As Sierra Leone marks 58 years of independence from Great Britain today, media reports state that there are mixed feelings across the country, as the major economic, social and political challenges facing the country are yet to be resolved.
Previous independence celebrations have, however, been very exciting, especially on April 27, 1961, when Sierra Leone finally got their independence from Britain.
There were celebrations all across the country. Three days’ public holiday was declared, and people were in a happy mood decorating the city with new national colours.
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Sierra Leonians who dressed up in garments with the inscription “Independence 27 April 1961. Sierra Leone” also took part in a series of celebratory events including a mass conducted by the Archbishop of York and a canoe competition and dances. Among the dignitaries were Nigeria’s Prime Minister Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
The changing of the colours happened on April 26, 1961, with the light of the British flag turned off at 11.59pm and the flag of the new independent Sierra Leone unveiled for the first time.
Queen Elizabeth II sent in her stead her cousin, Prince Edward, who handed over the constitutional instruments to Prime Minister Sir Milton Margai, to the applause of the representatives in Parliament. This marked the independence of the West African Nation.
Today, most Sierra Leoneans are not happy because their key priorities have not been met. The president, Julius Maada Bio, has, however, offered words of encouragement.
As part of efforts to commemorate their independence day, Face2Face Africa shares with you some notable personalities who are from the country: