Sierra Leone

The Crowning of a Chief in my Village, Kona
by Abdulah Bangura & Abu Bakarra Koroma, both age 15


Sierra Leone is a small country on the west coast of Africa, just at the bulge. It is divided up into about 12 ethnic groups: Mende, Temne, Limba, Susa, Yalunka, Val, Kono, Kroo, Mandingo, Kiss, Foulah and Koranko. Sierra Leone means "mountains of the lions." Some say the name came from the sound of thunder rolling through the mountains during storms, like the roar of the lions.

This scene is about the celebration of crowning a chief in my village, Koya. In this celebration, people from other villages celebrate all together. They bring foods of different kinds and beverages. People dance all night long and there will be native culture devil dancers performing as a sort of competition to make things more exciting.

The chief waits inside the crowning room. Only after the AGBA blows his horn, is the chief recognised as a chief. So it goes on and on.

In this celebration there are some supernatural performers, if you are strange enough, you can join them.

The chief of my village has five wives and thirteen children together with twenty relatives that he cares for. They have a chief area and every fruit you can think of. They also have a water well and everything to make them comfortable.

The AGBA is more powerful than the chief himself and the chief respects him most because he serves as a general in the chief's army.

In Sierra Leone there is a museum where cultural items like bondo devil masks, clothes and other things help us trace the history of former leaders and warriors.

People in Sierra Leone also celebrate all Christian and Muslim holidays as well as events in the family.

- originally published in the Holiday 1994 issue of ZuZu

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