It’s 50 years since Sierra Leone won the right to decide its own destiny, or at least that's what we thought at the time. It’s never that straightforward is it? One of the most frequently asked questions in recent months in relation to the anniversary (right up there with - how much for fireworks!?) is undoubtedly “what is there to celebrate?”. I answer that later.
I have been impressed with the amount of Sierra Leoneans that came home for the holidays and Independence celebrations. Welcome home. Sorry about the traffic, dust and road works - we are a work in progress. Before you complain, remember those of us who have to put up with this daily. After all, we’re building the roads you complain about being non-existent.
Seriously though, it has been nice to see so many long lost friends. I have also noted that we have a lot of visitors who have not been to Sierra Leone for a long time. Spoke to a friend yesterday who’s sister left when she was 2 and it visiting for the first time, now 26. Another lady in church confessed this was her first time in over 30 years.
What I have really liked too, is the show of patriotism and flying of the flag. Some even went as far as to spray their cars in the colours of the flag. Nice. Houses, hand bands, flags, t-shirts, spray paints, necklaces you name it. We draped the front of the office with our own flag too. I hope we all can continue this show of national solidarity which if it is the first consideration in when we make decisions then Sierra Leone can really move 50 years forward. Fast. The pessimist in me is inclined to think that come next week it will be business as usual.
For now though, it’s all about fun, let’s enjoy the moment. Even Easter fell rather nicely around the anniversary resulting in a week of public holidays. Thank you God.
What do we have to celebrate? We’re not independent in the true sense of the word and our country is still faced with huge challenges. True, but if we look back at our nation’s recent history, where we are now and what some of our brothers and sisters in the continent are currently going through (e.g Ivory Coast and Libya) I’m pretty sure we can find reasons to be thankful.
We may not be truly independent but we are free, and in a country that we do not need an excuse for a party it’s good to have a legitimate reason to have one.
Happy 50th Independence Anniversary everyone!