Sierra Leone Krios…Get De-Slaved!! Free Africa!
“Hollywood actor Isaiah Washington…(was) granted dual citizenship by Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma in 2008. This was after DNA technology proved that his ancestors on his mother’s side descended from Mende and Temne people, the two largest ethnic groups in the Country…….(Washington’s) celebrity status has enabled him to draw attention in the U.S. to one of the poorest countries in the world…The Mende people gave him the ancient title of Gondobay Manga II. The legend goes that the first Gondabay was a Mende chief who died defending his village in a battle in the 18thcentury….
“However, despite his status in the country, Washington has not held back from telling Sierra Leoneans how angry he and other African Americans are that Africans sold, or at least aided Europeans, in the enslavement of many of their own people. At the December 2008 ceremony, when Washington was made a citizen, he shocked the gathering by declaring: ‘My great-great-great-great grandmother forgives you’….Washington says controversially that in his opinion, ‘the individuals suffering in various West African countries are the off springs of those who sold my ancestors…..’”–Celebrity Talks, An African American actor now proudly carries a passport from Sierra Leone, writes, Leslie Goffe; BBC Focus on Africa magazine; July-September, 2009.
“The Gondobay Manga Foundation’.
Clearly, President Ernest Bai Koroma, is keen on using the likes of Isaiah Washington in his strategy of “rebranding” Sierra Leone. And, there are potentially twenty million African-Americans in the United States who can tapped for financial, material, and intellectual resources to salvage countries like Sierra Leone in Africa from their political and economic doldrums. What researchers are telling us is that many of the African-Americans who are doing genetic tests to find their roots in Africa are being linked to the land area where there is now Sierra Leone and Liberia – this includes media icon Oprah Winfrey, and U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama. Let’s peek into the pages of History.
During the over three hundreds years era of the Atlantic Slave Trade plantation owners in the Americas started growing rice. It was a perilous business, as malaria and other swamp diseases decimated those who ventured into the profitable enterprise. Then, they learned that their were natives in West Africa who were used to growing rice. These put high premium on those natives who were mostly found where Sierra Leone and Liberia are today. Washington descendants could be one of them. Washington is not using his new Sierra Leonean passport for show biz purposes.
Washington has founded ‘The Gondobay Manga Foundation’. This foundation has a goal to Reach One Million children in Sierra Leone over the next year. The website of Washington’s Foundation states: “The Gondobay Manga Foundation’s vision for the people of Sierra Leone is to reach sustainability ~ one village, one region, and one country. To make that vision a reality, its mission is to improve the lives of the people of Sierra Leone through education, healthcare, and economic development, one village at a time….”.
Other West African Countries Exploiting Slavery Connection
Ghana is earning millions of dollars with thousands of African-American tourists making ‘pilgrimages’ to the celebrated slave forts in Accra, Ghana. And the spins offs from such a flood of tourists for other businesses are incalculable. Nigeria is also poised to take advantage of its Atlantic Slave Trade.
One of recently deceased pop superstar Michael Jackson’s brothers, Marlon, is involved in a plan to develop a $3.4bn (£2.4bn) slavery memorial and luxury resort in Badagry, in Lagos, Nigeria. The historic slave port is to be transformed through the bizarre combination of a slave history theme park and a museum dedicated to double Grammy-winning pop-soul group, “The Jackson Five”.
The idea is that the band will help attract African-American tourists keen to trace their roots back to Nigeria. The men behind the plan say it will honour the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and provide employment opportunities for Nigerians. The Motherland Group behind the idea says the resort alone will pull in 1.4m visitors in the first year, rising to 4.4m in five years. Can we lure such mega projects into Sierra Leone using the preponderance of Atlantic Slave Trade ‘descendants’, the Krios?
Sierra Leone is tops in Atlantic Slave Trade History.
I have written in this Column before: Sierra Leone has about the richest ‘Atlantic Slave Trade history’ in Africa. We have about the largest concentration of freed slaves who now claim citizenship of ‘Sierra Leone’ . These ‘Krios’ or, as some used the world-generic, “Creoles”, are some of the most highly qualified Western-educated Negroid professionals found anywhere in the world. Take the most recent one to achieve global renowned in 2008, after recognition by one of the most prestigious magazines in the world, TIME, as one of the 100 most influential people on theplanet – Dr. Monty Jones.
