On April 27th 1961, Sierra Leone gained its Independence from Britain after more than 1SO years of colonial rule. This year marked the 50th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s Independence, which saw Sierra Leoneans across the globe rejoice in their country’s Golden Jubilee. Widespread celebrations in Sierra Leone reflected the nation’s pride at having moved their country past a state of turbulence and into one of hope and regeneration.
In April, from the beginning till the end of the month, Sierra Leone’s calendar has been full of events planned to mark this historic moment in the country’s history And from Good Friday on the 22nd April, the country began its official week of celebration which saw crowds gather to attend a variety of events including numerous carnivals, parades, and even football matches, On the morning of the day itself, President Koroma greeted his people with a text message to the whole of the nation: ‘Congratulations to all Sierra Leoneans on our country’s fiftieth Independence Anniversary May the patriotism, unity and dedication we have shown during this great moment always abide with us as we move fifty years forward with the New Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, President’ Later, broadcasted to the nation on Sierra Leone’s Golden Jubilee, President Ernest Koroma proudly looked back on just how far the country has come in these 50 years, ‘We fought a war, but we have sustained a peace that is the envy of the world; we have had spells of unelected leadership, but we are today a shining exam pie of a country that is consolidating its democracy.'[protected]
The significance of this momentous occasion in Sierra Leone’s history was not lost in the UK, Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the UK, Edward M, Turay arranged an evening of festivity to mark the Golden Jubilee, New Africa Analysis was invited to the celebration, which was held at the Royal Garden Hotel in High Kensington
The evening brought together a diverse mix of the UK’s Sierra Leone diaspora, Also invited were key business men and women, and notable figures in African politics Head of Chancery, Florence Bangali, was also present and thanked the attendees for coming before handing over to Mr Turay who took the opportunity to address the crowd of revellers and praise the work of the APC government in working towards a new Sierra Leone, He said, ‘The Agenda for Change is a policy framework articulated by the Government which aims to put our country solidly on a path from aid dependency to a dynamic, self-sustaining economy essentially coming full circle to where we were fifty years ago at the dawn of our independence,’ The words of the High Commissioner reflect the overall wish of Sierra Leoneans all over the world, The country no longer wants to be in a state of reliance, and this now marks a turning point in Sierra Leone’s history where the country is on a road to fast paced development and self-sufficiency Furthermore, echoing the positive and hopeful tone of President Koroma’s message to Sierra Leoneans, the High Commissioner stated that, ‘The path of our nation, since that time has included significant gains, but also damaging reversals that occurred in the infancy of a nationhood, Thus, we have throughout the last fifty years been engaged in the herculean task of building a nation out of the ruins of political volatility and concomitant underdevelopment: Others were also keen to share their positive thoughts on the event Amongst the attendees of the Sierra Leone High Commission celebrations was Daisy Bona, Editor of Calabash magazine, She remarked that ‘it’s so lovely to be celebrating the Golden Jubilee; it is a great and historic event We as a country have had a lot of ups and downs what with the brutal war, but for Sierra Leone to re-emerge from these troubles as quickly as it has is remarkable,’
This proud and optimistic view seemed to be unanimous amongst all of the guests present at this Golden Jubilee reception and also reflective of the overall tone of the nation of Sierra Leone Throughout the evening there was clear a buzz of excitement in the air; this was an event of important magnitude for Sierra Leone and this was truly reccgnised by the attendees of this celebration.
The evening continued with guests being entertained by music and dancing, the High Commissioner himself even showed off his dancing skills to the crowd – and the evening was what he wanted it to be, a true celebration, MrTuray’s gathering at the Golden Jubilee reception reflected the immense sense of pride from the UK’s Sierra Leone diaspora, and everybody seemed to share in President Koroma’s belief that ‘we may not have reached the summit of our capacity, but it is in sight.[/protected]