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In The News
|Officials praise U.N. action to free Sierra Leone peacekeepers|
The story of Sierra Leone's Krio people - in pictures
After the American victory in 1783, they fled with the British to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, from where they were sent back to Africa, and the British colony of Sierra Leone. This had been founded for freed slaves, even before the slave trade was abolished in 1807.
Others who make up Sierra Leone's Krio population include descendants of black Londoners and Maroons - escaped slaves who fought against the British in Jamaica - and those who were freed from slave-carrying ships along the Atlantic route, who were all sent to Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.
Some leading British abolitionists hoped that the freed slaves, having been exposed to British culture and Christianity, would go on to spread it across West Africa.
Today, Krios make up about 2% of Sierra Leone's population. They have their own distinctive identity, though British influence remains strong. The Krio language, spoken by most people in Sierra Leone, is based on English, along with various African languages.
"The Krios of Sierra Leone" exhibition is currently being hosted at the Museum of London Docklands, looking at the community's dress, architecture, language and lifestyle.
The above map was drawn by a British military officer in 1825 and details the villages founded by those who later became known as Krios.
Sierra Leone's British governors were keen for the new arrivals to adopt British Christian culture. They recruited missionaries to establish churches and schools.
It was hoped that settlers trained there would become teachers, ministers, and missionaries across West Africa.
The image above shows a girls' school that still exists today. It remains one of the most prestigious in Sierra Leone.
This is a typical embroidered dress worn by Krio women. It has long sleeves, a belt and a lace petticoat underneath.
War and coups
1991 - Start of civil war. Former army corporal Foday Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front (RUF) begin campaign against President Momoh, capturing towns on border with Liberia.
1991 September - New constitution providing for a multiparty system adopted.
1992 - President Joseph Momoh ousted in military coup led by Capt Valentine Strasser, apparently frustrated by failure to deal with rebels. Under international pressure, Capt Strasser announces plans for the first multi-party elections since 1967.
1996 January - Valentine Strasser ousted in military coup led by his defence minister, Brig Julius Maada Bio.
1996 - Ahmad Tejan Kabbah elected president in February, signs peace accord with Sankoh's rebels in November.
1997 - Peace deal unravels. President Kabbah deposed by army in May. Maj Johnny Paul Koroma, in prison awaiting the outcome of a treason trial, leads the military junta - the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). Koroma suspends the constitution, bans demonstrations and abolishes political parties.
Kabbah flees to Guinea to mobilise international support.
1997 July - The Commonwealth suspends Sierra Leone.
1997 October - The UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Sierra Leone, barring the supply of arms and petroleum products. A British company, Sandline, nonetheless supplies "logistical support", including rifles, to Kabbah allies.
1998 February - Nigerian-led West African intervention force Ecomog storms Freetown and drives rebels out.
1998 March - Kabbah makes a triumphant return to Freetown amid scenes of public rejoicing.
1999 January - Rebels backing Revolutionary United Front leader Foday Sankoh seize parts of Freetown from Ecomog. After weeks of bitter fighting they are driven out, leaving behind 5,000 dead and a devastated city.
Sierra Leone, a lush tropical country on the west coast of Africa that boasts beautiful beaches, picturesque mountains, and some of the richest natural resources and mineral deposits (including diamonds) in the world, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It consistently ranks as one of the least developed countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. It also has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world (children dying before reaching age five).
Coupled with this overwhelming poverty, from 1991–2001, Sierra Leone was embroiled in a devastating civil war in which tens of thousands of people were killed and an estimated one million people were forced from their homes and villages—many raped, tortured, and/or drafted into rebel forces. The war destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and has left its lasting scars, most notably on the children—leaving 320,000 children orphaned.
Most people in Sierra Leone live in rural farming communities. A typical family dwelling in a village is a mud-walled home with a dirt floor and a thatched roof. Cooking is done by outdoor fire. Laundry, washing, and bathing are done in the nearest river or with water hauled from the closest water source. A typical family’s diet consists of rice, cassava root, and leafy greens.
Why We Serve in Sierra Leone
- Since most families can barely grow enough food to feed themselves, let alone produce a surplus to sell and generate an income, malnutrition is rampant, especially among the children.
- Access to healthcare is severely limited. Every day, children and adults die from non-life-threatening diseases or treatable/preventable conditions that have turned fatal.
- Education also faces two major hurdles in most Sierra Leonean communities: it is not readily accessible and it is not fully valued, especially for girls.
