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Professor Eldred Jones & H.E. Eddie Turay Launch 'JOLLIBOY!' Book in Freetown & London
By Sylvia Blyden (in London) and Dauda Koroma (in Freetown) [Some of the London photos by Humphrey Cole]
Sep 20, 2010, 12:00
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Retired Principal of Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Professor-Emeritus Dr. Eldred Durosimi Jones and Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Britain, His Excellency Edward Mohamed Turay have respectively launched the Autobiography of 90 years old Sierra Leonean politician Solomon Pratt in two separate events; the second held in Freetown yesterday Sunday 19th September 2010 and the first held a week earlier in Britain on September 12th 2010.

The autobiography book called "JOLLIBOY - A Most Un-Ordinary African Boy" was launched at St. Mark's Church Hall in Mitcham, London at a jam-packed occasion that saw attendees from all walks of life, all political and social strata and from all over Great Britain in attendance. H.E. Eddie Turay told the gathering that he cut short a trip to Germany to fly over back to London so he could be present to "honour and hail a living legend from Sierra Leone".

Solomon Pratt shows that although he is 90 years old, his fingers are still very much adept on the Piano as he played Christian Tunes

"I am here to salute you Sir. You inspired me as a young lawyer to one day be just like you. Let me confess that I would attend court just to witness you talk. I used to write down the big English words you would use in Court so I could also use them the next day. In politics, you were my mentor I could look up to for wise counsel. You were and still are one of the best of the crop of politicians that Sierra Leone has ever produced. You are a living legend Sir and we are all proud of you!" H.E. Eddie Turay emotionally told the Author to loud applause.

Earlier, Turay was introduced to the gathering in London by the grand-daughter of Professor Pratt, Awareness Times Publisher Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who described H.E. Edward Turay as one of the people who has been and continues to be an inspiration to her and whom she would never hesitate to defend from attacks by unfair detractors.

Pratt's Grand-daughter Sylvia Olayinka Blyden taking down notes from the High Table as H.E. Eddie Turay spoke

H.E. Eddie Turay addresses the Audience about his admiration for S.A.J. Pratt as he prepares to launch the Book

The Author giving a recap of the contents of the Book as the High Commissioner Eddie Turay listened with smiles.

That was in London a week ago.

The Book was again launched yesterday for Freetown readers at an event that saw attendees defy the thundering rain to attend the occasion hosted at L'Evangelina, 2 Sugar Loaf Road, Regent Village.

In yesterday's Launching Ceremony the Chairman of the programme, National Ombudsman Hon. Mr. Justice Edmund K. Cowan said he was humbled by the call from the Author to chair the launching. Justice Cowan in reviewing the book, warned that initially in the early pages, the book is difficult to understand but as you read along you will get to grasp that you were reading the work of a brilliant mind who interwove you into his life through the pages of the book. He said the book takes one "deep into a journey that follows the life of the author" adding that those who will get to read the book "will know that the author is a man of the State, a man of the Bar, a man of the Masonic craft who is a versatile man". Justice Cowan urged all to ensure they purchase a copy of the book as it imparted a lot of knowledge.

Chair of National Commission for Democracy Mr. George Colderidge Taylor, National Ombudsman Justice Edmund K. Cowan and Professor-Emeritus Eldred Jones in Prayers at the High Table

Chairman of the Occassion, Justice Edmund Cowan giving lofty salutations to the Author Solomon Pratt

Professor-Emeritus Dr. Eldred Jones who had also read the book before the launching stated that the Book was that of a man who has served his people under the leadership of all the three Prime Ministers; Sir Milton Margai, Sir Albert Margai and Dr. Siaka Stevens. He opined that some will find the book to be controversial but that he was himself of the opinion that what Solomon Pratt recounted was a reflection of true happenings of his life and events in Sierra Leone.

Solomon Athanasius Jolliboy Pratt shown yesterday at his L'Evangelina Residence where the Launching took place

This photo shows the 90 years old Solomon Pratt at the Book Launching in London

In his statement, the Author Solomon Pratt warned that the present effort is intended as a personal record of some of his experiences through life and should not be seen as an academic piece of work. He stated that it is not a treatise on the History of Sierra Leone or of the Gambia, and it should not be misconstrued as such. He had made similar sentiments during the launching of the book a week earlier in London. Pratt said that in his book he re-counts the story of his life especially the problem he faced in the early years.

Professor Pratt mentioned some articles that are inside the book such as him being a Starch selling lad forced to miss elementary school session one morning every week, and on one occasion miraculously escaping the claws of a leopard; his frustration at the sudden death of a maternal grand Uncle who had promised to be financial responsible for his secondary school education, narrowly escaping assassination at the hand of a Liberian pupil at the C.M.S Grammar school, entering the Civil Service to be dispatched to the Provinces where he was left out in the cold (with his grandmother, Mama Eva who had accompanied him).

A Cross-section of the Guests at the Christian Service held at St. Marks Church before the Launching. All the seats and Galleries were overflowing

Cross-section of the Invited Guests at the Reception 'Awujoh' held for the Book Launching

Opposition SLPP Presidential Aspirant Alpha Wurie and Ruling APC Party Strongman Lawyer Isik Seray-Wurie sat together. Guests included people from all walks of life and all political persuasion.

The Author highlighted that the book will enable readers to take a glimpse at the problem of corruption in the days of Prime Ministers Sir Milton S. Margai, Sir Albert Margai and Siaka P. Stevens, and in the days of Joseph S. Momoh, the internal workings of the Cabinet System, Political dissidents, the transformation from a Monarchical (dominion status) constitution to that of an Executive Presidency.

He also revealed that the book gave some firsthand information about indigenous social practices such as Krio Birth Rites and the power of Traditional healers. He also recounts about the farming organizations of peasant rice farmers in the Scarcies Region of Sierra Leone.

Author Pratt said it took him ten (10) good years to compile the book as he started when he was 80 years old and he was now almost 90 years. He thanked his late wife, Victoria, his children and grand-children for encouraging him throughout that time. He also thanked the Book's publisher, Dr. Prince Hycy Bull in America for his patience with him and finally he thanked and praised God for giving him such a long and fruitful life.

The Freetown Event was attended by the creme de la creme of Sierra Leone's academia, legal luminaries, Masonic Brothers and family and friends of the Author. Both of the events; in London last week and again in Freetown yesterday, were extremely successful.

The Reverend Mrs. Hannah Neale who rendered the thought-provoking Christian Sermon in the Church

Two of Pratt's British Guests clutching their precious copy of JOLLIBOY outside the Church Premises

Emmanuel J. Stafford, a young APC Activist in London collects his autographed copy from the Author

Copies of the book can be purchased in Freetown from

  • Mrs. Antoinette Roberts, former Principal of the Annie Walsh at 23 Frazer Street, Off Wilkinson Rd,
  • Mrs. Thelma Conteh of the NRA at 25 Frazer Street,
  • Dr. Sylvia Blyden of Awareness Times Newspaper at 17 Garrison Street
  • Mr. Binji Pratt of 2 Sugar Loaf Road in Regent.

In England, it can be obtained from Prof. Solomon A.J. Pratt at 24 Sir Arthur Bliss Court, 210 London Road Mitcham, Surrey.

The Book can also be purchased live at on the Internet.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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