Kayode Robin Coker: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 August 2021:
“Bra Aki” as we called him was a member of the first Krio Descendants Union (KDU) Chapter in the diaspora (Texas) and past Chairman of KDU Global. I knew him as my senior schoolmate at the Prince of Wales School, Freetown while I was in class with his younger brother Herbert. Aki was a friend, mentor, and a big brother.
He was a sporting legend during those schooldays, excelling in middle distance running and the tug-of-war. We became close friends over the years of our adulthood mainly through online and artistic loves we shared, one of which was contributing to the Leonenet Listserv (where he memorably signed off his posts with the words “Kapu sɛns, nɔ kapu wɔd”). We had transatlantic conversations late into the night about the subjects thrown up by Leonenet postings.
– Na naw yu no aw pɛpɛ at na dↄg yay
– Okuru dↄg na in kin kil lɛpɛt
– Da kaw we se ihn go dↄti rod, na ihn biyɛn go sↄfa.
– Yu nor go gɛt fo kɔpɔ ɛn dɛn yu go ple jege wit dɛbul.
– Man nɔ de tinap pantap yɔni dey sɔk bon.
– Plekech gɛ tɛm fɔ telem.
Aki was one of the contributors to “Beg sɔl nɔ ba kuk sup” (the Sierra Leonean Writers Series anthology of Krio poetry) and it was an honour for me to be granted permission to include one of his poems – “Na So I Bigin” – in my audio series of “Lockdown Poems”.
I was scheduled to be reading that poem, my personal choice, at KDU Texas’ “Wan Pot Festival” (a virtual cultural evening planned for Saturday 7th August but now likely to be postponed). The poem can be experienced at Kayode Adesimi’s Poetry Page on Facebook – where it now takes on, for me, the unplanned character of a memorialisation of Aki Faulkner’s poetic genius.
Aki was particularly proud of his public service as a member of his local School Board in Mesquite, Texas, to which he was appointed in 2010. A press release by the School Board in May 2021 announcing his resignation due to ill health leaves one in no doubt of how highly regarded he was in that role.
In the words of Board President Gary Bingham: “I don’t know of another person who is as strong of an advocate for public education as Mr. Faulkner was. He was a champion for public education. He lived it; his kids lived it. Every one of his kids knocked it out of the park because of the education they got in Mesquite then went on to secondary and more, and it’s because their dad and mom valued public education, and he was our champion for that.”
Aki fought doggedly to position the diaspora umbrella body he chaired – KDU Global – as a corporate body with administrative and legislative responsibility for the KDU brand worldwide. It was not a universally shared vision and there were some fraught moments and disagreements in the latter part of his chairmanship which he would probably have preferred to end on more positive terms.
Paying tribute to Aki, the Matriarch and visioneer of the Krio Disɛndants Yunyɔn Canon Cassandra Garber penned these reflections:
“The membership of KDY Fritong lament the demise of the Archimedes Faulkner personality well known for his strong feelings for the IMAGE OF KRIODOM. Our sympathy goes not only to his beloved family but more so KDU TEXAS chapter with whom Mr Faulkner as one of the founding PIONEERS gave unstinted service. May you all take consolation in the apt quotation “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away” our thoughts are with you all. Take courage. From KDY fambul nar Fritong. Cassandra.”
So, we bid farewell to someone who “never turned his back but marched breast forward”, making an impact and touching the lives of others in truly memorable ways. Aki will be laid to rest in Dallas, Texas on Saturday 7th August 2021. Sincere condolences and prayers for God’s comfort to his wife, children, and the rest of the family.
At times like this my mind turns to lines from “Songs of Sorrow” by our fellow poet Kofi Awoonor (RIP) which I would paraphrase to read:
“What is the wailing for?
Somebody is dead. Archimedes himself.
Alas! A snake has bitten me
My right arm is broken,
And the tree on which I lean is fallen.”
Rest in power, Big Bro Archimedes “ACE” Faulkner
Kayode Robin Coker: NA SO I BIGIN
Dɛn lɛf dɛn os fɔ go na fam
Usay dɛn kin go wok ol de
Wetin apin o, ɔ wetin nɔ apin
Dɛn nɔ tɔn bak te tide.
Na wetin apin o, na wetin apin?
Sɔm se dɛn yɛri katakata na rod
Pipul dɛn de rɔn ɔlɔbɔt
Trɔbul dɔn kam na tɔng.
Dɛn kam lɛk se dɛn na trenja
Gud pipul we wan fɔ du biznɛs
Wit rɔm, tabaka, gɔn pawda, ɛn bid
Fɔ tredin wit wi pipul dɛm.
Bɔt wi pipul dɛm lɛk trenja
Ɛn lɛk fɔ trit dɛm fayn
Bɔt na de di trɔbul bigin
Bikɔs dɛm bin sabi bɔt dɛn nɔ no.
Wetin apin o, na wetin apin?
Dɛn dɔn kech dɛm o, dɛn dɔn kech dɛm
Dɛn dɔn kɛr dɛn go o, dɛn dɔn kɛr dɛn
Lɔdamasi o, lɔdamasi.
Dɛn trenja dɛn dɔn kɛr dɛn go
Insay wan os we de pan wata
E! Gɔd, usay dɛn de kɛr dɛn go?
Mi, a nɔ go si dɛm igen.
That was a poem by Archimedes Faulkner – from “Beg sɔl nɔba kuk sup: An Anthology of Krio Poetry” (Ed. Sheikh Umarr Kamarah & Marjorie Jones, SLWS, 2013).
May his soul rest in perfect peace.