US, but it didn’t happen as well. He was a very good man to me but I never met him up to his passing last Monday. He trusted me so much that he confided in me a lot as if we had been together for many years.

Since we established our strong brotherly and friendly ties about thirteen years ago, he was never
incommunicado with me. Even during my years of stay in Saudi Arabia as Press Attaché, after I left the US, he would often call and email me to ensure that I was doing alright. He was indeed exceptionally a true brother and an intimate friend to me.

I still remember at one point, he told me on the phone that, “Jalloh, I am really tired of living abroad. I want to go back home and contribute to the national development of my country. Sierra Leone gave me so much and I think I have to give back to Sierra Leone. I prefer to die back home instead of outside home.” And now Allah has done for him what he was praying and wishing for.

On behalf of my humble self and my family, I am taking this opportunity to sincerely extend my deepest sympathy and most profound condolences to the family and friends of the late Dr. Charm for the immense and irreparable loss of such an exceptionally patriotic citizen.

I beseech Allah, the Highest to condone his sins and make paradise his eternal abode. May Allah protect his family from all evils, guide them to the right path, continue to provide their livelihood, and enable them realize the dreams and aspirations of their late father and husband had for them.

About Dr Charm

Dr. Alhaji Hamid Charm was born in 1945 in Kambia Town, Northern Sierra Leone. After completing his Elementary and Secondary education in Kambia, he gained admission to Njala University College, a constituent college of the University of Sierra Leone in 1967.

Upon graduating in 1971, Dr. Charm took a teaching appointment at his Alma Mater, Kolenten Secondary School Kambia where he taught Geography, English Language, Literature in English, and also formed the school’s first drama group, the Kolenten Drama Group that staged his popularly acclaimed play, Dance of the Witches, a social satire.

In 1974, Dr. Charm left Kolenten and took up appointment as Principal of the National Commercial Secondary School in Magburaka. In January 1980, Dr. Charm proceeded to the United States of America under the African Graduate Fellowship Program, AFGRAD to do the Master of Science degree in Education at the University of Rochester in New York. For the love he had for his country and the desire for others to benefit from what he acquired in the US, he returned upon completing his program in June 1981 and took up appointment in the Ministry of Education in Freetown as a guidance and counseling officer.

While at the Ministry, Dr. Charm was seconded to the Milton Margai Teachers College, Goderich for two years as Senior Assistant Registrar. He reverted to his position at the Ministry of Education and was promoted Inspector of Secondary Schools in 1987.

But with the penchant he has for bagging more qualifications, the erudite Dr. Charm returned to the US and added to his academic treasure a Doctorate Degree in Education at the University of Rochester in New York under the same AFGRAD Fellowship. Upon graduating, he took up a counseling position in the Rochester City School District in 1993. Dr. Charm and his family lived in Rochester, New York for many years before they returned to Sierra Leone a few years ago.

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