Comedian Habeeb Khan received a peaceful send-off yesterday, as close relatives, friends and associates gathered at the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana, (CIOG) on Woolford Avenue, to bid him farewell.
During the heartfelt tributes, Khan’s fellow entertainers described him as a stalwart and a true son of the soil.
Comedian and actor, Henry Rodney, said that Khan found a way to unify his fellow Guyanese.
“He crossed all cultural differences in his efforts as a comedian. He was a humanitarian in his own right; because he shared the gift of laughter with the world…He was the grandfather of comedy in the region.”
Prominent actor, Lyndon “Jumbie” Jones, reflected on the accomplishment of the comedian.
“Habeeb Khan was the best in the business…he was a general at what he did. He was admired by many. I remember when I first met him, and until now he has impacted my career. His legacy will live on.”
Among the attendees was Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport official, Lennox Canterbury, who expressed condolences to Khan’s relatives on behalf of the Ministry.
“I remember Habeeb from way back in the day and he also had knack for turning solemn situations into jokes…”
His daughter Nycoma Khan told the gathering that her father was a simple man.
“He may not always have been who we thought he should be, but he was who God wanted him to be.”
Habeeb Khan passed away on July 22 at his Friendship, East Bank Demerara home after a period of prolonged illness. He was 78. Khan was the father of 16.
Performing for crowds in various parts of Guyana, the Caribbean and North America, the “If Wishes Were Horses” actor received several awards from overseas for his work, including a special one from a New York group for the 2006 Guyana Folk Festival Award and another for “International Comedy” by Gama Awards of Canada.
He believed in the gift of comedy and performed alongside Ben E. King, Percy Sledge, Count Basie, the Mighty Sparrow and Bob Marley, and was hailed as “Guyana’s Ambassador of comedy.”
During an interview with this newspaper in 2009, Khan detailed that he grew up in Queenstown, Georgetown. He was the fourth child of parents. His father was a doctor and his mother a nurse. Khan said that he had a comfortable childhood and had planned on studying law. But this was not to be, as he experimented with comedy and got stuck. His work continues to inspire many in the local entertainment industry.
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