Sierra Leone Journal
Dispatches from Pre-War Freetown and Beyond


Independence Comes to Sierra Leone

FREETOWN—The mood was bright in the dark of an April night in 1961 when Sierra Leone joined the growing ranks of newly independent nations. Shortly after midnight Britain's Duke of Kent offered congratulations on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, as the Union Jack gave way to the new nation's tricolor—green for the gifts of agriculture and natural resources, white for unity and justice, and blue for the country's magnificent Atlantic harbor. Fireworks lit the sky launching a wave of celebrations around Freetown, the capital, which lasted well into daylight. No matter that the disparate peoples united that day would just as likely—if left to their own devices—have chosen to form different (or no) alliances and, perhaps, not troubled themselves with the formation of a European-style nation-state governed by parliament and prime minister. Although they never had much of a say in the matter, the people of Sierra Leone were left to make the best of it.

From the book Black Man’s Grave: Letters from Sierra Leone by Gary Stewart and John Amman


Copyright © 2016 by Gary Stewart

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