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What I Learnt At Kula Samba Memorial

What I Learnt At Kula Samba Memorial

Witnessing the Kula Samba honorable event on Monday January 21st 2008 this year, taught me a lot of lessons on how us as human beings can become lions setting upon one another just because of money and power. It was amazing to listen to some of incredible works this beautiful woman, Major Kula Samba, rendered to both the Olivet College where she graduated and to Sierra Leone her home country.

Photo of Kula Samba sits astride a table engraved with the Biblical words THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME

Photo of Kula Samba sits astride a table engraved with the Biblical words:THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME

Major Kula Samba graduated from the Olivet College in 1973 where she acquired a Bachelor’s Degree and went on to acquire a Master’s Degree in Nursing, she worked in this field for sometime before her return to Sierra Leone.

On this honorable day, Monday 21st this year, Miss Kula Samba was honored in commemoration with the celebration day of the late Dr. Martin Luther King for his work of non-violent protest and peace.

The occasion started at 1:30 p.m. with a candle lighting ceremony at the altar of the Olivet Congregational Church, where Kula Samba’s picture was prominently displayed.

L-R Ken-Josiah, Revd Fales and Adeyemi Paul

L-R Ken-Josiah, Revd Fales and Adeyemi Paul

Rev. Michael Fales, a personal friend of Kula Samba whilst she was at Olivet College, introduced Rev. Jack Brown who gave an opening prayer. This was followed with an introduction from Dr. Linda Logan, VP and Dean for student life, who introduced Mr. Maxie C. Jackson, Jr. who contributed a Salute to Dr. King’s life and his protests on peace and integration. The Olivet College Men’s Quartet then rendered a beautiful anthem on Civil war, called “Tenting Night.” The celebration continued with Amnesty International (AI) Representative, Ann Varghese, who gave an overview on AI’s background, and the role it plays worldwide.

Another touching anthem, rendered by the Olivet College Chamber singers called “I Dream a World” echoed in the ceiling of the beautiful church.

President of Sigma-Beta cuts the tape to Theater

President of Sigma-Beta cuts the tape to Theater

Rev. Michael Fales then commenced his tribute to Kula Samba. He gave a story on how Kula came to the USA from Sierra Leone in 1971, to a college special to her, and her people. He stated that, Kula was a very special student on campus and was involved in the Church choir, the International Club, and was a Sigma Beta Sister.

Kula lived with a few families whilst at Olivet College, one particular family where she spent most of her time was with Doris Harrington and her family. Doris was at that time, the Secretary to Dean of Students at Olivet College.

I had lost contact with Kula for a long period of time and it was not until the day her name was mentioned as a lady to be executed, that I started doing a follow up, Rev. Fales lamented! Think of the kindest and gentlest person you have ever known in your life, and think of that person being forcibly tied and shot at close range, that will give you a little idea of what the friends of Kula Samba felt on the day that she was executed.

“Kula was the first African that I knew personally,” Rev. Fales stated. She had a profound impact on my life. After graduating with a MD of Nursing and obtaining a US citizenship, you would then think she was set for life. She had a very good job and was doing very well for herself but amidst the turmoil in Sierra Leone, Kula felt compelled to leave the USA where she had everything, and decided to return home to help the people of Sierra Leone with her experience. Kula then lived to help the people of her country. Samba’s work mostly related to disarming children through a United Nation’s Funded Program. It was during that period of time that Kabba’s administration was overthrown by a Military coup. Kula stayed in Sierra Leone and continued in her work mostly related to children. A year later, Kabba with the aid of Nigerian forces regained power, and that was when the story that began so bright turned ugly.”

Eventually, Rev. Michael Fales tried to find ways and means to save a good old time friend’s life. “I called upon the State Department in Washington, other government bodies, news media, Human Rights Organization, Amnesty International, and many more organizations, as much as I could, but to no avail.”

The only source willing to listen to Rev. Fales’ protest to the execution was the New York Times.

“I even went to the extent of collecting letters from her friends and colleagues here in the USA and faxed them to Kabbah, but I never got a reply from the former president.

Rev. Fales, said he would like to take the opportunity to ask the former president a few questions and lambasted Kabbah for the execution of Kula Samba.

Revd Fales said that all those who had thought by executing Kula Samba, her name would fade away should know that Olivet College is 164 years old and set to exist for a long, long time to come. He pointed out that the theatre to be named for Kula Samba is located right inside in the college library which was the most important building on the entire 164 year old college campus.

“This way the name of Kula Samba will not die, but will live on forever.”

Rev. Fales then invited all present to attend the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Kula Samba Theater.

Rev. Jack Brown closed the ceremony with the words, “We will walk in the life of God.”

Following the occasion during informal chat outside the entrance to the Kula Samba Theatre, Francis Ken Josiah, a retired military officer who worked with Kula Samba said “Kula Samba was a victim of a government whose definition of treason was contrary to the name.”

Sierra Express Media (SEM) was invited to say a few words and I, Adeyemi Paul, CEO of SEM, was proud to take the opportunity to state that I knew a little about Kula Samba at that time of her execution, I was there at that unforgettable event when they were all brought out from a military truck and were called upon one at a time to give a last statement, or word, to their family and friends. That was when Kula Samba stepped down from the truck and was singing a song, “We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome Someday.”

I also thanked the Olivet College for honoring Kula Samba, and keeping her memory alive by naming the beautiful new theatre after her, and dedicating it in memory of her extraordinary life and work.

First published Jan 25, 2008

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