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State of Sierra Leone | April 27, 1961

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Sierra Leone won flag independence from the United Kingdom on April 27, 1961, with Milton Margai as the first Prime Minister. Below is Sir Milton Margai's Independence address to the new nation.

Men, women, and children of Sierra Leone, I greet you all on this historic day, and I rejoice with you.

Sierra Leone today becomes a unified and independent nation to take her place as an equal partner in the Commonwealth of nations and as equal entity in the world at large. For this, we rejoice, and may your own rejoicing wherever you are, be really full of happiness.

We must also face up squarely to the problems which will confront us, and I want you all to understand clearly that the Sierra Leone Government in future will depend very greatly upon the active support and assistance of each one of you. The aim will certainly be to make our country a land worth living in, a land worth serving; but this can only be done by wholehearted service and hard work now. I have told you this before, …

UNESCO’s message on World Book and Copyright Day

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In these turbulent times, books embody the diversity of human ingenuity,  giving shape to the wealth of human experience, expressing the search for meaning and expression we all share, that drive all societies forward.

Books help weave humanity together as a single family, holding a past in common,  a history and heritage, to craft a  destiny that is shared,  where all voices are heard in the great chorus of human aspiration. Books are our allies in spreading education, science, culture, and information worldwide. 

Books are also a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a  language-specific reading audience.  A  book is thus written,  produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting.

This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment…

Celebrating Easter Sunday

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‘To Mommy, with Love’

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Happy birthday, Sidney Poitier. If my father were alive, he’d be a week shy of his 92nd born day. May he continue to rest in peace. 

As a line in the old song goes: 'I never knew YOU at all' but I was six years old when I saw "To Sir, with Love" at the Roxy Cinema on Walpole. See, my Mom worked as a typist in the Roxy, so she got discounts on documentaries and live shows featuring the Afro National band with hits such as  “Temedi” (Happiness). 

Poitier’s eyes in one of the best movies of the sixties are as memorable as National’s songs. 

A steely glance held up in a ramrod suit, Poitier played a young, gifted and black engineer who took up teaching in the Docklands, where decades later my mom (who just turned 81) would live briefly during the war in Sierra Leone.  

I’ve watched a lot of movies with engineers. Most recently, “Regina the Engineer,” a Nigerian tearjerker about overcoming life’s hurdles and challenges; old Hollywood cultural staples like "October Sky&qu…

Vitabu features the memorable sixth chapter of Bakar Mansaray's new book

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Bakar Mansaray, the founder of the Mandingo Scrolls blog and winner of the 2017 Writer-of-the-Year, Afro-Canadian Heroes Award, is known for his riveting short stories and tales of life in his native Sierra Leone. In his new book, My Afro-Canadian Chronicle, published by Sierra Leonean Writers Series, the author sheds a personal light on the devastating effects of underdevelopment on a country that went through one of the most atrocious civil wars in modern history.

"For those who have read books of literature, history and anthropology from Sierra Leone and yet harbour the sinking feeling that there had to be a missing link between narratives, Bakar’s book provides that missing link to complete the national narrative," writes novelist and poet Oumar Farouk Sesay in the Foreword.

"This autobiography is a portrait painted on a canvas of memory in vivid and sometimes dark hues, telling a story only a mind as lucid as the author’s can tell.

This excerpt was used with permissio…

"The Lord is with us in every direction we go"

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The Hebrew inscriptions testify to the great part Jews played in opening up trade all along the coast of Sierra Leone during the last century. H. B. Levi, for instance, whom the epidemic also swept away, and his brother John, whom it spared, were well established in business in Freetown by 1859.

Nathaniel Isaacs, a Jew from Canterbury, had a large trading establishment on Matacong Island-now part of French Guinea-with an agent, Emmanuel Lyons, in Wilberforce Street.

Nathaniel Nathan settled in what was still the Sherbro village of Bonthe in the early 1850s; there is still a monument to his little daughter in the old cemetery in Claffin Lane, Bonthe.

Further south two Jewish brothers, John and Nathan Harris, started trading at Sulima; it was largely their efforts that prevented the British government from giving all the land south of the Sherbro to Liberia.

Reprinted from Sierra Leone Studies, NS, No 2 | By C.H. Fyfe




Purple Rain by Damilola Fasuba

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I am Kamal Anisiobi, writing from West Africa. Oluwadamilola Fasuba is someone I call my friend. We met 4 years ago via Instagram. I am proud of her determined, hardworking, no-nonsense attitude. Oluwadamilola (Dami for short) is a 22-year-old writer/novelist who lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Writing has always been her passion. Her role model is the great Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and she aspires to be as good as her in the future. Shine on Dami!

Already on her second book, Purple Rain is a generational love story, which runs from the matriarch Agnes down to Kikelomo, her granddaughter.

"Although I have written many stories," Dami said, "I realized that I've never touched on the topic of love. This is because love has many depths and cannot be constrained to a single story.

"Purple Rain is a collection of my thoughts and ideas," she says. "I believe it will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. I believe love is a universal language and we all speak it …