The Reverend Dr. Farella Leoneteen Shaka
My heart mourns for the departing of dearest Dr Farella Shaka. She and her husband Dr Richard John Shaka were my first pastors in the States in 1998. They pioneered All Nations Christian Assembly and I was privileged to be a part of pioneering their worship ministry as their first worship director. It was wonderful to share their joy in seeing All Nations grow from 20 people to close to 200 when my time in the States ended 4 years later. By then, we had 16 different nations represented in that church!!!!

Both of them played a big part in helping me settle down especially in the first few weeks of my moving to Minneapolis for studies. The first picture you see was taken when my dad had chicken pox the first week we were there. The Shakas came to the hotel to visit my dad after chapel, not worrying one bit about my dad's "contagious" condition. They even gave a little gift to my dad to help out with medical expenses. That was one of the first few times they've ever met my dad too. Needless to say we were very touched. Two weeks later, the Shakas not only were my college professors, they became my pastors as I started attending their church.

Sis Shaka, as what I would call her, was like a mom to me. My very first thanksgiving was spent with her, Dr Shaka and some other members of the church. As a professor at our university, she would be very busy but she would always have time for coffee, a listening ear and a prayer. She was a prayer warrior and her enthusiasm for prayer made our small prayer meetings something that we looked forward to. Sis Shaka would always come all the way to pick me up from my apartment to go to church as I didn't have a car or transport to get there.

Sis Shaka was always very cheerful and loved to crack jokes along with her husband. In fact, as I type this post I can still "hear" her laugher. The Shakas would always invite us over to her home to hang out after church and after our Old Country Buffet Sunday lunches. Sis Shaka was always a great host and went all out to make us lonely college kids feel loved and at home. It was lovely to see Sis Shaka not just as a brilliant college professor or a compassionate pastor but a loving wife. It was very heartwarming to see both Dr Shaka and Sis Shaka interact as they were very sweet and close to each other.

My dad, Shiloh and I got to visit Sis Shaka in her home in 2012 when dad and I visited Minneapolis. We had a wonderful reunion and a time of prayer together. She was ill already then but so strong in spirit and truly joyful. I am glad we were able to see her then. I was also grateful to have had a small catch up with her outside the chapel when I went back to Minneapolis in 2014. She was already much more frail then, walking around with a support but again, still very strong in her spirit, resilient, ever so cheerful and encouraging. What impacted me was seeing her push herself to walk all the way down the chapel aisle to pray for the students who responded to the altar call. Even in pain she still loved others and cared for their spiritual life. She had a shepherd's heart indeed.

I have been so blessed to have been under the care of this amazing woman of God. Heaven definitely celebrates her homecoming and I know she is enjoying being in the arms of Jesus, laughing her heart out, completely free from pain and cancer.

Sis Shaka, THANK YOU for impacting my life and inspiring me to grow deeper in my walk when I was in All Nations. You will be greatly missed! I look forward to seeing you in heaven someday!

-- feeling very sad with Lau Kim Thiam.

A Tribute
A Bastion of Strength and humility
(February 10, 1918 - June 29, 2013)
 Rev. Dr. Joseph Saidu Mans was a role model of pure faith and unswerving conviction within the emerging evangelical community in Sierra Leone. Reverend Mans was gifted with a sharp mind that he utilized with great effect as a bible expositor. His unique Reverend Mans-esque soft nasal voice spouted always from a set of smiling lips, from a face decked with a pair of penetrating eyes, was one of his endearing trademarks.  Rev. Mans had an interest in young people. He seemed to transact his relationships with youths from a perspective of an understanding of their potentials rather than their prevailing circumstances. With this disposition he became a great mentor to countless Sierra Leoneans that are currently in leadership in the Church, political, administrative, civic, educational and business world. 
In Rev. Mans was a bastion of strength and humility un-contradictorily encapsulated in one flesh. One of his favorite idioms was; ‘A hood makes not a monk’. Presumably Rev. Mans was concerned with consistent Christian character as a superior virtue to outward accolades and impressions. He did admit to me that professional titles and academic degrees does not always add up to peoples abilities to perform and produce in their spheres of opportunity.  One event that exhibited his strength, one would recall was at an executive meeting of the Christian Council of Sierra Leone at Brookfields, Freetown. There was a contentious issue being discussed. Rev. Mans may have felt that he needed to make an unequivocal stand. He stood up, banged the conference table, and said “I am not afraid of any of you, because you are what you will ever become”, He turned to the younger leaders in attendance, including me, “I am only afraid of these young guys because I do not know what they will become in the future”. Today Rev. Mans has joined these Church leaders that predeceased him, as the circle of life demands. They must be joking around in Heaven; Bishop Prince Thompson, Bishop T. S. Bangura, Rev. Dowridge-Williams, Mrs Esther Coker, Rev. Dr. Y.M . Kroma, Rev. Dr. Leslie Shyllon, Rev. Eustace Renner, to name a few.
At my farewell function organized by the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone on my departure to the United States in 1999, in his remarks, Rev Mans prophesied that I will return either to become a church leader, a politician or a business man. I am still waiting for the fulfillment. For now it’s about honoring the life of this great man of God. Much more would be told about Rev. Mans’ successful career as leader and pioneer of the New Life Movement in Sierra Leone, Evangelist and pastor in the Sierra Leone Baptist church, President of the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone, Founding member and President of the Evangelical fellowship of Sierra Leone and a pastor of pastors to many of his peers.
Thank you for who you were, and thank you for all that you did to help so many aspire and attain their optimum potentials. To the family, please temper your grief with gratitude, for we are grateful to you for sharing this blessed saint with us. Farewell Pa Mans! 

A grateful friend and disciple of Pa Mans.
Crispin R. Cole Sr.


Our Mother is as very special person to us her family. I say this because she is not just a physical person but a spiritual essence influencing our lives from childhood to date .
Mum was a very loving person.  Warm, pleasant and vicarious showing her lover to all who came her way.

To us children we were never starved of love, with little spoiling and much discipline.
As a mother she lived a life a life of profound self-denial, foregoing much personal comforts to give us a better life where our needs were always met.
I can remember numerous occasions in which she denied herself much clothes, shoes and cosmetics at Christmastide to give us a good Christmas in times of austerity when dad was laid off.
Singularly Mum ran the home, never complained nor winced in anguish, looking after dad in the most adorable way.
 In those moments the world never knew the difference, she kept things going in the best ways, giving hope, love and solace to her family.
She ran an inclusive home where the family planned together, sought solutions and options for individual advancements.
These were all crowned by her sacrificing spirit as she poured out all her resources without reservation to see my sisters proceed to the United Kingdom to enhance their education, in this pursuit she ended up with moderate debts which she religiously paid off.
 My loving Mother’s benevolence was extensive.  In the church she gave a lot of her substance to the Missionettes club, paying fees, buying uniforms and club paraphelia for the girls in the face of great family demands.
As a Minister she never failed to respond to the needs of the community and thus brought many to Christ through her outreach ministry Maroon town and Leister outreach.
Her philanthropy never ceased and this was an attractive force that resulted in enlargement of the Maroon Town Outreach membership. There were many trying times when her benevolence left her bereft of shoes, dresses, finances in festive seasons.
Mum had a kind word for everyone; her anger was always short-lived and vaporises too easily.
She pursued every assignment in church with verve, unyielding commitment, and patience.  As a preacher, lecturer, and leader she equipped herself well, studying, researching and consulting.  She loved excellence and pursued it.
As a wife, her support to my dad during his redundancy period was    remarkable and rare. She bore the mantle of responsibility with joy exploring every opportunity to source out a job for dad. They shared love, relished disagreements which later on became subjects for

humour all spear headed by mum.   
Mum you are no past, the fragrance of your love, care, tenderness, and respect for others live with us, they govern our today and we thank you for leading a splendid life and leaving us a legacy of love, unity and respect for each other and our fellow men.
If I had all the money in the world and money could have kept you alive I’d have given all just to see you recover. In this vein I’ll always keep in mind songs of Solomon 8:6-7, in memory of a loving and important mum whose memory nothing can quench.

