Solo Sandeng was born on the 1st of January 1959. In his early years, he acquired no formal English education. Instead, Sandeng was enrolled in an Arabic and Qur’anic school at a young age. However, he gained some western education through self -teaching and was able to read and write.
Solo worked as a pastry cook for many years of his life and operated a cake business while simultaneously involved in politics with the United Democratic Party from 1996 until his death in April 2016.
With the united democratic party, Sandeng served in various executive positions. He was the National Organizing Secretary of the party at the time of his demise and had previously served as Youth Secretary General for two terms.
Solo Sandeng met his death on April 14th, 2016, when he led a group of protesters demanding for proper electoral reforms in sought of a level playing ground for all parties, especially the opposition at the time. He was arrested and later died in custody as a result of torture.
Sandeng´s death sparked an uprising that saw the end of a 22-year dictatorship in an election that year, ushering the country into a new democratic dispensation. He is succeeded by a wife and 9 children.
He was a charismatic, trustworthy, and community oriented and selfless family man. To many Gambians, he is the man who sacrificed his life to salvage a caged nation from the claws of dictatorship. Besides this fact, Solo led an incredible life even before then. His selflessness and service to Country is undoubtedly known by all who came across him once during his lifetime.
Politics: Since its inception in 1996, Solo had been a strong supporter of the United Democratic Party (UDP). He eventually joined the executive and rose through various ranks, the last of which was ´National Organising Secretary ´of the Party at the time of his demise.
However, being an open-minded person, Solo worked and networked with almost all other opposition Parties in The Gambia between 1994-2016, he led talks for the opposition to form a united front against the then dictator Jammeh.
Due to his strong stance against the then government, Sandeng suffered various persecutions throughout his years of politicking. In 2014, he was arbitrarily arrested and detained at the state central prison Mile 2 in Banjul for almost a month for simply holding an indoor meeting with some of his Party members. Fortunately, after a month of court proceedings, he won the case against the State and gained his partial freedom.
Upon his release, his wife and children who were worried for his safety at the time urged him to flee the Country. These were his word to them ´If you would like, I can take you to a safer place, another country for your safety. As for me, I am staying because this is my country, and I would die fighting for it´.
Community work: Beyond political parties, Solo mobilised/engaged women of his community in batik, tye/dye making and formed the Dippakunda chube town self-help Kafo (group).
Poised by his passion for social equality and change, he co-founded the network of local bread bakers into a union to deal with pertinent issues around the supply and pricing of commodities of bakeries.
Being an all-rounder, Solo was a member of the Dippakunda mosque committee where he volunteered with others to clean, spread prayer mats chronologically and keep the gathering in order during religious events and keep the mosque tidy afterwards. This was something he did with passion.
Education: Sandeng was so much concerned about early childhood education as well as basic and secondary educated and played a part in enrolling a great number of orphan children and unlike into the school system. He worked tirelessly with schools and education authorities to facilitate the returning of many dropouts to school. He also contributed to the education policy in his capacities as Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) chairman for 2 schools in the Gambia over a period of many years to the time of his demise, Nusrat Senior Secondary School, and Bakoteh Proper Lower Basic School respectively.
During his time at Bakoteh lower Basic school as PTA Chairman, Sandeng revived a long-abandoned system in Gambian schools, the school feeding program through a partnership with (UNDP) which lasted for a short time.