Children of the Nations' Involvement
Sierra Leone is where COTN's story began. It was here, on a mission trip in 1995, that COTN Founders Chris and Debbie Clark felt called to care for the needs of children orphaned by war and disease. Soon, hundreds of people like you had joined them in this calling, helping to build a Children's Home for orphans, establish schools and feeding centers, and so much more.
Today, COTN serves hundreds of Sierra Leonean children and families through Village Partnerships and Children’s Homes. Your support has helped establish a daily presence in several communities, providing schools, medical clinics, feeding centers, health initiatives, Christian discipleship, a University/Vocational Program, clean water, sustainable development, and more.
Through the generous support of partners like you, COTN is empowering Sierra Leoneans to raise their children well. In partnership with the people of Sierra Leone, COTN’s vision is to develop a generation of leaders and secure for Sierra Leone a future and a hope.
Banta Ministry Center:
- Mallory Jansen Memorial School (preschool through high school)
- Banta Medical Clinic
- William E. Clark Skills Center
- Church of the Nations
- Health Animators Program
- Administrative Offices
- 50-acre agricultural project
- Housing for COTN-SL country director and some staff
- Accommodations for visiting Venture participants
- Children’s Homes
- Ngolala, a 10-minute walk through the forest from our Banta Ministry Center (est. 2006)
- Mokpangumba, a short canoe ride and hour-long walk through swamp, farmland, and forest from our Banta Ministry Center (est. 2007)
Consisting of 10 houses near Ngolala, the Sierra Leone Children’s Homes are in the same area as our school facilities, medical clinic, and administrative offices. Each home is staffed with a house mother and aunties, who provide safe, nurturing care for the children.
Freetown (Marjay Town):
- Mallory Jansen Memorial School (primary school)
- Interim Care Center (for children orphaned by Ebola)
Explore the COTN ministry site and surrounding villages in Sierra Leone in this fun fly-over video:
Sierra Leone at 60, The SLPP at 70: Our Collective History and Future
The full glare of the local and international media is fixed on Sierra Leone as she celebrates 60 years of Independence. At the same time, our party commemorates 70 years of quality existence as the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) was formed exactly ten years prior to the date Sierra Leone attained its Independence as a Nation. As a political party, our founding fathers’ reflections about the destiny of our people (Sierra Leoneans) led to the establishment of our party in 1951.
The history of Sierra Leone’s Independence and the SLPP are inextricably conjoined. As the country marks 60 years of Independence, the Executive and Members of the SLPP wish the government and people of Sierra Leone a peaceful and joyous celebration. As a nation, we have shown resilience and fortitude to rise from the ashes of destruction of civil war and bad governance and on to the path of greatness.
The peaceful struggle for and attainment of Independence was made possible by the savvy and dexterous leadership of the SLPP under Sir Milton Margai. The progressive path to sustainable development that the SLPP administration of Sir Milton Margai fashioned for Sierra Leone was interrupted by over two decades of a disastrous political dictatorship (1978-1992) that created the foundations for state failure and a brutal civil war (that lasted for a decade: 1991-2002). In 1996, the people of Sierra Leone elected the SLPP administration of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. The President Kabbah-led SLPP administration ended the civil war and set the country on a path to a people-centered economic development and pro-democracy institutional reforms. However, this glorious path to postwar development was interrupted by a failed political leadership between 2007 and 2017. But we would want to remind all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans that the dreams of our Founding Fathers are still alive and that no adversity would stop us from moving towards development.
70 years of political existence has seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but as a party we have risen from despair to hope from dejection to aspiration and from the nadir of hopelessness to the apex of administration. In those 70 years our party brought forth to our nation, an Independence that was intended to catapult the country to heights others have attained. We were stopped in our tracks by the murky and uncertain political dynamics of our society. Nevertheless, we are proud of our immeasurable and invaluable contribution to the development of our country.
The best moments of Sierra Leone have been under the SLPP administrations – past and present. Apart from gaining Independence for our country, it is the SLPP government that ended the eleven years bloody internecine strife that claimed the lives of thousands of our innocent compatriots. It is the SLPP that created the most enviable and viable institutions that this country can boast of. From the Sierra Leone Ports Authority to the National Social Security and Insurance Trust to name but a few, the SLPP has always shown a belief in building strong institutions. These and many more are the lasting legacies of SLPP administrations.
