Sierra Leone’s first female MP representing Western Area – Mrs Agnes Labor passed away aged 96

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 08 January 2022:

The funeral service of the late Mrs. Agnes Diminga Adina Bamjoko Labor, who sadly passed away on 14th December 2021 in Wakefield, UK, will take place on Thursday 13th January 2022, at the Parkside Methodist Church, Leeds Road, Wakefield WF 1 2PN at 12.30pm.

She will be laid to rest at the Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds, followed by refreshments at Castle Grove Hall, Headingly, Leeds.

Mrs Labor is survived by her three sons – Sebastian, Victor and Philemon; and daughter-in-law – Leila. Grandchildren – Victoria, Rebecca, Alexander, Agnes, Claudius and Jeremy, as well as two great grandchildren – Catherine and Johanna.

Mrs Labor is also survived by several nieces and nephews, including Amelia, Mimie, Dwight, William, Kwame, Kathryn Rose in the USA; Walter, Gloria, Sylvia and Ola in Sierra Leone; Rita and Janet in the UK and other close relatives in the UK ,USA, The Gambia and Sierra Leone, including the Fitzjohn, Cole, Williams, Bernard-Jones, Porter, Palmer and Gorre-Ndiaye Descendants.

Mrs Agnes Labor was one of five deserving recipients of the 2019 SALPACT African Excellence Awards presented by the Sierra Leone High Commissioner to the UK – Mr Tamba Lamina and his wife – Salma Lamina, at  the launching of the Annual Fundraising Dinner and African Excellence Awards organised by the Trustees of the Sierra Leone Poverty Alleviation Charity Trust (SALPACT) in Leeds on Saturday, 9th February 2019.

The Award was aimed at promoting African excellence, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, science, technology, law and the arts, irrespective of age and gender.

Mrs Agnes Labor was recognised for her achievements in teaching, politics and civil society work. Sadly, Mrs Agnes Labor was unable to attend the event to receive her award, which was received on her behalf by Dr Victor Labor.  (Photo Below: Mrs Agnes Labor – M.R – Member of the Rokel).

In 1956, she became the first Black teacher in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the UK; and in 1958 was appointed the first Black peripatetic teacher in Home Economics.

After returning to Sierra Leone, in 1959, she became the Headmistress of Roosevelt Preparatory School in Freetown.

Returning to the UK in 1963, Mrs Labor was appointed teacher in food and nutrition at East Ham Grammar School for Girls in London. Then in 1964 she became a Lecturer in Home Economics at the Milton Margai Teachers College in Freetown, until 1969 when she was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Head of the Home Economics Department.

In 1970 she was awarded a Diploma in Educational Administration at Reading University in the UK; and in 1973, achieved a Master of Education in Maryland University in the USA. In 1977 she was appointed Principal Lecturer at the Milton Margai Teachers’ College in Freetown.

And in 1978, after entering national politics in Sierra Leone, she became the first female Member of Sierra Leone’s Parliament, representing the Western Area.

In 1978 she was appointed Member of the University Court of Sierra Leone. And in 1982, she became Minister of State for Food Affairs – the first female from the Western Area of Sierra Leone to serve as a government minister.

She was the Founder Member of the First Congo Town Branch of the Girl Guide Association, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Throughout her political career, she led several delegations of women’s organisations to conferences, and made official visits overseas as Minister of State, including visits to Russia, China and Germany.

She represented the women of Sierra Leone at the Preparatory Committee Meeting in Prague for the International Women’s Year. She is a Member of the Alumni Association of Maryland University, USA.

In 1990, after almost two decades as an icon of Sierra Leone national life, she was honoured with the award of Member of the Rokel (M.R) by the President, for service to the Republic of Sierra Leone.

Mrs Agnes Labor is the author of a book titled – “Cooking Together the African Way”.

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her, including the author of the Sierra Leone Telegraph – Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas.

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