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SLAJ, SWASAL open book of condolence for ‘rock and mentor’ Samuel John

September 20, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) yesterday opened a book of condolence in honour of a fallen colleague, Samuel Alfred Munroe John.

Mr. John, 63, gave up the ghost Monday (12 September) at the Choithram Memorial Hospital at Hill Station in Freetown after a short illness.

Chaired by veteran journalist George S. Khoryama, the ceremony was graced by journalists, friends and family members, including the late man’s widow and two children.  Chaired by veteran journalist George Khoryama, the short ceremony was attended by journalists, friends and family members including the late man’s wife and two children.Chaired by veteran journalist George Khoryama, the short ceremony was attended by journalists, friends and family members including the late man’s wife and two children.

During short tributes, Presidents of SLAJ and SWASAL described the late man, who until his passing was Deputy Editor of Awoko newspaper and senior sports journalist, as someone that was very much passionate about journalism.

SWASAL President, Frank Ernest Magnus Cole, said the late sports journalists was a committed member of his association and served as an executive member from 1996 to 2000 under the Chernor Ojuku Sesa-led executive.

He said he came to know the late man when he was writing for the Independent Newspaper, adding that the latter covered two Olympic Games in Athens and China.

“Junior, as we used to call him, was so passionate about reporting cricket. He has done a lot in improving the journalism profession in Sierra Leone, more especially sports reporting. He has always been with SWASAL,” Cole said in his tribute.

According to him, as a veteran sport journalist, Mr. John also encouraged sport journalists to report on various sporting disciplines in the country.

Mr. Cole stated that the last function the late veteran journalist performed for SWASAL was two weeks prior to his demise when he served as chairman at a presentation of certificates after a successful training for sports journalists at the SLAJ Harry Hansaneh Hall.

SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis described Mr. John as a perfect gentleman who knew very well how to mind his own business, adding that he was very private and never wanted to export his problems to anyone.

“He likes to provoke. He was not always quiet. He will flare up and shout to make his point at press conferences. At Awoko where we work for many years, he was the rock and a mentor. He was proud and content,” said Lewis.

He recalled that the night before he died, he offered to send a car to pick him up for a dinner in honour of a departing international intern but John turned it down, saying he would find his way to the venue.

On behalf of SLAJ, SWASAL and the Awoko family, he console his wife, children and family to be consoled and prayed that they would find comfort to know that Junior, as he was fondly called, was a good man.

A close friend to the late man, Commissioner James Williams of the Independent Media Commission, said his departed friend and colleague was more of a brother than a friend to him as they spent the better half of their adult lives together.

“We were together at ‘We Yone’ newspaper when he joined me there in 1976. We were together as brothers, but today death as separate us. Today is a sad moment for me. When news breaks about his death, it was shocking and I was shattered,” he said.

The event was climax by signing of the book of condolence by a host of journalists. He is due to be interred on 30 September.

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