As the country commemorates 60 years of Independence, and the Party celebrates 70 years of existence, let us have faith in President Bio’s SLPP administration. His administration is on the right track and set to hoist us to the pinnacle of success. With the SLPP, under President Bio, quality education is assured. The fight against corruption has won Sierra Leone international admiration. We are rebranding our country’s image internationally. The world is looking towards Sierra Leone for leadership in the fight against COVID19. We are building strong institutions. We are committed to the rule of law and the Independence of the judiciary. We are accountable and transparent. We promised and delivered press freedom. Gender equality is becoming a reality. Youth empowerment/employment is assured under the SLPP. We reject violence and are committed to peace and national cohesion.
To the general membership of the SLPP, the Executive recognizes your sacrifices. We celebrate our collective quest to build upon the legacies of our founding fathers. Like the election manipulations of 1967 and 1977 that our founding fathers experienced, we had also endured the ignominy election manipulations in 2007 and 2012. Yet, we survived it and prevailed in 2018 because, like our founding fathers, we believe the electoral victory of the SLPP is a victory for Sierra Leone. Yes! Our founding fathers persevered the indignation of proscription in 1978 after the orchestrated enactment of a One-Party Bill in Parliament that year. Yet, they did not give up. So we must not give up we should not give in to the unhelpful tactics of our opponents. We should peacefully resist all the dirty tricks in the books of our opponents. Unlike our opponents, we did not win elections through dirty tricks. It was hard work and a commitment to build a sustainably developed Sierra Leone that led to our bouncing back to power in 2018. We should remain committed in our quest to provide hope for all Sierra Leoneans. Let us continue to hold the moral high ground and lay the foundation for decency in our body politic. We should play our part to ensure that His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio succeeds in his efforts to create a united, gender-equal, corruption-free, peaceful, and sustainably developed Sierra Leone.
Finally, the Executive and the General Membership of the Sierra Leone People’s Party wish to congratulate His Excellency the President and his Government, our Chiefs, Community Leaders, the women, men, and children of Sierra Leone on this commemorative occasion of 60 years of nationhood, and 70 years of the SLPP’s founding.
We congratulate the people of Sierra Leone for their patience and resilience over the decades. We entreat them to be hopeful that the present SLPP government will uplift them and change the narratives in Sierra Leone.
Happy 60th Independence Anniversary!
Happy 70th SLPP Anniversary!
Long live Sierra Leone!
Long live SLPP!
Umaru Napoleon Koroma
President Bio confers citizenship on 22 African American citizens
President Dr Julius Maada Bio has today granted Sierra Leonean citizenship to 22 African Americans who traced their origin to Sierra Leone through DNA results, most of them with roots to Bo and Tonkolili districts.
Handing over Sierra Leone’s passports to the newly pronounced citizens of Sierra Leone, the President welcomed them home, noting that their coming was not just for sightseeing or experiencing another culture for culture’s sake, but that they are also about to fulfil their curiosity and satisfy some long-held dream of making a spiritual pilgrimage to Sierra Leone.
”So, while others may invent history for the purpose of marketing tourism, you have lived your own history through over 400 years. This is the land of our mutual ancestors who were to later work rice fields and plantations that sustained the economies of the 13 British Colonies in the Americas.
“This is the land of Sengbeh Pieh of the Amistad revolt. This is the land of the rice coast, of the Gullahs, of folktales about the trickster, of handicraft, of foodways, of seeking rituals, and the call and response of African-American song and dance. This is Sierra Leone,” he noted.
He said that Sierra Leone as a country has come a very long way from slavery and colonialism, through repressive dictatorships, bad governance, corruption, epidemics and natural disasters and civil wars, adding that his government has worked hard to restore the dignity of the country.
He recalled that the 2020 Global Peace Index ranked the country as the 46th most peaceful country in the world and 5th most peaceful country in Africa.
“The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention rates us as Tier 1 low risk. We have under 3% case fatality ratio and only 76 recorded deaths. We are rated with a significantly lower violent crime rate. We have a free press, a free society, decongesting prisons, and working hard to build resilience in every facet of our nation,” he said.
President Bio further disclosed that his government is creating an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish, protect investments and support the establishment of businesses and organisations that would touch lives either through direct employment or social capital impact.
One of the beneficiaries of the citizenship, Dynast Abete Adewale Amir, expressed gratitude to President Bio for officially receiving them as citizens of Sierra Leone. He described today’s event as an emotional moment for them, adding that they are already pleased with the love they enjoyed from the President and citizens of the country.
Dynast Abete concluded by stating that they are looking forward to making good use of their citizenship by adding meaningful contributions to the development and goodwill of Sierra Leone.