Your loving sons,

 Montfort Jonathan Okeke-Macauley,

Elmer okeke-Macauley
and Raymond Okeke- Macauley


Growing up in the Okeke-Macauley family of seven that is Gladys Anniebola Omotunde our late father Montfort Jonathan Omotayo  Okeke-Macauley(snr) and five siblings.
Mummy loved her children, very proud of us and always encouraged us to be and do more than she did. She savoured our achievements. Proudly relished our academic development and active participation in church. Herself been brought up in a Christian home as an Anglican and becoming a born again Christian at Bethel Temple church in 1976.
Mummy loved music, Drama (Acting as leading lady for Brunswick club) football (Manchester United supporter) dancing, Christian music, and evangelism.
Our mother a woman of God, strong, full of wisdom, inspirational, passionate, strict, generous, kind, encouraging and caring.  Our home was open to all, our mum was shared by many who called her Mummy Macauley. Here in the U.K. and in Freetown (Sierra Leone) always sharing the word of God, giving and encouraging others.
Mum cared for her family, friends and neighbours a woman to admire.  Our mum Gladys lived for Bethel Temple and Christ Embassy here in London. Her commitment to these institutions were unrivalled to anything we had known, and her example profoundly influenced us. Mums commitment can never be told, her zeal, and fervor in service was exemplary. Together with dad they made a formidable pair in Christian service. Indeed a remarkable woman, Mum you are such a beautiful woman, a wonderful mum a special  friend too!  Mum you will be always in our hearts. Your grand children Montrel stated in his message for you, “thank you for looking after me grandma,” Gisele said “I want you back grandma”, Malise is streaching out her hands for you to pick her up!
We always told you how much we love you! We love you Mum! Rest in Peace.  

Your daughters Alberta-Jane Pessima and Montina Williams 


Gladys Anniebola Omotunde Okeke-Macauley was born on the 5th of September 1947 in Freetown, Sierra Leone to Gladstone Latilewa Wilhelm and Jane Cole.
Her primary and secondary education was at Freetown secondary school for Girls. After leaving school she went to the Freetown Technical Institute and attained a certificate in short hand and typing, hence pursuing the career of a secretary.She worked at Herford secondary school for girls, at the Ministry of Education, The ministry of mines, The income Tax Department all in Freetown and Christian Children’s Fund international as project officer both in Gambia, Senegal and Freetown.
She married the late Montfort Jonathan Okeke- Macauley on January the 29th1972. The union which lasted 40 years is blessed with 5 children, Alberta-Jane, Montfort, Montina, Elmer and Raymond.  Sons in law Victor Pessima, George Williams and daughter in law Raymonda Okeke-Macauley.  Four Grandchildren, Montrel, Gisele, Montfort and Malise. 
She became a member of Bethel Temple Church in 1976 and was an active member of the Women’s Missionary Council, Missionette club, Leader of The Maroon Town outreach and leister outreach.
Gladys was a member of the Ministerial Council at Bethel Temple, where she Ministered and served the lord until she came to England in 2004. She went to a few churches before joining the Christ
Embassy Church in Dagenham until her death, where she faithfully served in preaching, teaching bible school, outreach and other activities.

Gladys Loved The Lord.  May She Rest In Peace.

A Mother’s love is something
 that no one can explain,
 it is made of deep devotion
And of sacrifice and pain,
it is endless and unselfish
 And enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away...
It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking...
It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
 of the rarest, brightest gems...
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation...
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand
And another wondrous evidence
of God’s tender guiding hand.

There is magic in a mother’s touch,
and sunshine in her smile.
There’s love in everything she does
to make our lives worthwhile.
We can find both hope and courage
 just by looking in her eyes.
Her laughter is a source of joy,
her works are warm and wise.
There is kindness and compassion
 to be found in her embrace,
 and we see the light of heaven
shining from a mother’s face.      -

 From the children

The Honorable Paramount Chief,
Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Joe Sinnah-Yovonie Kangova II 1947-2012

Jeremiah Joe Sinnah-Yovonie was born January 1, 1947 to Madie and
Sinnah Yovonie. His father was chief and had many wives so Jere had
many blood brothers and sisters, as well as many who lived as brothers and
sisters in their compound in Sierra Leone. He lived a happy childhood in
Senehun, often sneaking to his grandma Ada with whom he had a special
His father was unwilling to pay for secondary school fees, so he
independently studied and did well on the secondary exams. A promised
scholarship to Uganda did not materialize so he took an opportunity to
come to a Methodist college in Iowa -- the first in his family to study in the
U.S. Jere had less than twenty dollars in his pocket when he arrived. Even
that was a miracle made possible by Pastor B.K. Williams’ and Paul
Lahai’s contributions. Upon arrival, Charles Carew introduced him to
Pastor Dick and Mary Pfaltzgraff, who acted as his parents in Iowa.
He attended Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa where he met Darlene
Kloster. They became soul mates as they worked together on the social
issues of the day…peace in Vietnam, racial relations and ending apartheid
in South Africa. Due to finances, Jere transferred to Kalamazoo College,
in Michigan.
Despite his finances, his belief in education allowed him to turn around and
encourage others to come here to study. Jere developed a huge American
family as he begged for help for young Sierra Leoneans to be educated.
Special praises are due to the Pfaltzgraffs, the Phillips and Dr. Nelson for their responses.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1973, Jere and Darlene were married and began graduate work at the University of Iowa.
From there, the kid who had never been to secondary school, who had no money or “connections” completed his doctorate degree
from Ivy League Colombia University (New York). With this kind of miracle, he wanted to do ministry as well, so after touring the 12
Methodist seminaries he chose to come to Dallas, Texas to study at Perkins at Southern Methodist University where he received his
theological degree. Promised jobs did not materialize when it was discovered he was in an interracial marriage. This disappointment
led to his loss of enchantment for America and the Methodist church. Despite this, he worked as a Parole Officer and then Professor
and International Student Director at Bishop College, Dallas, Texas. He was overjoyed to welcome three wonderful children, Ada,
Emma, and Jeremiah, all the while bringing many family and students from all over the world to better themselves and in the process
joining the big Yovonie family.
From there he had the opportunity to become Director for Global Missions for the Lutheran Church in Chicago, Illinois. This inspired
him to return to his home to develop the church and people. The civil war in Sierra Leone forced the Yovonie’s to relocate back to
Dallas and he became Senior Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Oak Cliff. But in 2004, when he was called to run for the
Chieftaincy, he felt inspired to rise to the call. He was elected paramount chief of Kamajei Chiefdom in the Moyamba District in 2005
with an astounding 85 percent of the vote. Subsequently, he was elected to represent all the paramount chiefs of Moyamba District in
the Sierra Leone parliament, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee to counsel war victims. He was also a lecturer at Njala
University, Bo Campus, in the Department of Teacher Education. Since becoming chief, Senehun has realized the following
completed development projects: establishment of the first junior secondary school-Kamajei, Senehun; a health center; a market
center; a community center; and four drinking water pumps strategically located all over the town. On-going development projects
within the chiefdom include construction of roads and bridges, and furniture production for the community center.
He was tragically and unexpectedly killed in a car accident on June 30th, 2012 in his hometown Senehun, Kamajei. He will be
remembered for his love of people, his faith in God, and his belief in education. He is survived by his wife Darlene Yovonie; children
Ada (Kareem) Carter, Emma Yovonie, and Jeremiah (Dora) Yovonie; siblings Rosaline Tijani, Jeanette Anderson and Anthony
Yovonie; many beloved Yovonie brothers and sisters; nephews and nieces; friends and colleagues.


