Sierra Leone, Africa and DNA - Joining the dots

If you are based in the states most of you have probably heard about the Grey’s Anatomy star… Isiah Washington. He was recently in Sierra Leone filming a documentary which will be aired on ABC at some point soon. It turns out Isiah had a DNA test last year which revealed a maternal lineage to the Mendé people of Sierra Leone.

This follows the recent Priscilla’s homecoming celebration when Mrs. Thomalind Martin Polite, an African American woman from Charleston, South Carolina, made an extraordinary and historic journey back to Sierra Leone. Thomalind is known to be a direct descendant of a 10 year old girl who was kidnapped from Africa in 1756, placed aboard the slave ship Hare in Sierra Leone bound for Charleston, South Carolina. Oprah Winfrey also had her DNA tested. This genetic test determined that her maternal line originated among the Kpelle ethnic group, in the area that today is Liberia (apparently she earlier thought - or hoped she was Zulu).

Anyway, what does this mean for Sierra Leone and other African countries? It means great opportunties for greater cooperation between Africans their brothers and sisters scattered around the globe. This is one to follow with great interest as we will hear more stories such as those mentioned above in the coming years and will probably play a huge part in Africa’s tourism industry in years to come.