By David Keili.
My brother, Christian Katta Keili passed away in Freetown yesterday and part of me died with him. He leaves behind many friends and relatives, some of whom participate in this forum. So, acknowledging/announcing his death here is to share our collective grief.
He went away much too soon and left behind a fathomless void. I had talked with him over the past few weeks, while he was in a private clinic in Freetown. He seemed to be in high spirits the last time we talked, and we discussed, among other things, what he would like to do when he was discharged. His sudden death yesterday, therefore came as a great shock.
We could dwell on the whys, hows and whos of this loss, but it won’t change the immutable fact that I will never see my brother alive again. I will never again hear his deep, slow, drawl, talking back at me. He is gone; someone I loved as deeply as I humanly can, is gone.
Some of you may remember that tall, lanky easy-going fellow with a wry sense of humor. Some of you may remember Christian the upright but personally care-free, self-effacing spirit, who was nonetheless deeply concerned and fought for what was just in society. Some who knew him a little better could attest that he had the innate ability to be anything he wanted, yet chose to dwell in an area (journalism) which he perceived would best complement his sense of social justice. That was his right and no one could deny him that, even though those who loved him most thought it was too high a personal price to pay.
For me, I remember with fondness, the little boy who would play Pastor to the neighbourhood kids, getting some married, baptising others, officiating at mock funerals of still others. In his rebelous teenage years, I could still see the gentle soul struggling to stay relevant in a society whose moral compass was going awry.
This non-comformist yet gentle soul lingered through adulthood and saw journalism as his calling. At the height of the rebel war, it is recounted that Chrisitan became embeded with troops fighting the rebels, going to the war-front.
He came home one day with blood splattered all over his body, much to the alarm of our late father. As it turned out, he had saved the life of a captured rebel who was condemned to summary justice, but he succeeded only after the rebel had received non-fatal blows from a sharp machete. That was Christian, the noncomformist, who thought it too lame to report from the comfort and relative safety of Freetown like most of his contemporaries, but whose gentle soul would ignore the personal danger in confronting the rightious anger of a mob, to save the life of a villain.
My brother, our brother, son, relative, friend is gone; but his memory will linger to my dying days, till our souls re-unite in eternity.
Christian, the Christian has gone to see his Maker. I have lost my most kindred soul. Please pray for us.
David Farley Keili
PS: Funeral arrangements are being made in Freetown, led by Andrew