By Israel O Parper Sr.

 I am standing here today as a representative of a family in grief and feel very honored to come and share our feelings of pain and perhaps in that process of sharing, find the strength to bear our sorrow and courage and to look for the seeds of hope. The passing away of Cousin Clarice Omotunde Thorpe, is a profound personal loss to the family, friends and loved ones and we are all gathered here today, to say our final goodbyes.

Would it not be nice if death meant simply leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character… would you slow down or speed up any unfinished work in progress, so that you would not be found wanting? Or would you be ready at all times and observe one of  the sayings in the Pythian Odes, (518-436 BC) which says, “Strive not my soul for an immortal life, but make the most of what is possible.” No one is the proprietor of anything; the Lord is the original creator for he “pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled” (unknown author).

CLARICE OMOTUNDE THORPE was born on 28th March 1936 in KANEKAY in the East of Freetown.  She grew to maturity under the roof of her loving father and mother – Joseph and Gladys Thorpe, from the small Hamlet village of Samuel Town –Waterloo in the Peninsula of the Western Area. She gained her elementary education first at the Kanekay school, before progressing on to the co- educational Model Elementary school where she received proper grounding for Secondary education. This she pursued with success at the St Josephs Convent School in Freetown spending most of her time as a boarding student.

Clarice belonged to a generation that measured men and women by their honesty, courage and probity. This character was manifested through the 40 plus years as a Civil servant. After leaving school she spent 9 months in the Civil Service Training School, (The Government Clerk Training School) after which she was confirmed a Third Grade Clerk.

From this humble beginnings, Clarice worked her way up the ladder through the machinations of the Civil Service bureaucracy and performed with satisfaction, the skills and competence required to do each job she was called upon to do.  For Twenty years, she played her role in the Public Works Department (Ministry of Works). She showed character and diligence  in the other government Ministries for example, Agriculture, Social Welfare, where she served for about 10 years. Her competence and honesty having been recognised, being by then a long serving Civil Servant, Clarice was deployed at the Ministry of Finance (TREASURY department) where she spent another ten glorious years. As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”. Her hard work, zeal, commitment and honesty were recognised by the ‘powers that be’ and was elevated first to the post of Senior Accountant- Finance and later, as ASSISTANT ACCOUNTANT GENERAL – a post she held on to and demonstrated her technical competence up to her retirement in 1993.
In an environment with colourful temptations, such successes can only be gained through hard work, the ability to get along with others without compromising ones principles and have a good name that is synonymous with integrity.

Notwithstanding her heavy work schedule, Clarice - this petite almost delicate lady, who personifies grace and goodness, showed her character in the devotion to her family.
Let me take this opportunity and thank you, Cousin Tunde, for myself and for every one of your family members whom you have touched with your kindness and your good words. Your siblings – Ephraim Thorpe, Bami-joko and Nellie recognised your contribution to their own being. Your Children- Valentina, (Val), Donald, Matilda and Stella, equally applaud you for the venerable way and manner you brought them up. Your many nephews, nieces, grand children (particularly Nadim, to whom you have been so very close), and the wider family, we all cherish your love, your kindness and presence. We will miss you very much.  Thank you for being a great woman, who used your life to serve us all.
You showed your character in friendship to some particular people. Since your very young days, you cultivated that ability to magnetise friends who love you and whom you love too- friendship which lingered for many, many years. This calls to memory, the singer/song writer-James Taylor’s song- “You got a Friend” [You just call out my name, I’ll come running…]. One such friend (not to the exclusion of the many others) is Ms Patricia McCauley.  (Aunty Pat).  Your long friendship started in 1947 when you met at the Model Elementary School: and lasted till this day. Do you recall your days at “Up the Greens”  (a side show - where youngsters take their first steps to the romantic world? Or go and experience the notoriety of the imaginary frivolity that is spoken of?
Contrast that with your friends at the prayer group here in London – where your fraternity extended to friends like Araba and Patricia and many not here recall.

With these activities, you embellished the saying, ‘God uses good people to do good things’. You greatly manifested this belief by serving the Church gallantly and it is no surprise that you have been honoured in the way this church accorded you the dignity and respect. You believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost and you pleasantly gave your life to Him.  You served this Church as Sides Person - which gave you the opportunity to welcome worshipers; You were a Reader and a Eucharistic Minister, a duty Sacristan and served the all important duty as a member in the Parochial Church Council (PCC).

Despite all this work and prayerful nature, cousin Tunde, you did not deprive yourself from your modest social life. Dancing comes naturally to you – indeed dancing seems to be embedded in the DNA of this family. I look around and see family members who are adept at this art. I will never forget the wonderful performance at Valrie’s 50th party last year, dancing with Nadim to the tune of “You de ya, You de yanda, Tumara you de so,..” Using those little hands, shuffling and balancing those wriggling movements and steps, which Nadim himself has so efficiently picked up and equally stepped up to Grand ma’s challenge.  But this simply reminds me of Jesus’ saying- “A little while you shall see me, yet a little while ye shall not see me, because I am going to my father who is in Heaven”.
If the people we love are stolen from us by death, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them – for real love is forever.

You de yanda- Yes! Clarice you were in Sierra Leone since the day you were born until you retired; You de ya- Yes Cousin Tunde, you cheerfully lived with us here in England and we all loved you to the level of every day’s  most quiet needs, by sun and by candlelight; Tumara you de so!!  Yes! - We will all da so one day, for death is a certainty.
 Yes! Clarice has come to her life’s end and now slips away from these surly bonds of earth to touch the face of GOD.


A Short Tribute

Richie Awoonor Gordon

By Sorie Fofana

Journalism has lost one of its greatest and finest children, Richie Awooner Gordon. Olu Gordon, as he was fondly known, in the words of Umaru Fofana, the President of SLAJ was “a larger than life character”. I think he was a quintessential Jounalist. The late Karwigoko Roy Stevens would have referred to the late Olu Gordon as a natural Journalist.

I knew Olu Gordon through my elder brother, Lansana Fofana (Lans Fofy), one of the BBC stringers in Sierra Leone. Lans and Olu were great buddies. Olu could come to our residence in the East End of Freetown for a weeekend rest. I was doing my Sixth Form by then and at the same time writing articles for the “Chronicle” Newspaper which was edited by Lans Fofy. When Lans got arrested, Olu was one person who campaigned vigorously for his release from the Pademba Road Prisons.

