Reliving the history of Sierra Leone often brings to mouth; a bitter taste of hard times that no one ever thought would come to an end when woeful struggles of captured slaves in early 1980s rented the air. Teary eyes are usually a clear manifest when tales of how this West African nation has struggled through the years, are told under trees in homes and in Freetown. So, where did the name Freetown come from? Every nation on planet Earth has been through ups and downs but while freedom is something many have always celebrated with nostalgia, Africa’s dark past in the colonial times cannot be compared to even darker days when slave trade was rife and when thousands of slaves transited through Sierra Leone to Europe. In the later years, freedom rang and relishing it with drum beats, songs and dances under the cotton tree in central Freetown was something worth taking down the memory lane.
Freetown, a name that rings far and wide…
Sierra Leone has struggled through years of political instabilities and economic meltdowns and getting to know more about this place would mean you take advantage of discounted fares to Freetown as soon as possible. It is not easy to come across incredibly low fares as those you will be offered by reputed travel agencies in Houston, Texas and so, the earlier you preserve your seat, the better.
Coined from Freed slaves, Freetown was certainly a name in the offing but adding the word town made is much more of a reminder of brutality slaves went through as they were gathered in this part of the world and then shipped to farms and industries in Europe. But when curtains finally came down on inhumane act of capturing blacks and African Americans and shipping them abroad as slaves, people danced and cried at the same time. Those who were released from captivity of slave-owners were finally free and Sierra Leone was to be their new home. The country is hence largely founded by freed slaves who were learning to call this place home. A tree of freedom as it became known and under which freed slaves celebrated their release became a good place to relish those memories and so, around it, the city of Freetown was named and its growth has been phenomenal.
- Of politics, Blood diamonds…
African continent is endowed with some of the most precious metals including rare earth minerals. Sierra Leone is among the leading countries in not just Africa but also in the world which boasts of large deposits of diamond beneath its soils. However, while this is a blessing parse, the country has never realized its full potential in as far mining of diamond is concerned, thanks to endless wars built around struggles for the precious metal. Blood Diamonds which is also a movie relives memories of cutthroat competition for the highly valued minerals. Unrests and civil wars stemming out of the same have been blamed on underhand tactics and external influence. Well, to witness mining of Diamond firsthand, you’ve got to catch a flight here and this means you will need to shop around for discount fares to Freetown.
Why is Radio a popular mass medium in Sierra Leon…?
As a country that has seen it all, from slavery to civil wars, one would certainly want to guess why Sierra Leoneans love their radio gadgets so much that in almost every home, there is one. Studies have put this at averagely 85% of the total population. Well, this is linked to illiteracy levels and in which case, a good number indigenous Sierra Leoneans would rather listen to news and enjoy local content over the radio than purchase dailies. This also means that Sierra Leone is one of the countries in Africa still struggling to up literacy levels.
A dark past of raving civil war
For 10 years, which is between the year 1991 and 2001, Sierra Leoneans went through a daunting decade of brutal murders, political rivalry and displacements from a place they always called home. Over 2 million people fled and became refugees in the neighbouring countries and at least 50, 000 people were killed during the civil war when rival camps were fighting over the control of the country. This war was largely inspired by who was to be in control of large Diamond deposits across the country.
- Cassava and rice makes the bulk of Sierra Leoneans staple foods
Well, every country is endowed with cultural diversities and food is always in the mix. In fact, one of the things you should do as soon as you find discounted fares to Sierra Leone is plan a date with its indigenous dishes. This is something you can taste deep in the remote villages or right at the heart of the city where hotels incorporate traditional cuisines in their menus. Sierra Leoneans love their rice and cassava. For rice, they cook it different and it shouldn’t be a surprise that you find some of it stuck at the bottom of their cooking pots. Then there is cassava which is labour intensive during cooking. They use the leaves to make a green stew which they eat with beef, rice or any other dish. In some instances, they prepare the cassava roots during major meals.
- Hosts the biggest natural harbour in Africa
From the days of slave trade when slaves were packed into ships and shipped abroad to modern day shipment of goods via Freetown, the capital city plays host to the largest natural harbours on the continent. This means that Freetown harbour is capable of handling ship of any size.
- The Israeli government built their parliament
A domineering parliament building at the heart of Freetown was built with the assistance of Israeli government which funded it. This notwithstanding, it was also built by Israeli construction companies at the time. From the parliament buildings, you can easily catch a spectacular glimpse of the Freetown harbour beyond.
Stay tune for next post….