Archimedes Faulkner (1954 – 2021) – gone too soon but not forgotten

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.

Our other common interest was writing in Krio. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Krio proverbs, and he would frequently embellish his commentary on Leonenet with entertaining “parebuls” such as:

– 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

https://www.facebook.com/2751242824948761/posts/3878787555527610/?d=n

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.

 

8 Comments

  1. O God, who hast commanded us to honor Mr Archimedes Faulkner, look in the tenderness of thy mercy upon the soul of Mr Archimedes Faulkner and forgive him of his sins, and grant unto us the joy of seeing him again in the glorious light of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen and Amen. Father God.

  2. Aki was a transformative leader with an indelible impact on mankind. He was a doyen of the Krio culture, heritage, and tradition. A simple man, a gentleman, a kind man, a Sa Lone patriot, and a soft-spoken intellectual with the gift to love all. Aki your “Bolohgie,” “Arata yass,” and “shokutoyourkhotoh” suckers that you shared with the world will serve as a symbolic reminder of your life to many.

    Your gifts of patience, love, gratitude, appreciation, and the meaning of education will forever be your legacy to me. I will work hard to preserve all you stood for. Rest in peace. You changed the world and made it a better place for mankind. Peace

  3. To the family and friends,of Mr Archimedes Faulkner, a keeper and upholder of the great Krio language, and tradition, through his mastery of its poetic genre, and harvesting and expressing Krio proverbs that have played such uniting force from peoples of different backgrounds, that is spoken through out our country. May his soul rest in peace. Gone but not forgotten.

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