The country’s drainage pattern is dense. Numerous rivers rise in the well-watered Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea and flow in a general northeast-to-southwest direction across Sierra Leone. Their middle courses are interrupted by rapids that restrict navigability to only a short distance inland. River levels show considerable seasonal fluctuations.
The drainage system has nine major rivers and a series of minor coastal creeks and tidal streams. From north to south the principal rivers are the Great Scarcies (also called the Kolenté), Little Scarcies, Rokel (also called the Seli known in its lower course where it meets the Atlantic as the Sierra Leone River), Gbangbaia, Jong, Sewa, Waanje, Moa, and Mano. The Great Scarcies, Moa, and Meli (one of the Moa’s tributaries) form portions of the border with Guinea, while the Mano forms much of the country’s frontier with Liberia. The river basins range in size from 5,460 square miles (14,140 square km) for the Sewa to less than 385 square miles (1,000 square km) for the smaller basins.
23 Things to Know Before you Go to Freetown, Sierra Leone
How to get around, how to dress, and how to eat mangoes: a guide to Sierra Leone’s capital city.
Arrive by sea. Lungi International, Freetown’s airport, is across a sea estuary from Freetown. You can go the long way round over land, but the quickest and safest airport transfer is by boat. For US$40, the Sea Coach or the Sea Bird will carry you and your bags to Freetown’s west end, covering the 17-mile distance in under half an hour. The Sea Coach offers free Wi-Fi and a bottle of water, as well as ‘soothing music’ (Celine Dion is a popular choice). Alternatives include a government-run ferry or a long drive — but shell out for the speedboat for the convenience, and to enjoy the city’s mountainous backdrop.
Find your bearings with the Cotton Tree. In Freetown’s center stands a huge tree, around which early settlers gathered to give thanks on their arrival. Major streets and buildings — the Law Courts, State House, the oldest settler church, the central bank and King’s Yard, which now houses the main hospital — can all be geolocated in relation to the Cotton Tree. Even after independence in 1961, some streets, hillsides, and peninsular villages still have British names, though local pronunciations have evolved: Waterloo and Berwick have become ‘Wa-ta-low’ and ‘Ba-wick’. If you do get lost, never fear, because the residents love to help out, whether you ask or not.
The cotton tree in the center of Freetown.
Know your seasons. Avoid Freetown in August, when the city receives a deluge of rain, causing widespread flooding. In 2017, a mudslide claimed the lives of over 1,000 residents. By December, the city is caked in a light covering of dust as the Harmattan winds bring sand from the Sahara. The best time to visit is early in the year January through to March, but be aware that temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and higher as the dry seasons peak in late March and April.
Learn the language of mangoes. In April and May, mangoes are sold individually or in heaps, on street pavements or from the heads of roving vendors. The mangoes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and they grow everywhere, some starting off as discarded seeds. Know the names of the most common varieties and how to eat them: The super-fleshy Guinea mango (the type found in many supermarkets abroad) and the Big Cherry variety can be sliced and diced the fibrous laberu and rope-rope kind are meant to be massaged until soft, coaxed to give up their juice . Bite a hole in the bottom of the mango (or its “chin”) and suck out the juice.
Make sure you know the most common mango varieties and how to eat them.
Talk small-small Krio. Ow di bɔdi? Yu wan fɔ it rɛs ? [“How de body? You want for eat rice?”]. English is Sierra Leone’s official language, but if you can answer appropriately to “how’re you doing ” or whether you’d like some rice, then Freetonians will be pleased that you took time to learn some Krio, and that you speak the language “ smɔl- smɔl ” [“small-small”] — just a little.
Learn some history. Freetown is so named for a reason. Land bought from local Themne chiefs in the late 18th century became the new home for resettled freed slaves from Britain and North America, and of ‘recaptives’ taken off seized slave ships on the Atlantic after Britain passed the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. To learn more about this period of the country’s history, take a short boat ride out to Bunce Island with a guide for a sobering tour. The island was the final point of departure for many West Africans who had been sold into slavery across the Americas.
View the city from above. Stand 548 meters (1800 feet) above sea level among radio and television masts on Leicester Peak to get the best views of the city , tumbling down to the Sierra Leone River and its many inlets and creeks around the peninsula. From up high, you can observe the results of a recent obsession with red sheets of aluminum capping many new constructions. A few green, blue, as well as old, rusted zinc sheets peeping through clumps of trees with slices of red earth in-between complete the color palette.
The view from Old Signal Hill over Freetown.
