Sowei mask naming ceremony at the British Museum for the Sowei mask: spirit of Sierra Leone exhibition.
“During initial meetings with the Sierra Leonean community, the women were concerned that the mask to be displayed had lost its name. They proposed holding a special ceremony to give the mask a new name and, 127 years after originally entering the Museum’s collections, to formally present the mask to the British Museum on behalf of the Sande society.”
River number 2 Beach
Kadi Sesay is a Sierra Leonean politician, feminist, pro-democracy advocate and the Vice President of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). She served as Sierra Leone Minister of Trade and Industry from 2002 to 2007. She is the founder and Managing Director of Leone Consulting & Advisory Services – for Trade, Investment and Development.
Dr. Sesay was a lecturer at Fourah Bay College for 20 years and became Head of the English Department. She spent 6 years chairperson for the National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights (NCDHR). She is the first woman in Sierra Leonean history to head a national commission.
She is the mother of CNN International news anchor Isha Sesay.
Cricket in Salone
President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday finally switched on the first submarine fibre-optic cable linking Sierra Leone to the outside world. Before now, Sierra Leone’s Internet service has been through satellite. This move is expected to boost the country’s internet and telecommunication sector.
Currently the country has 0.8%internet penetration, but with the fibre cable going live it is projected that internet penetration will increase to 20% in its first year.
The kola nut’s name might recall the world’s most globalized beverage, but the two have little in common. The kola nut is the fruit of the kola tree, which belongs to the same family as cacao, Sterculiaceae. The tree is native to the tropical forests of West Africa, and still grows wild in Sierra Leone and Liberia. There are around 140 species of kola, but the most widely consumed in Africa are the wild Cola acuminata, also known as small or bitter kola, and the cultivated Cola nitida, known as big kola or kola nut. Cola acuminata is brown, while Cola nitida can be of different colors, ranging from yellow to pink to red when fresh and from brown to dark red when dried. The fruits contain caffeine, kolatin, theobromine and tannic acid.
For centuries this fruit has been a vital part of different areas of daily life and given it important symbolic meaning; it is used in religious practices, as a sexual stimulant and in social customs. In Sierra Leone, kola nuts are consumed during rites and ceremonies, to welcome guests, as a symbol of friendship, to seal an agreement or to mark a reconciliation. During Ramadan, soft drink producers make a kind of ginger ale with water, ginger, kola, chili and sometimes sugar. They use white kola, because oddly its juice is darker red in color than other types of kola nuts.
Kola is used in traditional medicine; chewing a piece after meals helps digestion, and the caffeine in the fruits aids concentration. It is also used to reduce hunger pangs. The Mandingo and Temne ethnic groups also use the nuts as a brown dye for fabrics, after they have been ground and soaked in water.
In the southeastern regions of Sierra Leone (Kenema and Kailahun districts), Cola nitida is grown intercropped with coffee and cacao, smaller plants that like the shade cast by the large kola tree. The fruits are picked twice a year, between May and June and November and January. After the harvest the fruits are cut open to extract the nuts.
One fruit contains 8 to 10 nuts, each protected by a yellow skin. To remove this, the nuts are laid out on the ground on a mat, covered with banana or mango leaves, and soaked with water. The skin rots in about a week, making it easy to remove. The nuts are then washed with fresh water before being stored in baskets or sacks lined with fresh mango leaves. The humidity of the leaves is essential to stop the nuts drying out, and thus the nuts can be kept for more than six months and easily transported. Kola nuts from southeastern Sierra Leone are known for their flavor and texture (crisp rather than fibrous), and many traders come to Kenema from as far away as Senegal, Guinea and Mali.
-Sierra Leonean Proverb