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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…