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Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian teacher, feminist, speech expert, and politician, was born Cecelia Mary Ruth Rendall in 1921 in Bathurst (now Banjul, Gambia) into a staunch Methodist family headed by Emmanuel Rendall. She attended the Methodist Girls’ High School in Bathurst, where she was a star pupil, winning the top national prize in the Cambridge Certificate Exams in 1937.

Cole developed passion for drama, public speaking, and performance, which would drive her public career. For two decades, starting in 1964, she trained and mentored Radio Gambia staff in speech and voice techniques, thereby helping develop a whole generation of Gambian broadcasters. She was an advocate for drama teaching and public performances in schools and viewed drama and public speech as a tool for building self-confidence and motivation in pupils for later leadership service to the nation. She helped popularize drama competitions in Gambian schools.

Cole was ...