We all have our appointed time with death. We realize early in life what fragile mortals we are. Yet, that has not robbed death of its sting, its intensity to shock us, to cripple us and even send us into denial because of its bluntness and greed. When I was told early this morning that Tajudeen had died, my outcry was No! I reasoned, argued and tried to persuade all and myself that it was not true.
We all have our appointed time with death. We realize early in life what fragile mortals we are. Yet, that has not robbed death of its sting, its intensity to shock us, to cripple us and even send us into denial because of its bluntness and greed. When I was told early this morning that Tajudeen had died, my outcry was No! I reasoned, argued and tried to persuade all and myself that it was not true. I checked different sources of information on the internet and got the rude confirmation that the brilliant writer of pan-African postcard, fighter and believer in African union and integration was no more. Then the messages started pouring in. At work we all pondered the meaning of life. Tajudeen hung above us, laughing gaily, holding his pipe (which he had long abandoned), inviting us to eat and talk about Africa. I saw him chatting enthusiastically, debating and gathering us all around his table. I saw him at the Pan African Centre in Kamwokya, Kampala. I saw him at his desk writing feverishly his postcard and clicking, send! Call it weakness, I rushed to Pambazuka online to check out Tajudeen’s postcard of the day, and there it was, city beautification is destroying livelihoods. I didn’t want to believe this would be the last postcard of Tajudeen. I pushed away the thought. This time last year, Tajudeen’s postcard in celebration of Africa Liberation Day cautioned South Africa against the anti-African xenophobia. Today he was cautioning us about the need to take care of the hoi polloi. The biggest irony is that he was on his way to Rwanda to launch a campaign on poverty and maternal mortality. It’s him who has transited into mortality, leaving our hearts poverty stricken. For years Tajudeen has nourished us with his laughter, optimism and pan-Africanism. He has given us all hope but one to see us through his death. At this point I can only hide in the wisdom of Bebo Norman’s songs, especially a line in which Bebo sings to one who has gone, “It was not your time; that’s a useless line…lay down softly in our sorrow…”
I am only certain about one thing. If one had asked Taju which day he would love to go in the far future, I am sure Taju would have said Africa Day. And as long as Africa Day is celebrated, Tajudeen will be remembered. For years Tajudeen has embraced this Liberation Day, and today it has liberated him from all earthly responsibilities and embraced him tightly, not ever to release him. It is one sad and symbolic gesture of the Day claiming its own Postcard, its one giant who has identified with the Day all these years. It gives me a tiny thread of consolation that Tajudeen’s memory has been preserved, immortalized in a significant Day that will always be alive. Because of this I pray, ‘Go down gracefully, Taju, and shine with the angels.’ Amen.