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.
At104-pages Siaka Kroma’s novel Manners Maketh Man: Adventures of a Bo School Boy is a fraction of Sama Banya’s 484-page autobiography Looking Back, My Life and Times, but the cross references and descriptions of Bo Town and Bo School are fascinating. Together, both books make a study of how one school enforced national consciousness in Sierra Leonean education.
In Banya’s story, it is the second week of March 1940 when he arrives at Bo School, which by then had only about 90 pupils enrolled. From Looking Back, we learn that Bo School was patterned after the British public school system. The boys were divided into dormitories named after European cities: London, Liverpool, Paris, and Manchester. Equally, we also learn about the school’s original mission to integrate the “sons and nominees of chiefs” from Northern and Southern Sierra Leone, “promoting nationally-unifying doctrines, beliefs, personalities, and languages.”
One of the highlights in Banya’s “Bo School Years” chapter i…
Andrew Keili's shrewd, introspective, oftentimes hilarious commentaries in Ponder My Thoughts Vol. 1 are much like the opinion articles he wrote in the mid-2000s, when he explained post-war Sierra Leone, its management, or lack of it, in local, regional, and national government.
How we see things depends on where we stand on Sierra Leonean--ness, society, and politics.
Keili's book, Ponder My Thoughts, captures a year (2013) in observations and stories, but it's not a time capsule. It's information you can use—contemporary Sierra Leonean history pieced together one op-ed at a time.
Remember that debate surrounding misuse of funds from GAVI? The global vaccine alliance that buys vaccines with Gavi funding, procured through UNICEF directly with the manufacturer, and delivered to low-income countries like Sierra Leone?
Keili's columns start with the uncompromising subject of misuse of funds in public life and how Sierra Leone doesn't learn from mistakes.