Rice is food. Don’t say you have eaten food unless you have had rice fruit and eggs for breakfast don’t count. Know your plasas — leaf-based stews — cooked with chili, onions, and palm oil. All come with rice. Many favor the cassava leaves dish, but we like the potato leaves version. Other rice accompaniments include binch (beans) and the ‘national anthem’, groundnut soup—so nicknamed because everyone knows it and knows how to cook it. Most come with the option of meat or fish. Freetown is a city on the ocean, so try the fish. Balmaya, on Main Motor Cross Road, or nearby Tessa’s, on Wilkinson Road, offer excellent local dishes in a pleasant setting. Or visit a streetside joint, where a plate of rice and plasas will be yours for under 5,000 leones (65 cents). Our favorite is on Upper Kandeh drive.
Drink sundowners on the beach. Nothing is better after a long day exploring the city than relaxing with a cold beer in hand as the sun sets into the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic Bar used to be our favorite beach spot, but since it closed down, Bar 232 is the place to go, and is one of the only places where you can get Star, the locally brewed lager, on draught. Order one, kick off your shoes and marvel as the sun sinks into the ocean.
Locally brewed beers on River No. 2 beach.
Try some street treats. In addition to cassava and corn roasted and sold off the grill on roadsides, vendors sell many other types of street food. Porcheh , toasted, parboiled rice, is sold in little packs and eaten as is, or as cereal. Or you can buy little bags of roasted groundnuts (peanuts) or plump cashew nuts from the vendors weaving in and out of the city’s notorious traffic jams. Try the king driver—also known as kill driver, depending on who you ask—a boat-shaped butter cookie, or some sticky groundnut brittle, crunchy coconut cakes, or sesame sticks.
Two vendors sell barbecued fish, spicy beef sticks, and chicken legs to hungry customers on Lumley Beach on a Sunday night.
Dress up for Friday. Take a trip down to Malamah-Thomas Street—named after a wealthy Krio merchant who built a grand home there—to buy wax prints (called kɔtin, after cotton), lace, damask and more in every hue, pattern, and shimmer imaginable. A quick tip: most sellers, usually women, carry the same inventory, but it’s the buyer’s staying power in the haggling game that determines where the sale is made. Choose a fabric and select the number of yards needed (the metric system has not arrived in this bazaar yet). Now you need it made into a dress or shirt: no problem, there’s a tailor for that. You can find them all over the city (try the one at 2 Henry Street). Be part of the in-crowd on what is known here as Africana Fridays , when almost everyone wears their finest Africana threads to work or to mosque.
Get around by taxi. Shared taxis operate across the city in much the same way as Uber Pool, but offline. A taxi driver indicates he has space by beeping the horn put your hand out and as they slow down and shout which direction you’re going, and the driver will stop and wave if your destination is on his route. A ‘one-way’ journey costs 1,500 leones (20 cents) but for further distances your driver might say ‘two, or even, three way’. The newly introduced keke s—three-wheel taxis—operate a similar system, though it’s slightly more expensive. If you want your own space, look out for an empty taxi and ask to ‘charter’. Around 25-35,000 leones (US$3-4) per hour is a widely accepted rate.
Bring your soccer boots. On Sunday afternoons, Lumley Beach is awash with games of beach football. Ask to join a game. Afterwards, head to a local panbodi (a tin or corrugated iron-sheet “pan”) cinema, which dot every square mile of the city. You can buy a soda and watch the European match of the day. If its Arsenal vs Manchester United the place will be packed, and the streets noticeably quieter — until someone scores a goal.
Footballers on Lumley beach.
Get your morning caffeine hit. Ataya bases serve “ataya”, or strong, hot tea, to a mainly young, male clientele at roadside stalls across the city. They can be a place to talk about the challenging employment situation facing many younger residents, but you might soon find yourself being asked to help out with some money. These are also quite macho spaces. And be careful not to drink too much: the caffeine-heavy brew is a strong stimulant. (It might also not be the only stimulant on offer.) Note: a taya also means “I’m tired” in Krio.
Get a Sunday routine. The Lord rested on the seventh day. Freetown does not it just slows down a little. From as early as 7.30 a.m., groups of smartly dressed people dot the quiet streets, waiting for public transport to take them to church. Services are packed, especially in the new evangelical churches that have sprouted up on every corner, with loud singing and clapping accompanied by even louder percussion instruments. You’ll be most welcome to attend, if you haven’t already been invited. After church the fun begins: there could be celebratory lunches or just-because dinners, fundraising events, or straight-up partying on any of the beaches along the city’s far-west peninsula late into the night. When everyone heads home at the same time, the traffic flows like chilled honey, so continue jamming in the car. Why worry? Didn’t you have a great Sunday?
