The quietness of the Jabateh family at its Sano Compound on Bushrod Island was disturbed when news filtered in last Tuesday that 29-year-old Manyu Jabateh, an elder brother of national team striker Sekou Jabateh, had died when he attempted to replant a DSTV pole.
According to brother Solo Jabateh, “Manyu was watching a soccer game when he learned the pole had dropped and he decided to replant it, along with another fellow who suffered some burns but survived.” Unfortunately, he said Manyu did not observe that the DSTV pole was lying on a high tension electric wire; and when he grabbed the pole, he was electrocuted.
Solo said the family is devastated over the death of Manyu. “He was loved by everyone in our community,” he said. His mother, Jumah Jabateh, is heartbroken, he said.
Manyu’s remains were buried the day he died, according to the Islamic tradition, in Jamibo in Bomi County. Family and sympathizers are visiting the Sano Compound to observe the traditional three days, which ends today, the family said.
“Afterward there will be a seven day observance and later the 40-day observance,” Solo said. Manyu was popular in his Bassa Town Community, near the St. Paul Bridge on Bushrod Island because he was a popular footballer, though unlike his junior brother (Sekou).
Solo said he would always practice with friends at the D. Twe Sports Pitch in New Kru Town.
Sister Fanta Jabateh, eyes filled with tears, could only speak softly about her brother in an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday. “She misses her brother,” a friend said, “Manyu’s death was shocking.”
Friends in New Kru Town said Manyu was a confidant of Sekou Jabateh, who plays for the national soccer team, Lone Star, and plies his trade in Europe.
Social media reports that Sekou Jabateh is distraught about his brother’s untimely death.
Married to beautiful Mariama Jabateh, they are blessed with two boys, brother Solo Jabateh said, noting that his brother graduated from the AME Zion University, majoring in economics.
At the family’s Sano Compound yesterday, a large group of members, mostly men, sat together, with one who seemed knowledgeable of what happens when one dies in the Islamic tradition encouraging his listeners not to show weakness in their Islamic faith.
“There is a form of death that thrusts the deceased into fire in the grave,” he repeated, as his listeners paid rapt attention.
He said many people devote time to their mobile phones and would not give thought to declarations that Muslims are required to declare in their faith.
Across from them sat another group, this time women who seemed not to get over the shocking death of Manyu as several fought back tears while comforting each other in remembering a tragedy that only time would heal.