We learnt this morning with profound sadness of the passing of a true friend of Sierra Leone, diplomat, and advocate for peace, Peter Alfred Penfold CMG OBE. Crowned Komrabai Peter Penfold, he departed from this world on this rainy Freetown morning – October 1st, 2023. His legacy as a great friend of Sierra Leone will forever be etched in the hearts of most Sierra Leoneans.
Peter Penfold’s remarkable journey through life was characterised by dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the people of Sierra Leone. Born on February 27, 1944, Peter’s career in diplomacy began in 1963 when he joined the British Foreign Service as a clerical officer. Throughout his illustrious career, he served in various capacities, from postings in Bonn, West Germany, Nigeria, Latin America, and Mexico, and even responding to a volcanic eruption on St. Vincent.
His experiences in Africa, particularly in Uganda, prepared him for the challenges he would face during his tenure as British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone. In 1997, Peter Penfold took up the role of High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, a time marked by immense turmoil and civil unrest in the country. Sierra Leone was in the midst of a brutal civil war, and its democracy was under threat.
Peter Penfold’s leadership during this tumultuous period played a pivotal role in restoring peace, democracy, and human rights to Sierra Leone. His commitment to upholding democratic principles and his efforts to end the civil war were instrumental in bringing stability to the nation. He was a true advocate for justice and democracy.
One of the most notable chapters of his service in Sierra Leone was his involvement in countering the media propaganda of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) Regime and the Sandline Project. This effort was critical in reinstating democracy in Sierra Leone in 1998. In recognition of his immense contributions, he was honoured with the title of Honorary Paramount Chief “Pa. Komrabai.”
Peter Penfold’s dedication to Sierra Leone extended beyond his official duties. He was a compassionate and humble individual who genuinely loved the country and its people. His commitment to the nation was not limited to his time in office; he continued supporting Sierra Leone through various projects even after his diplomatic tenure.
Peter Penfold’s impact on Sierra Leonean society was immeasurable, and he was celebrated as a folk hero. He stood as a symbol of hope, resilience, and the unwavering pursuit of justice. His love for Sierra Leone was evident in all his actions, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations.
As we bid farewell to this remarkable individual, we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Penfold family and all those who had the privilege of knowing him. Peter Penfold will always be remembered for his enduring love for Sierra Leone, dedication to peace and justice, and invaluable contributions to the nation’s history.
Rest in peace, dear friend of Sierra Leone, and may your good deeds live on as an enduring testament to your legacy. Our children and grandchildren will continue to recount your stories, ensuring that your name remains indelibly etched in the annals of Sierra Leone’s history.
May his soul rest in peace 🙏.