The funeral and burial ceremony for the 85 year-old mother of senior opposition Presidential hopeful, Mr. John Benjamin attracted a flurry of political activities, as was widely expected. The burial ceremony took place in Segbwema, in the Kailahun district, after a well-attended Friday (Jumaah Prayer) at the Segbwema Central Mosque on January 23, 2015.
The late Haja Mallay Benjamin died on Monday 12th January, 2015. She left behind six children including Mr. John Benjamin and David Benjamin.
Mr. John Benjamin told the Global Times in Segbwema that, he enjoyed “a special relationship” with his late mother. Mr. Benjamin described his late mother as “a very industrious woman”.
The funeral and burial ceremony in Segbwema was attended by a beehive of senior ruling party and opposition party Politicians. One could hardly have missed the presence of Hon. Robin Fallay, who arrived at the funeral home, accompanied by a huge retinue of APC youth activists.
Dr. Kadi Sesay, who represented Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio at the funeral ceremony, described the death of the late Haja Mallay Benjamin as “a hammer blow to the people of Segbwema…She was a highly respected woman and a very pious Muslim”.
Mr. David Benjamin described his late mother as “an epitome of family unity”.
LATE HAJA MALLAY BENJAMIN (Nee Nyallay) Aged 85
Haja Mallay Benjamin (Nee Nyallay) was born Eighty-Five (85) years ago at Baiwalla, Dea Chiefdom, Kailahun District.
Her mother was Late Hawa Domingo (aka ‘Hawa Se-Se’, Hawa Speck and Span’; ‘Hawa Clean’) from Gbaima Kobuihun and her father was Salia Nyallay from Baiwalla.
Hawa Domingo was an SLPP Mammy Queen in Freetown up until 1967. She lived in Baiwalla and Freetown. When SLPP lost the elections in 1967, Hawa Domingo returned to Segbwema where she lived until she died.
Yea Mallay was mostly known as a Housewife and involved in petty trading in Segbwema while raising her children. She was the second wife to late Pa. Ben.
By character and demeanor, she was widely known to be quiet, modest, selfless and unassuming.
She was the mother of six (6) children who took up the challenge of bringing them up at an early stage. John (JOB) was the first of the six children, born in 1952 and David followed six years later in 1958. The six years time lag between John and David created a situation where he received all the attention as the first child of a mother. This was the beginning of the fondness and special relationship between JOB and Yea Mallay which most people can certainly remember.
After John and David, Yea Mallay had four (4) more children who she was able to raise through her determination, and industriousness. Her trademark was a trader, who managed a local restaurant (cookery shop) which was a popular spot for the young and old to assemble.
This trade in food and entertainment provided the avenue for Yea Mallay to connect with several people especially traditional authorities, school going children and the wider Segbwema community.
Yea Mallay was everyone’s mother and grandma and her biggest source of satisfaction was to provide hospitality such as accommodation in her humble residence, personally cooking for people and staying in touch with individuals she came across.
In her later years, she dedicated her time to supporting the raising of her grand children, promoting family values of openness and tolerance and fulfilling her Islamic religious obligations.
The children, all immediate and extended family and the numerous friends will sadly forever miss Yea Mallay.
We pray that her kindness, compassion and love while on earth will bring her blessings and May Allah receive her.