The Citation by Time Magazine reads: ‘When Africa breaks free from the grip of poverty and famine—as it now looks poised to do—Monty Jones, 56, will have played a pivotal role. A native of Sierra Leone, Jones is the revered plant breeder who developed NERICA, the New Rice for Africa, a set of high-productivity rice adapted to West Africa’s growing conditions. Jones’ efforts in creating NERICA are legendary. He and his team painstakingly crossed varieties of Asian and African rice to find stable and fertile breeds that would combine the yields of Asia’s plants and the toughness of Africa’s. NERICA is now being taken up by farmers across West Africa, boosting food security and incomes. Jones’ work has also helped inspire other groups to support an African Green Revolution. The payoff will be a healthy, well-nourished continent on a path to economic development…’
Krios and African-Americans
Now, readers, let us do some interconnections. The ancestors of both Isaiah Washington and Monty Jones were slaves. At the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade, the great great grandparents of Isaiah Washington stayed in what became the United States of America; the great great grandparents of Monty Jones moved to the land that the British carved out in West Africa and named “Sierra Leone”. This writer, Oswald Hanciles, belongs to the same category as Monty Jones.. My great great grandparents were freed slaves who settled in the mountain village of Gloucester. My grandfather, V. Hanciles, moved to Bonthe in the 1920s, and had my father there, Ethelbert Hanciles. My paternal uncle is Harold Hanciles, a Resident Minister Southern Province in the first APC government; and currently Chairman of the APC for the Southern Province. His own father settled in Bo District, where he built a thriving pharmacy business. We belong to those Krios who have gotten assimilated, and accepted, by those who used to be disparagingly referred to by Krios as ‘up-country people’. That could put us in the vantage position of echoing such cries of Isaiah Washington with genealogical and moral authority as not to be misunderstood.
Ernest Koroma to be Penitent for Krios being Sold into Slavery
APC Leader, President Ernest Bai Koroma, and, my maternal uncle, PMDC Leader, Charles Margai, belong to those who Washington lashed out as the offspring of those who sold the forefathers of Washington, Monty Jones, Oswald Hanciles, Michelle Obama….into slavery. Now, President Koroma wants the likes of Isaiah Washington to help his African brothers in ‘Sierra Leone’. But, why should Washington and his ilk do that?
The likes of President Koroma must say sorry to us: For the sins of their forefathers for selling us into slavery. Penitence must be accompanied by complete introspection. Why did they sell their brothers into slavery?
The thought patterns that made possible the capture and selling of Africans by fellow Africans into slavery for over three hundred years are still present today among our compatriots in Sierra Leone. Narrow-mindedness. Rabid ethnic thinking that gets a man to be hostile to, or, hate and wage war on his brother in the next village to his. Intellectual and physical lassitude: that made it possible for Africans to sell their brothers for rum, beads, mirrors, gun powder, etc, instead of learning to create those things themselves over a period of time. History has repeated itself in Sierra Leone especially over the past fifty years.
Whereas the descendants of Isaiah Washington are relatively free, those like Monty Jones fore parents who returned to Africa have been severely marginalized – a benign form of ‘enslavement’ by those who had sold their forefathers into slavery hundreds of years ago. In the quest for freedom, in the pursuit of opportunities which freedom should bequeath, the Krios have largely fled the ironically-named “Freetown”. The best among the Krios have gone ‘back’ to the United States and United Kingdom over the past thirty years – where they have become respected and well-paid professionals. Those Krios who stayed behind in Sierra Leone have been largely marginalized.
The ‘up country’ people even forbid them from buying land in the provinces. Whereas, in the land that was ‘bought for them’ by the white man, labeled “Freetown”, the provincials are using all sort of chicanery to dispossess the Krios of their ‘traditional land’. When I went up to my paternal land in Gloucester a couple of months ago, I learned from the only surviving person of Hanciles blood-line staying in Gloucester (one Ms Griffins) that the ‘Lokos’ are busy selling the land of the Krios – illegally. When it is time for politics, only Krios like the Hanciles (and Prince Abionor Harding, former SLPP Secretary General!) dare to contest elections in the provinces – 99% of Krios won’t even think of it. Look, enough is enough!! Time to fight back!!!
Krios Should Now Hold Aloft the Freedom Banner
This is the first of my clarion call to all Krios. We have to find leadership among irrepressible and indefatigable Krio liberation fighters of the likes of PEEP publisher, Olu Awoonor-Gordon; AWARENESS TIMES publisher, Sylvia Olayinka Bylden, celebrated lawyer, Blyden Jenkins-Johnston, etc. We have to link up with our Krio brethren in Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria and in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom – and get fused with our soul brothers in Africa, in Sierra Leone in a monumental surge for Freedom. We have to lead a charge of FREEDOM for all of us. So that those who sold us into slavery would not continue creating the situation where it would be easy for them to sell us into slavery again; and continue selling more of their brothers and sisters into slavery. Krios must move out of their ‘tribal cocoon’.
Provided by : http://www.standardtimespress.org/