An okaka (motorbike taxi) driver crosses Aberdeen Bridge.
Listen to Emmerson. M usician Emmerson Bockarie has been a consistent thorn in consecutive Sierra Leone governments’ sides his political music confronts corruption and underdevelopment. Once you have brushed up on your Krio, listen to “ Munku Boss Pan Matches ” or “ Good Do ”. If you still need help understanding, speak to residents of the city who will mostly be happy to talk about Emmerson’s songs. A ban preventing him from performing at the National stadium was lifted this year, so if you time your visit right you might even get to hear him in concert.
Read some Sierra Leone fiction. David Harris wrote an excellent guide to Sierra Leone political history, but if you’re looking for novels to read while relaxing on the peninsula’s beaches, read Aminatta Forna’s “ Memory of Love. ” Set in Freetown, it’s a wonderful and powerful account of love and longing stretched out over several decades of the countries turbulent recent history. Any of Yema Lucilda Hunter ’s books are delightful trips into the country’s history, life, and culture.
“Barbing” as it’s called, is a common sight in Freetown. Here a man gets his hair barbed at an outdoor stall in Dwazark.
Get smart at Fourah Bay. West Africa’s oldest university, founded in 1827, sits at the top of Mount Aureol, with great views of the city’s east end. In its heyday, Fourah Bay drew students from across the region and southern Africa with its quality of teaching, earning Freetown the nickname Athens of West Africa. Two former heads of state were educated here, as was Christian Cole, a Sierra Leonean who became the f irst black student to study at the University of Oxford in 1873 . It may no longer be an internationally renowned seat of learning, but spend some time in the grounds and soak up its historic importance.
Marvel at dem old bose ose. Ageing wooden houses, scattered across Freetown, are known as old bod os (“old board houses”). These are reconstructions of the homes built in the 18th century on the American eastern seaboard, and many are over a century old. Check out the Architectural Field Office ’s “Journey without Maps” project, which maps the buildings’ locations around Freetown as part of a conservation effort. Their interactive map shows you were they are and also provides a little history about each.
Keep cool. Enjoy Sunday afternoon gelato at Gigibonta on Lumley Beach. After a walk along the beach you’ll be hot, so stop and enjoy the refreshment. Two scoops will set you back 30,000 leones (US$4) so it isn’t cheap, but the ice cream is great and it’s an excellent people-watching spot, particularly on Sundays when those who can afford it try to impress their dates over a scoop or two.
Grab some gelato on Lumley beach.
Escape the city. Further down the peninsula on which Freetown sits, there is a collection of white-sand beaches with green mountains in the background. Spend a night or two out here. Eat fresh seafood lobster, crab, barracuda, and snapper for a fraction of the price you would normally pay. Lobster and chips at Cockle Point will set you back US$10. You can do yoga on a helipad some weekends at Tokeh Beach, enjoy a stroll along the beach at River Number 2, or surf at Bureh Beach.
A boatman on River No. 2 Beach.
Surf. The west coast of Africa has some of the best and least-populated surf beaches in the world. Bureh Surf Club caters for all skill levels. You can hire a board for the day (US$25) and enroll in surf school (it’s a little more than US$10 for a lesson). If you brought your own board, just get out and enjoy the waves, but talk to the locals first about the best spots the current is very strong and needs to be carefully navigated. Di waves dem go mek yu fil fayn!
Shop smart. Beach vendors or stalls along central Freetown streets will entice you carvings, paintings, batik, and jewelry, but instead, head to the two-story Big Market, the renovated 19th-century building overlooking the area where the first freed slaves landed. Sellers throw in extra gifts to seal the deal do not reject them. This is the best spot for last-minute souvenirs.
The view of ground floor of Big Market in downtown Freetown.
History of the Huge Debt Burden Sierra Leone & Most African Countries Face…
That Africa generally has been under the unbearable weight of a debt crisis is not disputed. Over the years, most African countries have had debt sustainability problems. This explains why they have not been able to exit from the debt trap, necessitating the resort to debt rescheduling and relief measures.
By debt crisis, we mean a condition whereby a country has accumulated so much debt that it can no longer sustain the management of the debt, resulting in severe distortions and contra-dictions in the domestic political economy.
This has been the reality for Sierra Leone in particular since the late 1970s when the government t turned to the IMF for budgetary support that gain with Structural Adjustment Program conditions that included devaluation of the Leone, reduced public sector spending and laying off of redundant workers in the public service.
