The Open Society Initiative for West Africa is seeking applications for its Poets’ Residency. West African poets, of any age, residing in Africa are eligible to apply. The residency supports a poet who desires an Indaba in energetic Dakar, Senegal. The 4-day residency will be led by two African poets and culminate in the publishing of a poetry collection. Please click here for more information.
Andrew Keili's shrewd, introspective, oftentimes hilarious commentaries in Ponder My Thoughts Vol. 1 are much like the opinion articles he wrote in the mid-2000s, when he explained post-war Sierra Leone, its management, or lack of it, in local, regional, and national government.
How we see things depends on where we stand on Sierra Leonean--ness, society, and politics.
Keili's book, Ponder My Thoughts, captures a year (2013) in observations and stories, but it's not a time capsule. It's information you can use—contemporary Sierra Leonean history pieced together one op-ed at a time.
Remember that debate surrounding misuse of funds from GAVI? The global vaccine alliance that buys vaccines with Gavi funding, procured through UNICEF directly with the manufacturer, and delivered to low-income countries like Sierra Leone?
Keili's columns start with the uncompromising subject of misuse of funds in public life and how Sierra Leone doesn't learn from mistakes.
From the harbour, a long sand-bank stretches across the entrance, or rather estuary, and it must be approached on the south point, on which is Carpenter's rock, to be seen at low water but covered at high, which ships safely avoid by taking a wide berth...The only danger to be apprehended is during the Tornado season, when such is its violence that ships are frequently driven from their anchors. The appearance of the Colony from sea is particularly marked by a high-peaked mountain, which, from its conical shape, is commonly called the “sugar-loaf” in the neighborhood of which are three other hills of minor attraction. The most elevated is seen above the clouds, and may be described at the distance of thirty or forty miles, perhaps more, long before the low land. (William Whitaker Shreeve. Sierra Leone: The Principal British Colony on the Western Coast of Africa, 1847 pp 21.).
Freetown's peninsula is about 18 miles long from north-west to south-east by about 12 broad. It lies bet…
In this archive photo, Solomon A.J. Pratt (left), I. Taylor-Kamara, and George Coleridge-Taylor (right) look on as Pratt led the debate fighting for China at the United Nations in October 1971.
In this photo, George H. Bush is arguing for
China not to enter the UN but for Taiwan to stay. According to the official UN website archives, "America's George Bush failed because Sierra Leone defeated him on behalf of China in 1971."
Fast forward forty-five years.
When the Honorable Solomon Pratt paid homage to George Coleridge-Taylor at his funeral in late May 2016, Pratt spoke glowingly of Coleridge-Taylor's role in the United Nations debate that got China's rights restored at the UN.
According to Awareness Times, a newspaper founded by Pratt's granddaughter, Sylvia Blyden, the old All People's Congress grandee paid tribute to Coleridge-Taylor for his help in what he called "one of the most famous debates" at the United Nations.