From the Editor’s Keyboard

Tragedy of a Sierra Leonean couple

By  | 23 July 2010 at 03:03 | 788 views


On July 19th 2010 shockwave news about a horrible tragedy of a Sierra Leonean couple spread like wild bush fire during a severe Harmattan season, especially among the Sierra Leonean community in the United States. 52 year-old Godfrey Manley Spaine, a popular comedian who was also a member of the famous Professional drama group back home, aka Lord Bongo Johnson, and his 46 year-old girl friend Claudia Johnson, a nurse, have been living together for over 15 years in Mesquite Dallas Texas. Police and the coroner’s report suggest that Godfrey killed his girl friend inflicting trauma by strangulation. Later, he committed suicide by hanging himself.

Earlier, a domestic violence case was filed against the accused resulting in a restraining order banning him from visiting or living in the same house with Claudia, his heart-throb. Sparks of a love-hate triangle cannot be completely divorced from the tragedy. Claudia made up her mind to terminate the toxic relationship by moving on with her life with someone else more compatible, who would eventually lead her to the altar. But her estranged partner thought otherwise.

Manley-Spaine, who was unemployed, was practically unwilling to accept his fate. Having lost his job and left in economic limbo to secure his own place of abode, were gigantic challenges he did not want to handle headlong. For him ‘No one else will get her if I couldn’t.’ His blurred thinking was a risk factor. People with like mind as his could be dangerous, and they often end up killing their victims and that’s exactly what he did. It was a 911 call from a concerned compatriot, who had not seen the dysfunctional couple for several hours on Sunday that forced Police to break into the house, discovering the bodies of the estranged lovers with blood spattered around the house suggesting a bloody theater, where a fight took place leading to the couple’s gruesome and violent deaths.

The mighty Dallas economy is sputtering, with the city at risk of economic crisis, Hamilton says. It’s losing its position as the region’s economic core, ranking closer to distressed Detroit and Philadelphia than its bustling South West peers. The current economic downturn and the scenario of a prolonged economic malaise are taking a devastating toll on mostly minority families. In a situation where there’s destitution and hopelessness, doom and gloom would find a free pass.

Godfrey and Claudia were nursing deep emotional wounds, if not bleeding emotionally and psychologically too. Some think they were a happy couple from a distance. But in reality their relationship had dangerously hit rock bottom. Verbal abuse reigned in an atmosphere of domestic violence fully taking center stage. They had two adorable children: Godfrey junior, 15 and seven year-old Elizabeth. The well-mannered and disciplined kids were luckily away visiting when the tragedy occurred.

The enigma of domestic violence that invariably results in tragedy is a viral plague infecting the African community both at home and abroad. Just a few weeks ago, a Nigerian pharmacist fatally battered his wife in cold blood with his bat. Also, a Ghanaian stabbed his fiancée to death, and then dismembered her body, in an attempt to destroy core evidence.

Concerned Africans are very worried that all is not well within the African community in the US. Are Africans losing out on their cultural and spiritual values in pursuit of the American dream that is becoming a myth rather that a reality for many? Trying to cope with Western challenges on a daily basis could be uphill battles for most African immigrants. As a people we need to come together by forming a collective force to address these acute problems. Are we not entrusted to be our brother’s keeper? Connected, integrated and responsive to the needs of our brothers and sisters living in a global community? But charity begins at home. What is wrong with our African brothers, who claim to love and cherish their African sisters? This love-hate relationship must be arrested before it runs amok and insanely out of control. Tapping brain power is smarter than resorting to using our brawn trying to assault indefensible women. The million dollar question on the front burner is: ‘You…and me and me.. and me....have we all changed our lives yet’? Time is ticking very fast as a time bomb. Take action now before it gets too late.

Official Statement of The Professionals on Lord Bongo Johnson

July 21, 2010 (Washington, DC) - “The members of The Professionals are in utter disbelief and deeply saddened by the turn of events as it relates to our brother Godfrey Manley-Spaine (aka Lord Bongo). The details of this tragedy in no way align with the childhood friend and brother that we knew for over twenty years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haggerty and Anthony Families and the children.”

The Professionals, a drama group born in Freetown, Sierra Leone of which the deceased comedian was a respectable member, have established a Trust Fund for the children. For more information on making donations to the trust fund and/or burial please contact Donald Nat-George (Dandogo) at (214) 606-1056 or by emailing him at or, contact Joseph Betts (Pa Bangura) at (240) 508-2820 or by emailing

Roland Bankole Marke © 2010

Roland Bankole Marke (photo) is a Sierra Leonean poet, author of 3 books, and freelance writer, based in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit his website on: