A local film director and executive director of Children and Community Initiative for Development (CAID), Ibrahim Ceesay, has been named The Gambia Weekly News and Report Magazine's "Person of the Year 2013', a press release from the publishers has announced. "In a congratulatory letter conveying the message to the young film producer and director, Mr. Swaebou Conateh of the Dippakunda-based Gambia Communication and Baroueli Enterprises, the publishers of the weekly "News and Report" magazine stated that their criteria for selecting "Person of the Year" (previously 'Man of the Year') is based on the following considerations: the person selected must be someone who, through his/her work, profession or personal endeavour, is judged to have contributed the most to the public welfare and to advancing the country's development in the interest of all Gambians; he or she must have contributed significantly to enhancing in a direct and tangible form, the social and economic status of Gambians as a whole; he or she would have put in place for posterity facilities and or infrastructures and other achievements that can serve as a lasting memorial of his/her contributions to national development," the release explained.
The release further explained that Ceesay's selection by the management of the paper was because [it was] satisfied that he has met the criteria for the award in view of his highly acclaimed film "The Hand of Fate" which was voted as "Best Indigenous Film" at the Nollywood and African Film Critics' Awards (African Oscars) held in Washington D.C. on 14 September, 2013, which was also screened in Ethiopia as part of the African Union's 50th Anniversary celebration.
"In addition, it was screened in Paris, France as part of 'UNESCO Africa Week' with subsequent screenings in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the management noted. Produced and directed by Ceesay, 'The Hand of Fate', [which is] said to be the first Gambian film to make international screening, explores the theme of early marriage and its negative effects," it added.
Among other reasons why Ceesay was selected, according to the awarders, was his establishment of Child and Community Initiative Development (CAID); the recognition he received such as UNESCO Youth and Peace Ambassador; his appointment as the executive coordinator of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC); as chairperson of the African Youth Panel Advisory body to the Danish Africa Commission; as well as being the founder of the Mandingmorry Academy of Music in 2013, as the 1st Music Training Centre in the country, amongst others.
Previous 'Persons of The Year' named by this magazine were Amadou Samba (businessman); Pa Sallah Jagne (former IGP in 1993); Dr. Ebrima Samba (formerly of WHO); Late Dr. Lenrie Peters; politician Lamin Waa Juwara; Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy (Vice-President); Bye Lamin Jobe (ex-Gamworks DG); Mrs. Harriet Ndow (seasoned educationist); Late Imam, Karamo Touray (Brikama Imam); Mr. Hassan Jallow (Justice); Ousman B. Conateh (Fisko); Muhammed Jah (Quantumnet); Late Journalist Deyda Hydara (post-humous); Pa Sallah Jeng (former Mayor of Banjul); Bolong Sonko and Mustapha Njie, alias Taf (joint-winners); President Yahya Jammeh; Dr.Isatou Touray (gender-activist); Kora Maestro Jaliba Kuyateh; former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara; Lawyer Fatou Bensouda (Chief Prosecutor of the Hague-based ICC) and The Most Rt. Rev. Dr. S.Tilewa Johnson (Ninth Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of the province of West Africa.