Olu tried unsuccessfully to convince me to join PANAFU. He was a Pan-Africanist per-excellence and a keen admirer of the late Sheku Toure, Kwame Nkrumah and Stokeley Car-Michael who later changed his name to Kwame Toure.

When Olu Gordon returned to Sierra Leone from the United Kingdom immediately after the NPRC coup in 1992, he was arrested and detained at the CID head office on Pademba Road. The NPRC accused him of being the Spokesman for the RUF, an accusation he vehemently denied.

When we (Siaka Massaquoi, who was SLAJ President at the time and I) visited him at the CID, he was weeping like a baby. The CID boss at the time (I can’t remember the name now) told us that the matter was far above him and advised that we endeavour to make direct contact with the Chairman of the NPRC, Valentine Strasser.

Siaka Massaquoi contacted John Benjamin (one of the movers and shakers of the NPRC at the time) to arrange for a meeting with Valentine Strasser. Siaka Massaquoi later informed me that John Benjamin was very instrumental in securing the release of Olu Gordon from the CID. After he was released, Olu came to our office at the then Vision Newspaper at Lahai Taylor to thank Siaka for his intervention. Siaka advised Olu in my presence to leave the country as his safely was not guaranteed. Olu left for the United Kingdom and returned later to Sierra Leone to fight for the return to democratic governance in 1996.

As a University don, Olu was greatly admired by his students at Fourah Bay College. It is reported that some students used to abandon their classes just to catch a glimpse of this great History Lecturer. Olu never took kindly to his dismissal at Fourah Bay College.

When Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected President of Sierra Leone in 1996; Olu wrote to him pleading for his case to be reviewed. The University authorities threatened to leave the college if President Kabbah insisted on having Olu back at Mount Aureol. President Kabbah wrote to Olu asking him to move on with his life and forget about the idea of going back to Mount Aureol.

Olu was a principled Journalist. He was one of the few Journalists in this country that openly backed President Kabbah when he outrightly refused to pay Mohamed Wanza for a derelict gun boat that was never delivered to the government of Sierra Leone.

Olu resigned from For Di People Newspaper because Paul Kamara (the former Publisher of the paper) refused to publish his views about Mohamed Wanza.

Olu called a rare press conference at the Sierra Leone Library on Rokel Street to announce his resignation from For Di People Newspaper. I asked him whether he would consider going back to FDP and this was what he had to say, “I don’t go back on my words.  I will never go back to FDP “. Unfortunately, he did return

to FDP because he wanted a forum to express his views. He was a fun-poking Journalist.

When  I was appointed Information Attache at our High Commission in the United Kingdom in 2002, Olu Gordon and Paul Kamara joined forces together to fabricate a cocktail of lies about me. As far as I am concerned, that is now history.

 Olu left FDP to establish the satirical Peep News margazine. I had great admiration for him because he never insulted anybody’s parents even when he disagreed with their views. He was a prolific debater, and an anti-corruption crusader. President Ernest Bai Koroma’s decision to appoint the late Olu Gordon to serve on the Anti-Corruption Commission Board was well – thought out. Thank you very much Mr. President for that patriotic decision.

The last time I saw Olu was at Stop Press Bar/Restaurant. He looked very frailed and very sick. That was the first time I spoke to him after almost nine years. His last word to me was “We have come a long way. It is time to move on….Let us put the past behind us”. I told him that I had nothing against him. God works in a mysterious way. I never knew that that would be the last time I would ever set eyes on Olu alive. May God have mercy upon his soul. Indeed, we have lost a great friend, brother and senior colleague. “Death, thou shall die.”

(Courtesy Globe Times Online)


Olu Gordon: ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’

By Oswald Hanciles

As I reflect on Olu Gordon’s death which hit the airwaves in Freetown about a day or so ago uncontrollable tears would well in my eyes.  I shudder because of the personal contact I had with Olu Gordon spanning thirty five years; and I weep because ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’ wasn’t given a Nobel-laureate type of accolade while alive.  This is not a eulogy.  The title of this piece is a repetition.  I used it in one of my articles – in THE OSWALD HANCILES COLUMN - on Olu Gordon about five years ago when Olu Gordon was very much alive.  My admiration for Olu then, and now, is not only because he was ‘The Greatest Philosopher in Sierra Leone’, an unparalleled political satirist, but, because of his uncanny courage and Yoga-istic disdain for material possessions; the latter trait diametrically opposed to the cravings of 99.9% of the educated elite. 

I first met Olu Gordon in 1975 when we both were freshmen students in Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.  Olu Gordon then spoke English with an English accent, so he stood out clearly among his Krio-speaking peers.  He was chubby; with a vibrant wit; and carefree ways.  We were part of a group of freshmen students – including the late Abdul Mustapha, who was administrative director in the NRA; Leslie Parker, Sydney Njai, Abdul Sesay (a.k.a. “Jagger”), who are all in the US today; Theresa Sandy; D. Williams, one of the sons of the head of the civil service then, G.L.V. Williams - who decided not to join any of the clubs or fraternities in FBC, but to start our own club –  which we called “CRESTA”; and for which I was President, and Olu Gordon Secretary General.  Olu’s became ‘family’, and his room an extension of ‘home’ – we were part of that close group  of students often in an out of each other’s rooms, and we could approach each other with demands, and jokes, without any inhibition.  With clear hand writing script, Olu Gordon was one of the most admired writers on ‘Chuks Press’ (a notice board outside the Solomon Caulker dining hall).   I could remember after the 1977 FBC students’-inspired uprising against the APC government of its Founder, Siaka Stevens, and it appeared as if the APC had coerced, and cowered all the students in the university into silence after the General Elections had been won by the APC, the first attempt at rekindling  student resistance was an article by Olu Gordon on Chuks Press.  That rare courage of Olu Gordon did not dim as he aged…

In 1997, soldiers of the Sierra Leone military overthrew the democratically-elected government of Alhaji Tejan Kabbah, and formed the AFRC junta.  They shortly after called the RUF rebels from the bush to join them in a coalition government.  To inject fear into the populace, this AFRC/RUF junta caught an alleged looter around Krootown.  They dismembered his body, and made a grotesque display of his chopped off hands, mangled legs, decapitated head – stuffing his penis lewdly into his mouth.  The press were telephoned to photographed the sordid brutality.  This was splashed in several newspapers.  Using the macabre photograph  above his article, Olu Gordon subsequently wrote such words: ‘I wonder what was going on in the minds of the AFRC/RUF as they were chopping off the man’s body like chicken for dinner….They have done this to put fear into us.  Well, it won’t work. We will not fear them…The very symbol they have used to put fear into us is what we would use to mobilize people against them…They will go…’.  He did not put a pseudonym on the article.  He signed it boldly, “By Olu Gordon”.  That was published in For di People newspaper, owned by current sports and youth employment minister, Paul Kamara.  It appeared as if Olu Gordon’s sheer temerity was suicidal, for it could have gotten him dismembered too.  But that was the essence of Olu Gordon, a relatively quiet man with a revolutionary fervor that appears to make him almost inviolable.

In late 1998, most of the elite were certain that an RUF/AFRC attack on the city of Freetown was imminent. They fled Freetown for foreign countries in droves.  It was then that Olu Gordon left the safe haven of the United Kingdom to head for Freetown.  He told me that when he was in transit in Banjul, the Gambia, he met plane loads of Sierra Leonean elites fleeing Freetown; hysterical with fear even thousands of miles away from our capital city.  Olu Gordon returned to Freetown nonetheless; not one to capitulate to fear.  He was caught up in the pogrom of the cataclysmic January 6, 1999 AFRC/RUF invasion of Freetown.  Why did Olu Gordon leave safe England for treacherously violent Sierra Leone? 