The origin of Africa’s debt crisis can be traced to the colonial period where the foundations of the crisis were laid based on the condition of African foreign trade which exhibits five major defects, which were largely responsible for its debt crisis.
These defects, a result of ‘the extreme disarticulation and distortions of Africa’s colonial economy and the late decolonization of the region’, are:
High concentration on a few commodities
Low and declining terms of trade
High instability of exports earning due to these factors and.
Chronic balance of payments crisis
It was upon this weak economic base that most African countries attained political independence, mostly in the 1960s.
The implication of this bad financial start was the inability of many new African economies to withstand the post-colonial shocks that were to come, including internal pressures for improved living conditions in Africa as promised under the anti-colonial ideologies of legitimization.
As the pressure heightened, several African countries were compelled by domestic politics to jump-start development programs, relying largely on external funding for implementation.
At the same time, to encourage economic growth, there had to be some significant level of investment in the economy which can only be achieved when there is an adequate investible surplus.
In the absence of this surplus, alternative means of generating funds must be devised, most often through borrowing.
For these and related reasons, African countries began to seek and receive external funds to fill their savings and investments gaps.
Borrowing may not necessarily be bad for an economy. In fact, it is even considered as one of the best alternatives to the creation of money during periods of recession.
What is negative about borrowing generally relates to the conditions attached to debt, and the cost of management of that debt.
In the African experience, the burden of conditions and the cost of servicing extensive borrowing remain at the heart of the continent’s debt crisis.
Africa’s external creditors have insisted on deregulation of the economy, devaluation of the local currency, and recently, political liberalization, which, as has been demonstrated, actually undermined African economies.
To make matters worse, poor economic management at the domestic front in the form of wasteful and unproductive expenditures, in addition to the mismanagement of the borrowed funds by inefficient public enterprises, were a major feature in Africa.
These forces have combined disastrously to lead Africa into a severe debt burden.
The overarching implication is an unacceptable level of poverty and inequality, both of which symbolize the marginalization of Africa in the international economic system.
A number of initiatives have been taken, especially by the creditor nations and agencies in response to Africa’s debt crisis. At the initial stage, they resorted to an adjustment mechanism as typified by the austerity measures and SAPs.
The basic features of the SAP regime include ‘import and exchange liberalization getting prices right privatization and reduction of labor’s share in national economy’.
The Concise History of Fourah Bay College 1827-2003 (A New Book)
The book “A concise History of Fourah Bay College recently published in Winnipeg in the Province of Manitoba Canada by a Sierra Leonean Scholar and launched early this year at the British Council Auditorium in Freetown finally put to rest the myriad of misconceptions and erroneous mindset among Sierra Leoneans about the genesis of this famous West African University.
A Concise History of Fourah Bay College
The Author Anthony Kamara undertook detailed research into the origins and development of the College which was to earn the name ‘Fourah Bay” in the East end of Freetown, thanks to the philanthropic efforts of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) whose early efforts at opening a Christian Institution in the village of Leicester and later Regent village were met with many challenges and frustrations along the way due to lack of funds until a decision was taken to abandon the project in the mountain villages.
But thanks to his humanitarian concerns, Governor Sir Charles of Sierra Leone advised the CMS to give up the original idea of the Christian Institution project and transform the Institution into a College for a select few who would extend their studies to “Classics, Arabic and other languages”.
Fourah Bay College History is all about the beginnings and development of University education in West Africa. The author showed the unshaken resolve of the CMS to make education a success despite lack of encouragement and financial support from their home government.
The Institution officially took off in 1827 in Cline town in the East end of Freetown but it was not until 1876 when it was affiliated to Durham University in England when it started presenting students for English University degrees.
It was amazing to learn from Rev Thomas Rowan , two term Principal of theCollege 1911-21 and 1925-26 in his annual Report in the 1916 University Convocation that FourahBay College was actually producing graduates not only in the Humanities and Theology, but also in the fields of Medicine and Law.
The Medical and Law faculties were however discontinued after World War 1 (1914-1918) because the CMS found it impossible to continue these courses as they were too expensive to run without huge financial support.
The Author clearly showed the Colonial Administration’s apathy towards the Institution when it obnoxiously proposed the transfer of theCollege to Nigeria in the early 1920s because of its struggles over funding from the Home government and the continued dominance of Nigerian students in the student body in addition to their malicious belief thatthe College would do better and grow faster in Nigeria due to her huge population.
