Beginning in 1989 I intermittently recorded the recollections in Krio of William Africanus Beckley, a family friend, in Tengbeh Town. Mr. Beckley was born in 1916 in Kent village in Sierra Leone, a century after its founding and a century ago. He lived there until 1934 when he moved to Freetown. Although he never returned to live in the village he always thought of himself as a “Kent boy” and wanted this to be the title of his book. As is the nature of conversations, topics would appear, disappear, and reappear again, unpredictably. I typed out the scripts, and then organized them into chapters, attempting not to insert any words of my own.
In January, 1994 I finished a draft of Kent Boy and read it aloud to Mr. Beckley, who was an avid reader in English but did not read Krio. He suggested some changes. That same year I gave him copies of this book and a book of his proverbs. He left work not long after that time, and died in January of 2001, at the age of 85.
Read A History of St. Edward’s Church, 3rd edition. Nonfiction. 54 pages. CreateSpace, 2016. $5.95. ISBN 9781530581177 [in English], to learn more about the history of Mr. Beckley’s village.