Every death is painful. Most so to immediate family members and the surrounding community. Some deaths might happen far away from your family, but elicit a lot of pain.
On Wednesday, I was saddened by the trending bad news of the death of Malcom Ali Masoud in Dar es Salaam. It’s unimaginable what his parents, the journalist and cartoonist Ali Masoud (Kipanya) and Sarah Chande are going through. May God comfort them!
Only the mercies of God can comfort the duo after losing their incredible son, who had become an inspirational figure for me and so many others in Tanzania and beyond. He was a brave warrior fighting a rare disease that had put him to bed for the most part of his 17 years of life.
In his own words, Malcolm had narrated how he was born fine and healthy.
Unlike other babies, he took his first steps at age three, and at seven years old, he began deteriorating. He was diagnosed with a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness (Muscular Dystrophy Syndrome Disease). If you google it, it’s an excruciating disease.
By the time Malcom reached 17 years, things had gotten worse. He was bedridden and unable to do anything for himself. Yet, he had a smile on his face and was brave to the end. He was grateful to his parents and other relatives for the love and for taking care of him. Talking of her mother, he said, “she has been feeding me and taking good care of me; she has put her life on hold to take care of me.”
There are many life lessons we can learn from Malcolm. Firstly, his slogan “Malcom the believer, never give up” speaks volume. He never lost faith and hope.
Despite being bedridden and in pain, he showed us that faith and hope can take you to places, even in the face of hopelessness and helplessness. His favourite quote was: “Happiness comes when you stop complaining about troubles you have and start to thank God for the troubles you don’t have”.
Secondly, despite all the challenges, he was always happy and grateful to God for his life. Listening to his parents’ talk of what their son’s had been going through is heartbreaking. Malcom was a great son, with a heart full of gratitude to God, his parents and others who were taking care of him. Lesson learnt is that we must learn to trust and depend on God, no matter the difficulties that we face.
Thirdly, Malcom was an inspirational figure, using social media like instagram to encourage and give hope to others. We don’t have to be at our best to help humanity with encouragement and inspiration. Malcolm sought to encourage others to be at their best and reach their potential.
Fourthly is about good parenthood. Malcom’s parents are a good example of what parents must be to their children.
His mother stopped working and put everything on hold to take care of his son. The parents never hide their son in shame just because he was sick. They exposed him to people and knowledge.
The lessons are numerous and we could go on and on. It’s really saddening that Malcolm is no longer in this world, but his footprints will outlive him for many years to come. Malcom words in one of his many clips that can be accessed online rings in my ears: “Life is a journey.
We come from God, and to God we shall return. We should thank God for giving us a breath. We should do good before we go back to God. Let us celebrate life.” Despite so much pain, Malcom lived a great and fulfilling life. May his soul rest in eternal peace!
Saumu Jumanne lectures at the Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE)