Troubador Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy

Released: 28/05/2019

ISBN: 9781789018158

Format: Paperback

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Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy

A Journalist's Journey with God and Humanity

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Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy is Sheka Tarawalie’s autobiography tracing his early life in Sierra Leone, through imprisonment and being declared a ‘wanted man’, before his exile to the UK. The book also remembers his political appointment. Working through continual conflict and confrontation with his government colleagues and the President who appointed him, Sheka still managed to be within the system for several years and at the same time make landmark inputs.


In addition – while recounting the circumstances of his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican in his official capacity – Sheka delves into the history of the Church, the powers of the Pope, the child sex abuse scandals – even the historical ‘sins’ of the Crusades, the Transatlantic slave trade and the sale of indulgences which led to the Reformation. A book that is likely to stir debate, Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy goes on to confront the many delicate issues around contemporary Islamic fundamentalism, Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

'POPE FRANCIS, POLITICS AND THE MABANTA BOY' was released on 28 May 2019

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Through a life of fervour and struggle, he has earned himself a place as one of Sierra Leone and Africa finest writers in this 21st Century.

He described his journey from a humble beginning to a greater height of meeting with the Pope. His blistering honesty, recounting his transition as someone who endures persecution from a bitter experience as a journalist (who was jailed and went into exile in UK), into an articulate politician, he continue to relevance on his Christian doctrines and his emphasis on self-respect and self-help.

This work from Sheka Tarawalie aka Shekito is eye-catching, creative, gut-wrenching consequential book. His electrifying story has transformed Sheka Tarawallie’s story into his legacy.

The strength of his words in this book, and the power of his ideals in this book, will continue to resonate to generations. And it will forever have a permanent place in our school literature curriculum..

by Alimamy Kamara


No one reads this book and forgets it in a hurry. Hon. Sheka Tarawalie is a fine and brave author of our time. Unearthing the 'sins' of the Catholic Church and daring to delve into controversial issues such as sex, sale of indulgence, Islamic holy wars put him at odds with traditional religious leaders. The book reveals that politics is not a career for the faint-hearten but for the brave. I can remember him standing at the Well of Parliament of Sierra Leone during the regime of late President Kabbah on a charge of improperly addressing the head of state. Like a sheep he appeared before the MPs but like a lion he stood straight and strong. The book traces the path of a boy from a village to the corridors of power in Sierra Leone, Italy and UK.

by Rev. Paul Bala Samura


Sheka Tarawalie

Sheka Tarawalie is a Sierra Leonean journalist, writer and author who, until March 2016, was Sierra Leone's Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, a position he got in January 2013 in the new cabinet of President Ernest Bai Koroma's second term. He was previously the Deputy Minister of Information & Communications, to which he was appointed in December 2010 by President Koroma, whom he served as Press Secretary immediately before that. He was appointed to the position of Press Secretary in December 2007.

Tarawalie is an English Honours graduate from Fourah Bay College (Sierra leone's premier university founded in 1827), and he was the founder and one-time Editor-In-Chief of The Torchlight, a Freetown newspaper, in which he was very critical of the previous government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah especially through his weekly 'Black Tank' column. He travelled to the United Kingdom and eventually sought 'Right of asylum' because of threats to his life. When his initial asylum claim was turned down, he launched a well-supported local and national appeal from Manchester.

He worked at the Citizens Advice Bureau and as a journalist in a voluntary capacity, eventually becoming sub-editor of Expotimes (an online news organ), and board member of the Exiled Journalists' Network, UK. He was also a member of the Manchester branch of Britain's National Union of Journalists (NUJ). He made a name for himself by excelling in his work at the Citizens Advice Bureau and attracted an award personally given to him by the Princess Royale, Princess Anne, at a well-attended ceremony in York, England. He got married in the Church of England to Rose Tarawalie (nee Kabeera), a British national of Rwandan origins.

He returned to Sierra Leone to take up the position of Press Secretary when the President appointed him. Tarawalie is one of Sierra Leone's most distinguished journalists. He has now written a 400-odd-page autobiography, 'Pope Francis, Politics and the Mabanta Boy' (2019) - published by Troubador[UK]. (Wikipedia entry)


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