VOICE FROM MATEBOI : When an American journalist dies……



When an American Born Journalist Die…

By Jonathan Abass Kamara

This piece is not a tribute but a message and lesson for all practicing journalist.

Late Manjia Balima Samba Nee Parkinson

Death is a necessary end it comes when it would come. The end of a female popular journalist, Manjia Parkinson came at 42 years in July 24, 2016 with a big blow to family friends, media colleagues and her family. When I listened to the numerous glowing tributes at her vigil in the Bo City Hall and the Winners Chapel International Church, Bo branch from Rose Konima Stevens, Princess Gibson, Ibrahim Batilo Mattia, Dan Parkinson and others representing the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL), the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), the Family, and the Government of Sierra Leone ably represented by Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux,  I decided with spiritual emotion to title this story, “ The American Born Journalist”.

Many beautiful names were given to the late woman by friends and colleagues in the media but I listened to the tribute given by her elder brother, Dan Parkinson that he used to call her during their teenage days ‘American Born’, a name that eventually saw her in America, and returned home with smiles from the White House, and then said to myself what God has destined no man can change, and the voice of man is the voice of God. In Latin, we say: “Vox populi vox dee”.

The fondly name by Parkinson never fell on thorns or the way side but with the grace of the Almighty.

The divine tribute triggered spiritual emotions, and I smartly snatched the ‘American born’ name from the lips of my brother and colleague Dan Parkinson to make my headline and caption real.

Let me now hurriedly come to the Gospel truth of my story about the American Journalist: Manjia was the second funeral service of a journalist I attended in Bo.

The first fallen journalist was somebody who also made his mark before his death, late Prince Brima of blessed memory. But you would agree with me that the honour and respect given to late Manjia both in Bo and Freetown was historic and unique on the lineage of our colleague fallen journalists. People of all walks of life paid their last respect, and it makes history for us journalists.

The Honourable Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, former Minister of Information and Communications and the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux sat by me that beautiful sunny day, and we were all gracefully going with the service when the church thought it wise that these honourable men in our midst deserves a place in the alter and respectfully gave them seats among a battery of clergies. Cornelius and I. B. Kargbo are also professional journalists who made names for themselves before going into politics, and such recognition must serve as a lesson for all practicing journalists. Their invitation to join the battery of clergies came not because of their political positions but also from their track record as responsible journalists.

Journalism is an honourable profession but some of our past colleagues unethically and disgracefully went to their graves because of bad journalism. And in journalism credibility and objectivity is what makes you credible in society, and in the eyes of the public. Don’t allow people to say: “Dan wan day e betteh way e die”. Write for the truth and live for the truth.

Manjia risk her marriage for the truth. Manjia risk her life for the truth. Nobody can challenge that except if you are ignorant of the fact of her professional job.

May light perpetual shine on her, may her soul rest in peace in the hands of the Landlord of life and death. Sleep and take your rest American born.

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