By Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (PhD)
With a heavy heart, I received the news of High Commissioner Peter Penfold’s passing – a dear friend and a true brother. My first encounter with Peter was during our evacuation to Camayenne Hotel in Conakry, just before the rebel invasion of Freetown on January 6th. I last spoke to him several weeks ago while he was in hospital.
Our journey together took us through many memorable moments. From our shared experiences in Oxford and Vienna to the cherished times we spent in Freetown, our families became intertwined in the tapestry of our lives. I will never forget the day Peter and I took a boat ride along the river at his Oxford home, engaging in impassioned discussions about global politics, diplomacy, sustainable development, and his favourite subject – the future of Sierra Leone. Peter’s love for Sierra Leone was unwavering, and he wore the title of “Pa Komrabai” with great pride.
Even when faced with the grim diagnosis that his illness was terminal, Peter made the courageous decision to visit Sierra Leone earlier this year, knowing it might be his last visit. During our time together, we delved into life’s intricacies, my evolving political journey, and the final moments of my beloved Philo. He also expressed his concerns about our collective disinterest in preserving our history and our seeming inability to learn from the lessons of the civil war.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Cylia and the entire family during this difficult time. Farewell, my brother. May you and Philo find solace in the mercies of God Almighty, and may you both rest in eternal peace. (Kky)