This article by Thobeka Nyathikazi is written for the most part to educate the general public on the Republic of Sierra Leone with the hope of garnering support for PJ Mandewa-Cole's GoFundMe page.
Africa is an Autonomous continent. Before I go into a slight review of history for us all, and make my plea for Ubuntu to prevail, this is a notion you must understand about my people.
What affects one Nation, affects us all, in some way or another. And considering the aspirations of the African Unions Agenda 2063, this is a reality that will increasingly have to become part of your understanding of Africa and Africans. Africa is an autonomous continent.
Sierra Leone is a beautiful country. It is very important that any new perceptions you have of Sierra Leone upon completion of this piece, are founded firmly on that basic truth. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country.
As a nation, Sierra Leone is the product of the unity of freed men and women during and after the endemic of Slavery in the 1800s. As a territory, it was marked out in 1896 during the Scramble for Africa and fell under British colonial rule.
Just like a majority of other African states, the development of Sierra Leone by the British occurred with the exclusion of Sierra Leonians, therefore resulting at some points in a booming economy which largely benefitted the West more than it benefitted the Africans.
It is claimed that in the 1950's Sierra Leone had over 50 000 "illicit diggers", these diggers became the individuals who raised their children in wealthy, westernised homes, as opposed to the millions who did not dig for Diamonds before the tightening of regulations.
I will resist the urge of going into who and what history has dubbed an "illicit digger", for that on it's own could be an entire book; The West deciding how Africa's resources are to be policed from the gain of Africans...what a World.
Considering that the birth of Sierra Leone was filled with good intentions and aspirations to live in Freedom and Peace, for those of us who believe in Karma, it is baffling to understand the cards that God has dealt this nation.
Having barely recovered from the Civil War which ended in 2001, the country then had to face Ebola in 2014, and as you already know, still in the process of mourning all who died during the Ebola outbreak, this years rainy season has come with multiple mudslides in August and September resulting in more deaths and injuries; another terrible tragedy.
It is believed that over 50 000 men, women and children lost their lives in the Civil War which lasted 10years and 9 months. This number is gruesome. It also begins to make it clear why the first images that pop up in your Google Search of Sierra Leone are images of mass graves.
The country is currently ranked at 179 out of 185 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index report, the report also alleges that 60% of the citizens in Sierra Leone, live below the poverty line.
Now all of this would be a bad setting in any movie for any more tragedies, I mean, this is the part where the story should start to get better and people fall in love and start businesses and thrive. Instead Ebola plagued Sierra Leone in 2014, with a recorded 3955 deaths which, with better health infrastructure could have been considerably less.
Enter the mudslides. The mudslides starting on August 14 2017, have killed an estimated 1000 people (Al Jazeera), that's 1000 lives, in 23 days.
I think the one thing the last tragedy has made us aware of is the reality of Climate Change and Poverty together being a monstrous Goliath to the David that is Africa.
But after all of this still, the reality is, someone needs to do something, because the continuing phenomena of Mass graves are a signal of distress, a signal of life needing protection, assistance, direction and answers for progress. We can be that answer.
How do we, as Africa's citizens, assist with the troubles facing Sierra Leone today? Well, I'm glad you asked.
1. Awareness of and Sensitisation towards African issues - share this article with your colleagues who may learn something new about another African state today and garner interest in Continental current affairs.
2. Support my Sierra Leonian friend PJ Mandewa-Cole in his response efforts in Sierra Leone by using the link below;