Obituary: Emanuel Acrisine Fatoma

published 8 July 2020 updated 6 December 2021

Education International is deeply saddened by the loss of our great colleague, Emanuel Fatoma, who passed on Monday, the 6th of July 2020 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Emanuel Fatoma will be remembered as a great teacher and education advocate who incessantly pursued social justice for all, particularly for the teaching fraternity.

Emanuel Fatoma retired from Education International in 2017 having served as Coordinator, and then Senior Coordinator in the EI Africa region for 24 years. Fatoma inspired many to form very strong education unions since the inception of the organisation in 1993. Many will recall his visits that encouraged trade union leaders through practical examples of good leadership. His rallying quotes were “Unite or Perish”. Teacher unions in Africa will miss a very articulate and knowledgeable person.

Meeting and talking to Fatoma reminded anyone of the history and politics of one’s own country. He had Africa at the back of his hand, having also served as a Member of Parliament in Sierra Leone for ten years, representing teachers.

Fatoma devoted all his working life to the service of teachers, having started off as a teacher of Literature and later becoming the General Secretary of Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union (SLTU), then becoming member of Parliament. Fatoma was a strong education advocate and the first Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Education. He had a sense of humour that reverberated among teachers and union leaders in the countries he visited across the African continent.

Popularly referred to as the doyen, he was a leading figure who stood tall in advocating for education through the EI development cooperation programmes.

We have lost a teacher, trade unionist, politician, activist, mentor and father.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Read Education International’s news item “Farewell to a great trade unionist and advocate of development cooperation” here.