Freetown’s 1970s socialite and icon – Michael Alphonso Kalley dies

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 June 2019:

It is with deep sadness that the family of Freetown’s 1970s socialite and icon – Mr. Michael (Mike) Alphonso Kalley, announces his death, which took place on the 27th of June 2019, at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra  Leone. He was aged 66.

Michael was a long-time resident of Houston, Texas, USA – a man full of life and love for family.  Mike was an alumni of St. Edwards Secondary School at Kingtom in Freetown,  where he excelled as an athlete in track and field events.

He was also the goalkeeper for the school  soccer team in the ’70s.

He migrated to the USA immediately after finishing High School and made Houston his home.

He graduated from Texas Southern University with a BA Degree in Accounting – and later worked as a Tax Specialist in the private sector.

Michael is survived by his daughter – Sylvia Suadu Kalley in the UK; granddaughters – N’Gardie and Fantah; Sisters – Isabella Deensie in Virginia, USA,  Evelyn Bright – Davies in Atlanta, USA, Ann Dunn in Dallas, USA, and Sylvia Suadu Mason in London, UK; his brother – Mr Donald Ishmael Kalley in Canada; Sister-in  law – Yvette Kalley in Houston, Texas; brothers in Law – Dr Alex Dunn and Mr Dennis Deensie in the USA.  Several nieces and nephews in the USA, UK and Freetown.

Funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Michael Kalley was a larger than life character. He was a socialite and an icon to every young person growing up in Freetown in the 1970s.

Speaking to the Editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph – Abdul Rashid Thomas – a friend of Michael and the Kalley family, one gets a true sense of the depth of loss that his family and friends must now shoulder. 

Recalling Mike’s younger days growing up in Fisher Lane, Freetown, Abdul Rashid Thomas said: “Mike was the spark that lit every social gathering in the 1970s. He was friendly and loved music. He was a fashionista who donned the latest couture in town, even before they got to the shops for sale. He was a great showman who excelled in sports too.

“Back in the day, every young school boy wanted to be like Michael Kalley, whether it’s in athletics, football or cricket. Mike was a star, an icon and a role model. He inspired many young people to become the best in whatever sporting event they chose.

“Sadly, that bright star of Sierra Leone has been extinguished by the unseen hand of the Almighty God.

“Mike will be sorely missed by his family and friends, especially in Sierra Leone, UK, Canada and the USA. May his soul rest in perfect peace.“

Houston will miss a dear brother, father and friend – A man who will spare his shirt to make his kinfolk happy.

Michael Alphonso Kalley – the fashionista and super sportsman has gone too soon, but will never be forgotten.

4 Comments

  1. What I find really sad about our country Sierra Leone today, for those who grew up there in the 1970s, is the fact that those standards of sportsmanship and social finesse set by the likes of Michael Kalley have all gone and never to be regained anytime soon. The likes of Kalley made the capital Freetown what it was in the 1970s: Lively, happy, and fun!!

    The great sense of high fashion, displayed every Saturday afternoon in the centre of Freetown by young fashion conscious men like Michael Kalley was just stunning.

    “Saturday Afternoon Jumps” at places like Goodings Hall, Brookfields Hotel, Yellow Submarine, etc, were the places to spot the “who is who” of Sierra Leone in those days.

    The music of Sierra Leone’s best musicians – Afro National, Superb Combo, Orchestre Muyei, Superb Seven and others, rocked the music scene, whilst music by the likes of Jimmy Hendrix, Isaac Hayes, the Temptations, the Jacksons Five, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and many more were very popular among the youths.

    Watching Micheal Kalley run 100 or 200 meters relay for his school St. Edwards, was amazing. He ran as though he was doing it to save his life. Those guys back then were running very close to international world standards. The only difference back then was that they were just doing it for fun and for their schools.

    Dressed in their latest platform shoes, flare and bell bottom trousers – youngsters of today wouldn’t wear, young guys like Michael Kalley attracted fashion watchers from as far afield as Guinea and Liberia to find out the latest styles in Freetown.

    Michael is gone, but will not be forgotten by a generation of 1970s young men and young women who saw and enjoyed Sierra Leone at its best. Yes, it was the 1970s when One Leone was exchanged for One Dollar. What a great period in Sierra Leone’s history that was.

    Rest in peace Mr. Fashion Man. Rest in peace Mr Sportsman. Rest in peace Mr Cool. You are in a better place. God bless.

  2. May the gentle soul of Mike Kalley rest in eternal peace. I remember him as a towering and force of life figure when I entered St. Edward’s Secondary school in 1974. He contributed immensely in making May Park the intellectual, social, spiritual place that I anticipated joining while at the St. Edward’s Primary School.

    He was indeed a larger than life figure that made our school a leader in not only inter-secondary school soccer competitions but athletic competitions as well. His beloved late father was equally a proud Edwardian as well. RIP once again Mike. What a proud Edwardian he was in spirit as well as actions!

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