Salone News

Tribute: Remembering Diana Moxhay

10 December 2020 at 18:26 | 885 views

Remembering Diana Moxhay, Director of USIS, (US Information Service) , American Embassy, Freetown, 1984-1985

By Victor Chapman, London, UK

Patriotic Vanguard Introduction: The US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Honorable Maria Brewer sent a message in Krio to Sierra Leoneans for the American Thanksgiving Holiday on November 26, this year. Occasional contributor to The Patriotic Vanguard, Kwame Fitzjohn, was a Tour Guide at the US Embassy from 1984-1985 during which time, too, Victor Chapman was Embassy Librarian. Fitzjohn shared Ambassador’s Brewer’s Thanksgiving Krio message with the London-based Chapman, and in doing so, Fitzjohn had recollections of Diana Moxhay, the Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer and Director of USIS during the time when he and Chapman were attached to the Mission. On conducting a google search, Fitzjohn discovered to his dismay Moxhay passed in 2016! The outcome of this unexpected exchange between Fitzjohn and Chapman is the latter’s moving tribute written on November 29 which follows …

My name is Victor Chapman, a Librarian presently living and working in London, England. However, back in the early eighties — 1984-1985 to be precise — I was privileged to work with Diana Moxhay at the Embassy of The United States of America, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where I was Embassy Librarian and she, The Public Affairs Officer, to whom I reported. From the word go, pretty much soon after her arrival at her post, I knew that she was the sort of person and professional with whom I could work, and also enjoy my role as Librarian to the fullest.

Diana’s style of engagement, empowerment, openness, and her willingness to listen to suggestions for improvement at every turn, meant that the setting was the idyll and a good one in which a very young, bright-eyed and newly qualified Librarian who I was then, could thrive and shine.

Before long, I knew that she had the ear of her young British-trained Librarian who, as far as others thought, just couldn’t put a foot wrong.
I loved working at the embassy, particularly because of who she was, as a person and as the quintessential professional and unrivalled and consummate diplomat.

Before long, her popularity in Freetown Sierra Leone, had risen to great heights; as casual off the street enquirers in the library and The United States Information Service (USIS), as well as professionals from all strata, heard about her work, mantra, outlook and drive for success, on all fronts.

Diana’s joie de vivre, disarming and warm smile at every turn, was always a welcome feature in all settings, be it at her beautiful residence for lunches and drinks along Hillcot Road overlooking the beautiful scenery in Freetown, or at The Ambassador’s atop Signal Hill with its breathtaking views of Freetown.

She was an amazing woman and an absolute gem, some exact words I used to describe her, when I learnt about her passing only last night, via a mutual friend from our days in Freetown, Mr. Kwame Fitzjohn.

There’s so much more to say about the lovely person we once knew as Diana Jill Moxhay. A woman I was privileged to have known, respected, loved, worked with and admired for all time.

She thought the world of me, a fact that wasn’t a secret and, to this day, I’ll never forget her generous comments and delight, following a very successful Seminar on Libraries and National Development I facilitated at the embassy in 1985, with some input from the US Information Agency (USIA) in Washington, DC. The bringing together of all the professional Librarians from all the type of libraries - University, Public, Special and School, all under the roof of The United States Information Service, was a great deal of satisfaction to her and participants alike, and one that met with critical acclaim in DC and seen as worth replicating, in other posts elsewhere.

The news of Diana’s passing affected me profoundly, last night, to the point that I couldn’t get to sleep until the wee hours of dawn. But then once sleep had taken over, I had the most uncanny and inexplicable of dreams in which it seemed like I had travelled from London to Maine, where she had finally retired to and where she spent her last days in 2016. In the dream I met some people or family members associated with her, and we all sat down together in what I was told was her former house. It was all very quiet, thoughtful and reflective within the lovely setting.
Then as I stirred from sleep and the dream, I discovered that tears of loss, love and joys unexpressed had been streaming down my cheeks and wetting my pillow. The dream said it all - what she meant to me, and how much I valued her and miss her.
I duly wiped my face, lay there and remembered the beautiful soul and great woman, Diana Jill Moxhay, who was a loyal boss, supportive, a great friend, mentor, and one whose life and memory will forever be etched in my heart, for all time.

May the precious soul of our dearest Diana, continue to bask in love, eternal joy and light, evermore in the realms where there’s no more fret, pain and setbacks of any kind. She fought a brave and good fight, and she’s indeed Free! Free! Free at last! Free at last to watch over us, with her typical warmth, smile and love.

To her dear family, I send you all my heartfelt love, warmth and condolences, albeit it coming four years later, in 2020; for the poignant parting you must have experienced, and the void that her beautiful absence from you must have engendered.

Love and miss you evermore, Diana; but remember you for as long as I live, I surely will. .

The author, Victor Chapman