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Sierra Leone News: Tribute: Adieu My Friend

junior-johnSamuel John always a fine gentle soul unlike me, made sure he left the hassle and bustle of Lagos to return to peaceful Freetown, immediately there was some sanity after the war.
I stayed back till the end of 2002 in fact December 31, 2002 to be precise was the day I returned home not knowing where to start all over again.
Just strolling along Cotton Tree in the Centre of town, I heard somebody enthusiastically shouting my name “Jay Willie- Jay Willie”, I stopped thinking who knew me so well this short time I was back.
I was greeted with a hug and dragged to Awoko offices while all the time telling me that he had already told his Proprietor and boss Kelvin Lewis that I was back and should be drafted into the Awoko family.
After two attempts, I finally met Kelvin Lewis another quiet gentleman and we hit it off immediately.
That was in 2003 and for the next two years we worked like we did in the past.
Okay so lets go back to the past when Sam Metzger and Arika Awuta Coker where the two best Editors in town and We Yone was the best newspaper in town.
A crop of dedicated young men, where reporters second home was We Yone. John Kolosa Kargbo, James Williams (I was baptized Jay Willie then because my full name was too long for a by-line by hand-picked letter press), Kabba Kargbo, Samuel John, and others who joined later.
Those where the days when 1041 our cookery joint was our main-base after a hard coverage and the coasting money was all put into a large tray of potato leaves and rice. It was there that the gentleman krio boy Samuel John learnt to ‘mondor’.
On Sunday mornings after production and sleeping overnight on hard wooden tables, we would drive to distribute the papers to the Minister’s quarters and then to my house at Glasgow Street Wilberforce where we all ate my cold foo-foo.
My friend and colleague never saw John Kolosa Kargbo again because he died in Lagos and that was the only other time I wept like a baby while identifying the corpse and while committing him.
Kabba Kargbo died in Freetown during the war after describing that rebels were coming from the hills into Freetown ‘like manna from heaven.’ Conrad Roy also a close friend of the group and of the Leonean Sun and Weekend Spark, Roy Stevens, John Roc Kargbo and all have gone leaving me THE LAST MAN STANDING. Kabs Kanu is in the US and so the 55 Bass Street gang and their Birds Custard exploit courtesy of Mama Marie’s grandchild.
However, these and more exploits will always be told when we continue the story of the life and times of Samuel John.
By Jay Willie
Friday September 30, 2016

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