Maybe, in death today, our society need to reflect on the mystery and mystique of Olu Gordon, and wonder why did Olu Gordon choose to live his life in the poorest country on earth, while he could so easily have lived in the United Kingdom, one of the richest societies on the planet?  Olu Gordon was born in England fifty three years ago, at a time when that right of birth granted him automatic English citizenship. He schooled partly in England.  Only a mad man would question the excellent quality of Olu Gordon’s mind.  There is no doubt that within English society – as a teacher; or journalist; or social activist; or a politician; or a philosopher – he would have excelled, climbed up the English social ladder, and lived in comparative affluence.  Olu Gordon disdained that relative luxurious life which his birth entitled him to, and chose to live in poverty-stricken Sierra Leone; and to practice a profession – journalism -  where only 2% of its practitioners have ever been mildly called rich.  Publishing his PEEP newspaper, Olu Gordon earned such meager sums that it was a life of   from hand-to-mouth from day-to-day.  To my knowledge, he never owned a car.  With just enough money to feed himself, I don’t think he ever dreamt of building a house.  A lot of scorn was directed at him by his FBC peers who over the years would become commissioner-generals, cabinet ministers, owners of big companies, etc.   To them, Olu Gordon was a ‘failure’ because he never accumulated those trappings of ‘success’ which nearly all of our educated elite appear ready to kill for, or, commit genocide for. 

To me, Olu Gordon’s detachment to material things, put him at the highest pedestal to which one can find the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.  Including the fact that Olu Gordon could use his ‘British citizenship’ to live in affluence if he wanted to; he also had a mother who was part Nigerian, and owned property in Lagos.  With a tertiary post graduate qualification earned from a Nigerian university, with his powerful thought processes, Olu Gordon could have easily fused into Nigerian society as a ‘citizen’, and earned himself a fortune.  Olu chose not the ‘broad path’, but, Jesus Christ’s ‘narrow road’ of championing the cause of freedom; of enduring deprivation so that he would not bow down to no ‘tin god’.  Olu Gordon’s sheen was that he feared no man; bowed to no man; would always stand for the truth no matter what.  During the SLPP days of President Tejan Kabbah, it was the richest and most powerful men in society – as politicians; as crooked business men; as dubious civil society leaders – who apparently feared Olu Gordon.  Olu Gordon had the track record of ALWAYS bringing a corrupt person down whenever he would turn his journalistic pen against him/her.   For several years as the then hyper-powerful Vice President in Kabbah’s government, Solomon Berewa, strived to win the 2007 presidential elections, Olu Gordon made him a paragon of satire in his PEEP newspaper – interchanging Berewa’s photograph with that of ‘Bruno’, a chimpanzee who had escaped from a forest reserve in Freetown.  Berewa, for obvious reasons, never dared to take Olu Gordon to court for defamatory libel.  Olu Gordon was not without his biases, apparently.  

For one, as the 2007 elections drew close, as the APC won the 2007 elections, Olu Gordon never once put in his PEEP satire page anything negative about Ernest Bai Koroma. (Word is out that President Koroma appreciated Olu Gordon’s role in society; hence his appointment of Olu Gordon to the Board of Directors of the Anti Corruption Commission; and the President’s personal financial intervention when Olu Gordon’s health started deteriorating rapidly over the past one year). And Charles Margai was favoured by Olu Gordon, and spared Olu Gordon’s satire in PEEP newspaper. Olu Gordon was not a saint, either.

Olu Gordon, after working on his biting satire (one of his favorite object is still-alive octogenarian, Dr. Sama S. Banya), Olu Gordon loved to quaff harsh undiluted whiskey with his close friend, now also deceased, dollar millionaire, Eric James, in James’  white mansion opposite the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Hanna Benka Coker Street, in Brookfields, Freetown.   The heady smoke of Cuban cigar seemed to give Olu Gordon that high he needed to challenge anyone who ran counter to his revolutionary ideal of what Sierra Leone ought to become.  Those who are studying Philosophy in our tertiary institutions ought to begin the process now of researching, and giving proper intellectual prominence, to the thoughts, and life, of Olu Gordon.   ‘Olu Gordon’ needs to be studied in all our educational institutions. I shed tears for you, my friend, not much so with sadness, but, in great honor for the life you lived so well, so valiantly, so purely – for Africa, for Mother Sierra Leone.   If there is a heaven beyond the galaxies, the ‘angels’ are blaring their horns in welcoming honor for you, Olu Gordon.

(Courtesy FOISL)

A tribute to the late Richie Olu Awoonor-Gordon

by: Abdulai Bayraytay

If anyone would have told me few months back that Richie Olu Awoonor-Gordon, commonly known as Richie Gordon, would have given up the ghost last week, I would not have hesitated to dismiss such as a vile insinuation coming from a rather demented mind. This is partly so because the late man was hale and hearty in my many interactions I had with him as made it a habit to most times stopped by his office at the main intersection of Hannah Benka Coker Street and Syke Street in Brookfield’s, Freetown on my way from work during my sojourn at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

However, alas, it did happen on April 4, 2011 when news reached me at work from the UK that “one of Sierra Leone’s finest and controversial journalists, Olu Gordon has passed away”.

Whilst I am still grappling with the painful reality that indeed Richie is gone to the other world, the sad part of his death is concerns over who would fill the void left by Richie in the crusade to fight against the scandalous social ills of corruption, tribalism and the persistent marginalization of the urban masses and women, whom the ever-growing petit bourgeois class would shamefully dub the “hoi polloi”?

And, this is where I have come to perceive the passing away of Richie Gordon as a bad symbolism for a country that is recuperating from a dismal conflict part of whose reasons was attributed to the issues Olu had fought for in a long time.

For instance, during his lectureship days at Fourah Bay College in the 1980’s, Richie became an icon not just because of the ecstatic way he delivered his lectures, but by using that academic forum to remind his students that sound education was the sure way to liberate the country from the abyss of collapse. It was therefore no surprise, as some of his colleagues would recount later, that students and even Richie’s colleague-lecturers would troop to his lectures to hear the African history lecturer spoke with some classic authority.

Not surprising, following the Alie Kabbah-led students’ demonstrations that challenged the college administration and by extension the central government in 1985, Richie was “expelled” for the dubious crime of “inciting students”.

Even though I have read articles by Richie Gordon that spurred me into journalism evben before meeting him in person, it was not until 1992 when I entered Fourah College that I had the opportunity to interact with him more personally.  Under the auspices of the Pan African Union, Richie would endure the harsh realities of boarding a cab from Model to campus to study Panafrican literature. Unbelievable at the start about his commitment, with reminiscences of the trumped-up allegation against Richie by the college administration that he “incited” students to demonstrate in 1985, I recalled asking one of my colleague Pan Africanist, Abdul Karim Bah a rather skeptical question of “how come this man is so committed to come up college to study with us”?. The response I got flabbergasted me.  “Let us study with him….he is a brain our country should be proud of”, Bah casually responded.

