Tribute to Jim Macauley, the ‘workerhaulic’ journalist
When the day of toil is done,
When the race of life is run,
Father, grant Thy wearied one
When the strife of sin is stilled,
When the foe within is killed,
Be thy gracious Word fulfilled;
When the darkness melts away,
At the breaking of the day,
Bid us hail the cheering ray;
When the heart by sorrow tried,
Feel at length the throbs subside,
Bring us, where all tears are dried
When the breath of life is flown,
When the grave must claim its own,
Lord of life, be ours Thy crown,
This Methodist hymn simply sums up the beginning and the end of mankind on this earth.
It is with the greatest heart and tribulation that I pay this special tribute to my brother, good friend and colleague of the inky fraternity, James Yao Macauley, a former Deputy Editor of the Ghanaian Times who makes his final journey to his ancestral home today, the 6th of March, 2021, which falls on Ghana’s Independence day anniversary celebration.
This day will forever go down in history as it will always ring a bell in the minds of his children, family members, friends and colleagues of the media.
Dubbed, a journey of no return, Jim Macoco, affectionately known by his close associates and friends, was called to eternity by his Maker on 24th December, 2020 being the birthday of his elder daughter, Celeste Eyram Macauley.
The funeral is being held this morning at the Transition Home at Haatso after which the body will be interred at the Achimota cemetery. Memorial Service will be held in his honour at the Pure Fire Ministries International near GIMPA, Kisiman junction at 10 am tomorrow and thence to his residence on the Passion Clinic road, Ogbojo.
I have decided to use this medium to eulogise this good friend and hard working colleague because of my closeness with him over the years. I have already shared few thoughts about my late friend in a series of tributes on my Facebook wall but I promised to pay special one at the appropriate time which is now.
The death of Jim came to me as a shock and a big blow because I hardly expected that so soon, although death is inevitable in one’s life. It came as a surprise because I spoke to him few days before he passed on.
He made an arrangement with me to attend a funeral ceremony of a former staff of the New Times Corporation (NTC) at a place called Israel, which is a suburb of Accra. He promised to join me from my residence at Mamprobi to that place.
The night to the funeral day, I called to confirm that I would be waiting for him for the trip. Indeed, he spoke to me on phone and nothing showed that he was unwell from the conversation we had.
The following morning which was Saturday, I had prepared for our journey when all of a sudden I had a call from him telling me that he could not make it because he was not feeling well. Since I had already prepared for the funeral, I advised him to rest whilst I attended the function.
To be frank, I was not myself at the event as I kept calling him to check how he was faring. His answers were so positive that I felt good that he was recovering fast. I made a follow up the following morning to which he assured me he was getting better. Hardly did I know that he was rather announcing his death to me in parables.
On 24th December, 2020, as I sat behind my dinner table around 8am having my breakfast, I received an unexpected call from the Editor of the Ghanaian Times newspaper, Mr. Dave Agbenu, who broke the sad news to me. I hesitated and cut short my breakfast.
I couldn’t believe it initially but after enquiring from Jim’s wife and also his elder brother, Humphrey, formerly of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), it became clear that my good friend was really dead. From that day until now, I have never been myself as I kept wondering the root cause of his death.
Indeed, as I keep saying, the good Lord knew best and he had answers as to why He had called him at this opportune time when his services would be mostly needed to groom young and upcoming journalists because of his deep knowledge and rich experience in the journalism profession.
Jim was my deputy when I was the editor of the Ghanaian Times newspaper and I knew how experienced he was especially in newspaper layouts, page planning and sub-editing. The two of us did not allow our retirement to affect our journalism profession because we believed that we had the potentials, skills and the strength to forge ahead.
No wonder, we had a lot of offers from some people within the society to assist in the publication of journals and magazines meant to shape the society. We took up the challenge and we came out with two sets of attractive and beautiful magazines which we duly registered with the National Media Commission (NMC).
The African Network Magazine and The Public Official Magazine of which I am the editor and he was the Director of Production in both cases. His handiworks are available for those who want to see them.
Jim, you mentored a lot of young journalists during your hey day in the field of writing and reporting in the arts and culture because of your vast interest in that field of journalism.
Many were those journalists from the Ghanaian Times and The Spectator newspapers who could testify that you assisted them to win most of the awards instituted by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in the years past. You exhibited brilliance in your assigned duties and loved by all those who came into contact with your work.
Mr. Edward Abi-George, a former Chief Sub-Editor of the NTC under whom you acquired greater skills in your work and also your mentor, was proud of you because you put into practice all that he taught you.
My empathy goes to his wife Lily and children, Celeste Eyram, James Elorm and Charlotte Fafa Macauley, for this great loss. I pray that the good Lord will continue to console them during this difficult times.
My brother Jim, you came, you saw and you had conquered, paid your dues also to society and I pray that the good Lord would protect your soul and grant you eternal rest. Till we meet again, fare thee well. Adieu, adieu.
Let me end this tribute with the first, second and the fourth stanzas of the Methodist hymn 976.
Now the laborer’s task is o’er;
Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the further shore
Land the voyager at last
Father, in thy gracious keeping
Leave we now thy servant sleeping.
There the tears of earth are dried,
There its hidden things are clear,
There the work of life is tried
By a just judge than here; [Refrain]
‘Earth to earth, and dust to dust,’
Calmly now the words we say;
Leaving him to sleep in trust,
Till the resurrection day; [Refrain]