The Proposal naturally was met with protests both from the CMS owners and the Sierra Leone community and consequently dismissed as openly biased and counterproductive: Fourah Bay College remained in Sierra Leone much to the disappointment of the colonial administration.
The book clearly demonstrates not only British Government indifference to the CMS educational efforts in Sierra Leone by their deliberate reluctance to provide financial assistance but also the fierce opposition by the London Times and other groups in London who doubted the intellectual ability of the Blackman to be educated along western lines.
The author shows their opinions were wrong as “ a succession of African clergymen, merchants and professional men arose to bear living testimony in their own persons to the mental power of the civilized and educated Blackman”.
The British Administration showed their opposition to Sierra Leone having a University of its own even with the release of the Elliot Commission of 1944 which released its findings with two differing Reports, a Majority and Minority Reports: the former recommending the establishment of University Colleges in Nigeria at Ibadan, the Gold Coast at Achimota and Sierra Leone with degrees courses offered at each Institution, was ignored by the Colonial Administration in favour of the Minority Report which submitted contradictory recommendations to the Majority.
Unfortunately for Fourah Bay College, Mr. Creech-Jones, one of the signatories of the Minority recommendations, had become Secretary of State for the colonies in London, and in his dispatch on Higher Education in West Africa flatly rejected the Majority Proposals in favour of the Minority.
By this action, the Secretary of State clearly demonstrated British Colonial ill will to Fourah BayCollege and the educational efforts of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Sierra Leone.
The author deals in depth the foreign Principals before 1960 who were all Ordained Ministers of Religion including the first student Samuel Ajayi Crowther who acted as Principal in 1837,1844 and 1848 before his appointment to the Bishopric of the Niger Delta in Nigeria.
He discusses the administration of the First Sierra Leonean Principal Dr. Davidson Nicol 1960-1968, who left the greatest educational footprints on the campus in a period which saw the modernization of the former Mount Aureol army barracks College into a modern, beautiful campus including the towering Kennedy Building, the Male and Female hostels, Lecture rooms, library and Theatre.
The author discusses Dr. Davidson Nicol’s successors, including Prof. Rev. Harry Sawyerr, Cyril Foray, Victor Strasser-King who left the College with the beautiful Strasser-King Building as the achievement of his own administration (1993-2003).
The book targets every member of the intellectual class including Fourah Bay College students both past and present, secondary school students, Members of the Legislature, legal profession et al.
We can no longer falsely assume knowledge of Fourah Bay College its history is now published and available at home and abroad. I encourage every Sierra Leonean to take advantage to secure a copy.
This is an opportunity everyone must take advantage of. There can be no more excuses for lack of reading material on Fourah Bay College history. It is now available for all to get the story as presented by the author.
Apart from the interesting narrative, the book includes photographs of the Old College in Cline town, the Campus at Mabang where the College was relocated during World War 11, then the majestic buildings on Mount Aureol including the Kennedy Tower and photos of the first two alumni from the provinces, who later became Heads of State in Sierra Leone,-Sir Milton Margai the first Provincial Graduate from Fourah Bay College (1921) and Current President Ernest Bai Koroma (1976), indeed an exemplary accomplishment by any stretch of imagination.
Photos of the first female student on Mount Aureol Mrs Lati-Hyde Forster and later Principal for 15 years of her Alma Mater, the Annie Walsh Memorial School is also included and Professor Eldred Jones successor to Professor Harry Sawyerr.
The Concise History of Fourah Bay College has told the story of an Institution which Sierra Leoneans never knew before until now, and will serve as lifetime reading historical handbook for Sierra Leoneans as well as a reference book in School libraries in Sierra Leone in particular and West Africa in general.
The Author should be highly commended for successfully undertaking such a brilliant piece of historical research without funding from any source whatsoever and to come up with this piece of history.
I therefore unhesitatingly strongly recommend this piece of history to all educational institutions in Sierra Leone and every member of the intellectual class to secure a personal copy of the book.
The book is available at the following locations in Sierra Leone at a price of Le30.000 a copy.
1. EPP Book Services, Fourah Bay College Campus, Mount Aureol.
2. S.L. Diocesan Bookshop, 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown.
3. CLC Bookshop, 92 Circular Road Freetown (Opposite the Macauley Street cemetery).
4. Alie Sheriff, 18 Lightfoot-Boston Street, Freetown.
5. Overseas: the book may be obtained from the Author for only $20.00 & $10.00 (S & H) by either International Money Order or Money Transfer and may be reached at: