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Goodbye to a friend and colleague

Goodbye to a friend and colleague

I was saddened to hear of Olu Ritchie Gordon’s passing and will miss a true friend, colleague, and brother. His untimely death has cut short an illustrious career in the Print media.  (Photo: the late Olu Richie Awoonor-Gordon)

The Book of Common Prayer in our Anglican Communion states that “In the midst of life, we are in death.” However, Hebrews 12:2 instructs us to look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…

In the newsrooms in Sierra Leone there are men and women who produce journalism of excellence day after day, year after year, throughout their careers. But more often than not their work is recognized for its consistent brilliance and Olu Gordon is one that stands above the rest for his satirical PEEP column from the For Di People days until his death at his own paper, Peep Magazine.

Olu has left a legacy of commitment to quality and values that should be the goal of all journalists, a legacy that extends back to the One Party era when he was at Fourah Bay College during the 70’s.

A legend and a gentleman, that was able to bring out the truth and problems affecting the country in a manner that the leaders would digest after reading without getting angry.

And so much more, not the least of which, he was a gentleman, a kind and caring man, a man of warmth and goodwill and good humor, who always was good company within the journalist field as well as in the National Stadium where he was always present enjoying the local league. To many of us, he was a dear friend and counselor. To all of us who know him and worked with him, he was our hero.

Throughout his long tenure as an editor, Olu’s professionalism, dedication and unfailing good humor won him great respect and many friends in Sierra Leone politics and throughout the country as everybody who read Peep magazine wants to know and meet Olu Gordon.

He loved his family and relatives, friends and his journalistic craft, which he was very passionate about. He was a man who saw his journalistic skill as a public service and a way to tell the truth.

As much as he loved journalism, he was in the classroom before and most of the students that passed through him would never forget such a brain.

He clamored for democracy, equal opportunity, liberties, human rights, justice, and freedom. As journalists who stood shoulder to shoulder fighting for those ideals, we must admit few of us ever matched his bravery and sense of sacrifice.

Olu was an excellent writer who believed in high standards of journalism. He was a very good journalist and teacher and throughout his career he drew on his wide journalism experience. He was a very down-to-earth character, very energetic and was very well liked by many. His lasting legacy will be the journalists that worked with him and those who he mentored.

There is life of the spirit in all of us that is as vital to our existence as the hard wearying business of staying fed and alive. It has to do with truth and beauty – words hardly to be mentioned these days and it can be found memorable, lasting ways in our job. In great satirist like Olu, we find this spiritual impulse in a high and precious form.

Goodbye Olu, Sleep and take your rest, you have gone but your legacy left behind will stay with us till we meet again in that beautiful kingdom.

By Austin Thomas

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