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March 18th, 2015

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Lansana Fofana – a courageous and dedicated journalist ​from Sierra Leone, ​who spent his life in pursuit of the under-reported story – working for IPS, BBC, and SABC, among others.

 

Lansana Fofana. Courtesy of Awoko Newspaper

Lansana Fofana. Courtesy of Awoko Newspaper

A graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from Fourah Bay College, Fofana wrote dozens of stories for the IPS wire dating back over a decade. He covered war, military coups, FGM, child soldiers, the post-war tribunal, and of course the battle to contain Ebola.

 

​(Read his articles at: http://www.ipsnews.net/author/lansana-fofana/)​

In 1998, in a piece entitled “A Revolutionary’s Last Wish,” he penned a eulogy for Kwame Toure, aka Stokely Carmichael, a noted U.S. civil rights activist.

He passed away surrounded by his family on March 12, 2015. His brother, Sorie Fofana, called him a great mentor, more like a father than a brother, who groomed him for a journalistic career.

Sorie wrote: “Lans Fofy, as he was called, met with many world leaders including President Bill Clinton, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and former President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone. He practiced his trade in the UK, USA and several West and Southern African countries.

​A colleague, Aroun Rashid Deen, recalled his friend: Lans was probably the youngest trained journalist during his early days in the field. He was dynamic, resourceful and definitive, and no level of barrier ever prevented him from getting to the bottom of the news, from the grass-roots to the presidency. He was always ready to take the lead.

Former President Joseph Saidu Momoh once jokingly described him as stubborn. Many of us aspiring journalists back then found pleasure in this beautiful profession partly due to our admiration of him. Lans also mentored many. He was a man of integrity. Most important he was very funny, very friendly and always the first to smile.

​In a moving tribute, the newspaper Awoko of Sierra Leone published the following, written by Oumar Farouk Sesay, a colleague:

We lost him yesterday Lansana Fofana
whose booming voice lashed the latches of our limitations
cracked the wall of our ignorance and filled the voids within us
in the lost decade of the war years
We buried him yesterday Lansana Fofana
whose perspective shaped our minds
and broadened the scope of our horizons
at a time when the ruffians siege our mentality
We mourned him yesterday Lansana Fofana
whose story angle anchored our resolve
and strengthened our spirit of resilience
against the guns of terror
We wailed for him yesterday Lansana Fofana
whose sincerity to his beliefs exhumed our lies
and lifted our souls to the summit
We buried him yesterday Lansana Fofana
whose courage in telling the tale of the damn
stoke an inferno of courage in our soul
at a time when cowardice was velour
We lost him yesterday Lansfofy
whose sacrifice for the story
Sanctify our sacred rights
We buried him yesterday Lansfofy
Whose nib screeched the pages of the Chronicle
Chronicling the tales of our lives
Yesterday Kelvin Lewis gave a tear laden tribute
To a brother and colleague who gave his best
To right the wrongs in his writing
Yes we were crushed yesterday
We were squashed yesterday
We were devastated yesterday
We were stunned yesterday
We were burnt yesterday
Because yesterday we buried
Lansfofy in plastic sheet

​Lans leaves three children, Adama, Tidankay and Lans Fofy (Jr.)

 

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