Saturday, March 03, 2007

Notice to all Sierra Leoneans

The Sierra Leone High Commission in London in collaboration with some Sierra Leoneans in the UK have proposed that we commemorate the Bicentenary of the abolition of the Slave Trade through some activities. The aim is to raise an awareness of how that act affected our country, what are the lessons learnt; how we can all work together with the appropriate authorities to ensure that slavery in any form is never allowed or encouraged in the future and how we can identify the practice world wide. The planning group has considered and discussed the possibility of organising the following functions:-

  • A service of Reflection possibly in June 2007.
  • Revealing History, possibly in October 2007 which will involve a series of events. It will trace the origins of the creoles through songs, dances and the emergence of Creole culture and the Krio language, poetry, sketches; Sierra Leone – West Indies and back to Sierra Leone.
  • A fashion show – from olden times to the present, showing how the print and cabaslot have become truly national.
  • A photo exhibition.
  • Symposium to be chaired by an Authority on the subject to be followed by question and answer sessions. Decision on the topic will soon be taken and you will be informed accordingly.
  • Raising awareness of the plight of war affected women.
  • A Sierra Leone Exhibition possibly at the British Museum.
  • Visits to Sierra Leone’s historical sites e.g. Bunce Island, the Freedom Steps, Kent, St. Charles Church at Regent and Fourah Bay College etc. We need suggestions of other sites from you also.
  • An essay competition for school children in Sierra Leone.
  • TV and Radio Interviews. We are requesting the OBE TV, BEN TV, etc.
  • Focus on Africa (BBC).
  • BBC Bristol.
  • Voice of Africa (Radio).
  • Colourful Radio.
  • Sierra Leone For You TV show on BEN.
  • DJ Metro – Sierra Leone Show on OBE TV.
  • How de go day go on BEN TV & others.

For the service of reflection, we would have a Christian preacher and a Muslim Imam at the multi-faith service.

We wish to use the opportunity at this time to focus on the rehabilitation, rebuilding, renovation and restructuring of relics and some structures e.g. Bunce Island and other areas which were ignored in the past but which were affected by the Slave trade. We believe that being aware of the past will help us plan for the future in a more structured, organised and sustained manner. Sierra Leone has a beautiful Peninsula, part of which was used as outpost for trafficking and later for the resettlement of ex-slaves. We ought to examine what we can do to refocus attention on our Peninsular. The planning group is just a small committee. It’s work will largely depend on inputs from our friends and compatriots in the diaspora. For that reason, we are inviting Sierra Leoneans and Friends of the country to come up with suggestions and recommendations, after seeing the list above of some of the activities that we have proposed. This notice is being sent to all Sierra Leone Associations in the UK and the countries to which the High Commission is accredited, including Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Cyprus, Greece and Portugal with a view to informing them about plans for the Commemoration and to encourage them to suggest and recommend how they can be involved or associated with the commemoration.

If any members of your Association or our compatriots have any photograph, war medals, old newspapers or anything which would be useful for display at the exhibition, we would be grateful if you could communicate with us.

We count on your cooperation, prompt response and advice on who will be your association’s focal point of contact for correspondence on this matter.

James B. Allie

Deputy High Commission