Spurred by his forthrightness and dedicated passion to serve as the voice for the voiceless majority, my interest in journalism caught fire and became an active member of the press reporting for the defunct Newbreed newspaper until the proscription of the paper in 1993 following our arrest as a result of that “strasser and the 43 million diamond deal scandal” publication. In one of his visits whilst in incarceration, Olu further rekindled my spirits when he not only comforted me, but also left me with the exhilarating words of “this is part of the struggle’.

Indeed, it was part of the “struggle” that my colleagues and I later on imbibed during our student leadership roles that eventually made us challenge the status quo that warranted the central government then to unleash armed personnel on us at the Parade grounds, and sent us into exile in 1997 following students’ demonstrations against the AFRC junta coup.  However, in all of these, we were never deterred as some of us returned with renewed hope to modestly contribute to nation building through advocacy for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Richie Gordon knew the type of war he was fighting; injustice, corruption, nepotism and political compromises against the people. In such a situation, he was sure to encounter the wrath of those against change, including unfortunately some colleagues in the press.  Therefore, the death of Richie may have come to symbolize the death of a sustained campaign against the very vices the journalism icon and human rights activist stood for.  Nothing could have been better said about Richie than what my friend, Oswald Hanciles pointed stated that “…during the SLPP days of President Tejan Kabbah, it was the richest and most powerful men in society-as politicians; as crooked business men; as dubious civil society leaders-who apparently feared Olu Gordon. Olu Gordon had the track record of ALWAYS bringing a corrupt person down whenever he would turn his journalistic pen against him/her…”.

Therefore, even a marathon tribute to Richie may not pacify him in his eternal resting place unless and until someone fills the void in the consistent advocacy on behalf of marginalized youth and women, a sustained campaign against political and economic graft and the respect for human rights generally. And to this, as I write this piece, will some of us renew our commitment to do just that in honour of the late Richie Olu Awoonor-Gordon, an iconic journalist, a revered human rights campaigner, an illustrious academic and a distinguished voice for the voiceless.

May his soul rest in perpetual peace!!!.

(courtesy Newstime Africa)

Adieu My Godfather in Journalism : Olu Gordon
 by Ngozi Obi Sesay 
Adieu Olu Gordon....Your Works We Will Forever Cherish
I first met Olu Gordon in 2003 while on holiday in my first year at Fourah Bay College. I noticed an advert for a reporter in his paper and immediately wrote an application which I forwarded to Peep's Savage Street office. When I eventually found the office and proceeded to climb the stairs, the first thing I noticed was that the whole place smelt of cigar. When I got to the top floor and entered Olu office after a booming voice ordered me in, I got the full blast of it.

He was immediately taken by me I believe because of my name and 'Nigerian connection'. There and then we did a short semi interview and was told to start the following Monday so I can categorically say that it was at the Peep Magazine that I started my stint in journalism. Sadly I cannot recall what it was I wrote about but it gave me such a thrill to see that my piece was on one of the country's most read newspapers even though it was not given a byline. As a new reporter I think it was for this very reason that I lost interest in writing for him and resuming college meant that concentrated less on my new found job.
Our paths crossed again in 2004 as I concluded my diploma year and were in the process of writing my 'project'. He was very much helpful in providing materials which till his dying day he never asked for. Of course he was one of those whom I dedicated the work to as I had been assessing the contribution of the media in post conflict Sierra Leone and besides being an archives, he recounted personal tales of the war years (I was blessedly out of the country all those 11 years) and with his insight I was able to critically analyze the role the media had played in attaining and sustaining the hard won peace.

We kept in touch through out my stay in the university with him always telling me that I could do much with regards women's issues. He was always urging me to become a women's activist with the use of my pen because he felt I could make a difference but I never got far with it. The last time we really spent time together was two days before the 2007 general elections which was when I left to Liberia. I had gone to give him a copy of my final year dissertation which he had also helped me with and also to say goodbye for I knew not when I would be returning to town.

A day after I returned to Freetown I gave birth so I was very much occupied with motherhood though I took time out to make him see the baby when she was about eight months old (he was clearly besotted with her with him cooing and all). After this I rarely saw him except at public functions but it was always such a pleasure for him to acknowledge me or even chat with me.

Olu may be known for his moods but somehow he and I got on very well and I always admired him so much. Whenever I visited him he would take his time and explain about the Nigerian side of his family, talk about his wife and kids and was always proud to show me their pictures. While a student I rarely missed reading his paper and sometimes I'll shake my head say to myself in the event of his death there will never be another literary giant as great as Olu simply because his style was unique.

Upon his death I regret how many times I passed his office in a car and would say to myself that I'll make time out to see him soon. He was who he was, we will never have another Olu Gordon or the style Peep Magazine adopted (Fifi the dog and other columns like 10 things), he simply was an enigma unto himself.

You are sadly missed!

Ngozi Obi Sesay
(Courtesy Standard Times Press Sierra leone)

Adewole John 1948-2011

By Isreal O Parper, Former President- APC UK (1982-1992)and Ireland and First National Auditor- APC Youth League, Freetown (1971)
First Secretary General and Former Chairman, Sierra Leone Grammar School Old Boys Association UK

Today, we have laid our brother, our friend, our uncle, our son, our father etc. to rest, and now we assemble here to observe the new culture of celebrating the life of someone who passes on, rather than morning his loss. Let me take this opportunity to express my deepest sympathy to the family as a whole.
Thomas Decker- that renowned son of the Sierra Leone soil, in one of his many translations of known literary texts into the KRIO language, wrote in the Daily Guardian in 1965 thus:
“Padi dem, kontri, una ahl wey dey na Rom,
Mek una ohl kak una yeys.
 A kam ber siza, an nor kam preyz am,
Dem kin member bad we pohsin kin du, lohng ten afta di pohsin kin dohn dai;
 Boht, plenty tem, di gud wey pohsin du, ken ber wit in bon dem....”
Many of you would recognise this piece in its familiar fashion:- “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Ceaser not to praise him...” etc. etc
I have known Adewole for over 50 years. As a fellow Regentonian, (Registration number 5317- class of1957). We ‘rubbed shoulders’ together in the Grammar School at Fourah Bay Road, Freetown, where we exchanged infantile political discus, together with the likes’ of SALAMY COKER, BILLY JONES, (both of whom have left these shores as well). After leaving school, we became engaged in real politics as members of the ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS (APC) YOUTH LEAGUE. A little later, we surgeoned “overseas” to further our education but still did not leave the political virus behind. Its buried in our bones.

