Flag of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Celebrates Independence 27 April 2023

By Joy Osiagwu

Sierra Leone in West Africa has a rich and fascinating history in the study of the transatlantic slave trade as the departure spot for thousands of west African captives. The capital Freetown was also a major domain for the repatriation of slaves after the abolition of the Slave trade.

It is located on the southwest coast of West Africa and shares a southeastern border with Liberia.  Limba was the first known tribe to inhabit the area.

The nation is one African country that was continuously populated for over 250 years and relatively shielded from invaders in West Africa due to the dense jungle in the area. Islam occupies a central role in the nation’s cultural history because it was introduced by traders. The British set up a trading base in the 17 century close to present-day Freetown. It began with timber and ivory and later spread to enslave the people.

Following the American Revolution of 1787, the country became a haven and destination for Black British loyalists from the USA. British ships delivered thousands of liberated Africans to Sierra Leone and the colony broadened inland in the 19th century.

The nation gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and conducted free and fair general elections, and Sir, Milton Margai was elected as the nation’s first prime minister with strong backing from a coalition of traditional rulers and elites.

Sir, Milton Margai, First Prime minister of Sierra Leone (1961-64)

Sierra Leone has a population of 8.6 million with a landmass of 71,740 sq km. The languages spoken are mainly English and Krio. Sierra Leone is famous for diamonds and various solid mineral resources. Many still remember the civil war incited by the trade in illicit gems often referred to as “blood diamonds” because of the sponsor’s role in funding conflicts.

Current Governance Structure.

Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic with a unicameral parliament. The president is elected to serve a term of five years with a maximum of two years. Julius Maada Bio is the current president of the country.

H.E. Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone

Trending News

The display of religious hate by the SLPP Freetown Mayoral candidate, Mohamed Gento Kamara is generating attention from the Christian community in the Country.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph reports that Mohamed Gento during a sermon at a Mosque in Freetown last Sunday displayed evidence of religious intolerance while President Bio and his cabinet members kept quiet on an issue described as sensitive to the polity. The Mayoral candidate is known for his wealth and financial contribution to the SLPP party, running into millions of dollars which earned him the party’s symbol to run in the forthcoming election in Freetown.

Mayoral candidate Mohammed Gento (photo credit: Sierra Leone Telegraph)

Sierra Leone Ottawa Connection

The Sierra Leone Community Association, Ottawa is realizing the need to care for one another have come together to present a positive image of Sierra Leone in Ottawa. They have created a strong community that will protect and gives full and unfettered expressions of equal justice, love, peace, prosperity, and unity in the community.  It was established in 2007 and has been registered as a Not-for-Profit organization since 2013.

 Their Aims and Objectives are:

a. To care for all Sierra Leoneans residing in Ottawa, supporting each other in Ottawa and Canada.

b. To represent and contribute towards rebuilding the positive image of Sierra Leone.

c. To contribute towards the national development of Sierra Leone.

d. To sustain Sierra Leone’s education system, through an annual scholarship program.

e. To promote the visibility of Sierra Leoneans residing in Ottawa.

f. To represent the interest of members within the community and Canada at large.

g. To promote programs of informational and educational activities of interest to the majority of members and

h. To promote cooperation between the Association and other associations with similar interests.

The association provided grants to many students in junior and senior Secondary schools in the western part of its ancestral home in 2014.

Resplendent traditional attire at an SLCA Independence celebration

The association is on Facebook with about 193 members.