Over 2000 years ago, Plato (the famous Philosopher) observed that: of all the animals, [in the world] the boy child is the most difficult – unmanageable, disruptive, conflict with authority with a propensity for risk taking. All of us ‘boy pekin dem’ here, have some traits of these symptoms in our lives.  Plato’s observation was re-enforced in a BBC World Service Radio discussion sometime ago: Generation Next; The question –‘Are Kids So Difficult- Why?- again showed the boy child on top, in the issues raise. Between 13 to17, he is likely to be involved in small criminal activities, [consciously or unconsciously]; by 21, he is most likely to be a victim of crime. The pre-frontal cortex - the front part of his brain - is said to be there for him to organise everything. By the time he gets to adolescence, he uses more of it but, he is less adept in controlling behaviour without the capacity of evaluating wrongs and rights. He develops high degree of emotions; lives in denial; pays attention more closely to social factors, develops higher risk habits, challenge authority, order and traditional values, in a more defiant and distinctive manner- most of which is directed to ‘Novelty’ seeking. 
Without being ultra critical of my deceased brother, I am sure you will agree with me that Adewole’s active life history fits into most, if not, all of the above. This was a man with a heart of gold; a heart as big as the aeroplane that brought him from Sierra Leone to the UK in the 1968. He may not have been politically excitable in many ways, and may sometimes be seen as an impatient sneeze, looking for a vacant nose, but yet, possessed an eclectic independence of spirit. He was an interesting mix of facts and fancy! Like an orchestra in its own form, Adewole was like an organism in his own right. Regardless of his outside envelopes and fractious difficulties, arising from spells of multiple activities, he sometimes engages himself in the doctrine of positive neutrality and go all out to bear minimum relations with everybody. This is a necessary evil because, a simple trivial issue may be the bedrock for conflict and hatered. His philosophy appears to be enshrined upon the theory that ‘You can learn many things from Ceaser, he made a speech from his golden chair and when he had finished, his friends killed him…’  Adewole will never be caught in that yet, throughout his life, he fumbles with complications: whether in love, politics, social constructs and even religion.
He believed in himself and in his ideas, firmly and positively. His thinking process about ‘evils’ such as poverty, oppression, exploitation, appeared to be meticulous and factual; and when he had decided rationally in his construct, he opposed them with all the passion he was capable of unleashing. He firmly and positively believed in identity, equality and community.

In January 1976, he joined in the literary debate about the universality of the KRIO language and the search for a common and International language for Africa.
  From his contribution to this debate in West Africa Magazine (5th January 1976, page 7) he wrote thus: “…In post colonial Africa, our desire to rediscover our lost heritage is turning us more and more into isolationist; forsaking almost everything Western and extolling the virtues of almost anything African…” 
One could envisage his feelings and desire for belonging-for pure identity to the cause - an attachment to his roots and not let go of the values inculcated from what he had inherited. This passion translates and depicts the true nature of Adewole John (or John Adewole). Articulate, self indulgent and emotional yet pragmatic, ideological and ready to shift the dynamics as he sees fit. But that was Adewole John: you get what you see. Like the late President Gerald Ford once said: “I am a Ford, not a Lincon”. There was only one Adewole John and no carbon copy, no replica.
So we must not even try to begin to understand the complexities of our brother, our father, our friend. The reasons for getting into the mix of Sierra Leone politics since age 14/15 at school, to fully participating in the success of the APC in 1967 elections under Dr Siaka Stevens; the ‘Marshall law’ intervention of Brigadier David Lansanah in stifling the victory; the coups and counter coups of the period before he travelled to the UK, {Colonel Andrew Juxon-Smith’s National Reformation Council – (NRC) and the Anti- Corruption Revolutionary Movement – (ACRM); His surprised defection from the APC Party to join Dr John Karefa –Smart’s UDP together with Dr Mohamed Forna, Ibrahim Taqi and his brother Olufemi  John-with whom together we morn today- and all the troubles that generated: His involvement in the siege in 1971 in seizing the Sierra Leone High Commission and proclaimed himself ‘the new high commissioner’ over the BBC World Service, leading to prosecution at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London and freed thanks to QC Sir Dingle Foot. This was triggered by the execution of Brigadier John Bangura for his violent, messy and bungled attempted coup on 23/24th March 1971.  Mix all that with the dignity of being a father, a renowned ACTOR, a man of good heart, a good friend and above all - A REGENTONIAN!
Let me conclude by reading a verse or two from the eminent musician YUSUF ISLAM ‘S (Cat Stevens) Album-An Other Cup- who like Adewole embraced the ISLAMIC FAITH in place of his Catholic background and upbringing…

 You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause whether you’re right or you’re wrong
We’re gonna know what you’ve done; We’re going to see where you belong in the end
You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause whether you are black or you’re white
We’re gonna know who’s right; We’re going to see you in the light – in the end
O every little thing you do, You’ d better know its coming back to you

You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause one day you’re gonna die
And good’s going high; And evil’s going down- in the end

You can’t bargain with the truth; whether you are old or young
We’re going to see what you’ve done, There’ll be nowhere to run - in the end.

You can’t bargain with the truth; whether you’re rich or you’re poor
You’re going to meet at the same door; You’re going to know the real score - in the end.
And if you want to help your fellow man, You better start with what’s in your hand……
You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause whether you’re right or you’re wrong
We’re gonna know what you’ve done; We’re going to see where you belong - in the end

You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause if the world you chose
No further than your nose, will be where the door will close – in the end.

You can’t bargain with the truth; ‘Cause for those who where deceived
There’ll be no reprieve, There’ll be no time to believe – in the end
O every little thing you do, You better know it’s coming back to you
You can’t bargain with the truth; “Cause one day you are going to die
And good’s going high, And evil’s going down – in the end

When butterflies leave their silk palaces; and the scent of the garden blows towards Heaven’s way; Like the toils of man, those who worked for tomorrow, Will not miss the dreams of yesterday.


Edward Wilmot Blyden III, the only surviving grandson of the great West African savant, Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) of Liberia
peacefully passed away in his sleep at his residence in Freetown Sierra Leone on October 10th. He was 92 years old. Professor Blyden served the country as 
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the former USSR, Eastern Europe and East Germany from 1971-1974, and the Sierra Leone Mission to the 
United Nations-1974-1976. From 1976-1980, he served as Adviser to President Siaka Stevens. He was a charismatic figure in pre-independent Sierra Leone, 
who stirred the imagination of youth and some of the educated class with his creation of the Sierra Leone Independence Movement: designed to educate and instruct political
parties on self-determination and direction in attaining independence from the British Colonial Government. Prominent members of the movement were the 
West Indian pan-African George Padmore , Kwame Nkrumah, Chief Tamba Songou Mbriwa of Gbense Chiefdom, Kono, with whom he later co-founded the Sierra Leone
Independent Progressive Movement which held similar objectives in 1955. In the pre-elections of 1957, the movement did not win which disappointed not only Blyden, 
but also Nkrumah and Padmore who were struggling to create an integrated West African region to pre-empt the insidious influence of neocolonialism.
Edward Blyden left Sierra Leone to complete his studies at Harvard University and attained a Phd in 1960. He was appointed lecturer of Political Science 
and Extra Mural Studies at the newly opened University of Nigeria at Nsukka-The first in Nigeria to offer an indigenous curriculum. 
He became the university's first public orator. With the onset of the Biafra war in Nigeria he returned to Sierra Leone in 1968 to lecture at Fourah Bay College. 
He became the University of Sierra Leone's most charismatic public orator. In 1971, he was invited by Siaka Stevens to represent the country as Ambassador. 
He was instrumental in negotiating a treaty between the Rumanian Government and Sierra Leone for the construction of the Bumbuna Hydro-electric dam, 
trade with Hungary and Sierra Leone. At the United Nations Blyden was actively vocal on the Palestinian Question debates of 1975. In 1980, 
he was invited by the University of Liberia to speak on the 100th anniversary of the of Liberia College. His speech made an impact on the Liberian student population 
who circulated copies of the speech which they memorized. Edward Wilmot Blyden III received many distinguished awards including the 
United Nations Peace Medal for 1977, Doctor of Letter degrees from Lincoln University and the University of Nigeria, 
Nsukka and an award of Recognition from St. Thomas Virgin Island, his grandfather's birthplace. He is survived by his wife, 
Professor Amelia Elizabeth Blyden, eight children, and many grand and great-grandchildren in the United States and England. 

Toyin Falola Department of History The University of Texas at Austin 1 University Station Austin, TX 78712-0220 USA 512 475 7224 512 475 7222 (fax)

Abdul Aziz Rashid

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Abdul Aziz Rashid - our brother, father, nephew, uncle, cousin and friend. This sad event took place on Friday, October 8, 2010 at home and was pronounced dead at the Doctors Community Hospital, Lanham, Maryland, USA.
Abdul was born on March 29, 1959 in Sumbuya, Lugbu Chiefdom, Southern Province of Sierra Leone, West Africa. He was born unto the union of the Honorable Karim Rashid and Madam Yewah Rashid, nee Bangali of Kuadima in Sumbuya, Sierra Leone (both parents pre-deceased him).
He received his primary education at the Kissy Primary School, and his secondary education at the Albert Academy, where he excelled with distinction. Mr. Rashid received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Cuttington University in Suacoco, Liberia, 1982. He started his professional career with the Meridian and Euro banks in Liberia, as the vice president.
Thereafter, Abdul moved to the United States in 1994 to further his studies at the University of Denver in Colorado, where he was awarded a Masters in Accountancy (MAcc.) degree. Subsequently, he worked in various financial institutions, including Meryl Lynch in Denver, Colorado, as a Financial Planner. Abdul also worked as Project Accountant for the National Council of University Research Administrators and the Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C.
Abdul, a quiet and peaceful man, leaves to mourn his loss: his three children, Ahmed, Rakie and Abdul, Jr.; his former wife, Dr. Nau Domah; members of the Rashid, Bannister, Brewah, Gebeh, Sandi, Nallo, Jabati, Muana, Gombeh, Abdulai, Moriba, Koroma, George, Stevens, Tucker, and Bangali families; special friends Jay Bowman, Martha, Saffie and Dr. Martin Kaba; along with many other relatives and friends in Sierra Leone, Liberia and the U.S.A.
May His Soul Rest In Perfect Peace!

Contacts for additional information
Rakie Rashid-Sandi: 240-491-2156; Fatima and Salami Rashid: 240-705-5378, Mathias Bannitser: 202-553-8592; Gladys Bannister: 703-608-2394; Suna Nallo: 410-412-4311; Massah Kallon: 856-534-9840; Miatta Gebeh: 202-758-4712; Satta Nallo: 301-330-8689; Yambasu Brewah: 301-613-6965;

A Father's Grief  

TributeTo My Dear Son, Leonard Balogun Koroma Jnr.

From Leonard Balogun Koroma Snr.

It’s barely five months ago that I gave a befitting tribute to my late mother at St. Philip’s Church in Freetown.
Today, one of the worst things that could happen to any parent or family has just happened to me and my family. On Monday September 13th, 2010 at about 9.45am at the Choithram Memorial Hospital, Hill Station, we lost our 26 year old son, Leonard Balogun Koroma Jnr during surgery for appendicitis. Balogun  Jnr had returned to his native land from the United States of America, 3 weeks earlier to explore the possibility of returning home finally to join me in my business and take over as my eldest son and heir. You could see the happiness and relief on his face on his homecoming. He was robustly healthy and strong, at least outwardly and showed no signs of illness. I wanted him to take over my business so that I could have more time to engage in what I love most; Politics and helping the less fortunate in society. However, God had a different plan for him.

On Sunday evening while in Kono on a trip, my wife called to inform me that Balogun had complained of severe stomach pains, which interestingly he had never experienced during his 18 years stay in the United States of America. I told her to take him to the Choithram Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed for appendicitis and slated for surgery the next morning; Monday the 13th, yes that unlucky number 13. The rest is history. My dear son, a complete replica of myself passed away on the operating table and never came out alive from what was supposed to be minor surgery.

When an event like Balogun’s death happens to other people, we think perhaps that these sorts of terrible things should not happen to us. We convince ourselves that these are tragedies that happen to other people; even though we know that accidents do happen and misfortune visits many families in the world. Yet there is something that prevents us from thinking that such a tragedy can befall someone we know. We take it for granted that fathers will pass on their inheritance to their sons. That is how we assume, it is supposed to happen. A son will take his place and read the eulogy for his father. He will extol the virtues of a long life and maintain his father’s name. A son will grow older. He may have children of his own. To them he will in turn pass on what he has learned. He will grow up to be a man and fulfill his father’s expectations of him. When things don’t happen in that order to fit our expectations, we are left trying to make sense of what happened. What then is the point of life if we cannot read the road map or fulfill our destinies? Why we are not prepared for the unthinkable?

Perhaps we will never know the answer to those questions, at least in our lifetimes. What we do know is the pain and the frustration that we have felt over the last 2 weeks. We know what it is to feel anger and impotence in the face of a loss that we find difficult, if not impossible to comprehend. Yet we know that even today we must find a way forward
If we are to continue with our lives and pay tribute to Balogun Jr., who has been taken away from us so suddenly.
Balogun has been taken from us; We as a family, and I as a devout Christian and as a Mason accept it as the will of God and have accepted the unthinkable and inevitable.

When I met my wife Mrs. Hawa Logus Koroma about 34 years ago in 1976, we had no guarantee that God would bless us with children or a son we would name Balogun Jnr. God then gave us Balogun and now God has taken Balogun away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Scientists’ over the centuries have tried unsuccessfully to create life. The closest they have come are robots, clones and human cells; but they have never been able to synchronize things and produce a human being and I am sure they never will, because that secret belongs to God and to God only. We will therefore blaspheme and sin if we start asking questions about Balogun’s death and advance reasons why it should not have happened. We are therefore not asking any questions, except to thank God for his life and 2 years old daughter, Leah Marie Koroma who I now want to introduce to you together with her mother Kristin and her parents who are here from the United States of America for the funeral.

Balogun is gone, but will always be a part of us. His only daughter, Leah Marie will never replace our child, but will remind us of him whenever we see her, reminding us of his gesture, his looks and his very nature. She is a legacy to us and we will always cherish the legacy. Thank you Kristin and family and we hope that you will continue visiting us whenever you can. As we console ourselves, we also console Kristin and her family for this great and irreparable loss.

Balogun’s achievements were many. He lived his life to the best of his ability and we must draw comfort from that. We must remember that he is in another place where the things that consume us perhaps do not matter.

Today we are remembering our son and what he meant in our lives. Put simply he enriched our days. As we say our final goodbyes we ask for the courage to go on without him. Someday, somehow, sometime we will come to terms with our loss. Time will; we are told; help heal the wound but today it is a raw and aching wound.

I will not conclude without giving thanks and appreciation first to the Almighty God for his short life, President Ernest Bai Koroma and First Lady Madam. Sia Nyama Koroma; Vice President Sam Sumana and Lady Kadia Sumana for their tremendous support; and all our family friends at home and abroad too numerous to mention for their assistance in so many diverse ways in giving us the strength and courage to face these challenging period in our lives.

Let me close by reading this eulogy verse:

"Nature it seems stands on its head

When you mourn the loss of a son

Today we remember his life with us

                                  The years of laughter and fun                                           ,

We’re thinking of all the times that we shared

  And though we are bowed with grief

Today we celebrate the son we once had

Because it is our firm belief

That his life enriched us in so many ways

Brought sunshine and happiness into our days

And though we are heartbroken and very sad

Today we admit that we’re also glad

That we had him, if only for too short a while

Not yet but sometime we’ll remember and smile."