Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Facts & figures

Full name: Republic of Sierra Leone

Population: 6.1 million (UN, 2012)

Capital: Freetown

Area: 71,740 sq km (27,699 sq miles)

Major languages: English, Krio (Creole language derived from English) and a range of African languages

Major religions: Islam, Christianity

Life expectancy: 48 years (men), 49 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: Leone

Main exports: Diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish

GNI per capita: US $460 (World Bank, 2011)

Internet domain: .sl

International dialling code: +232




Map



Leader

President: Ernest Bai Koroma

President Koromo came to power in elections

Ernest Bai Koroma won a second and final term as president of Sierra Leone in November 2012, in the first elections the country has held without UN supervision since the end of the civil war in 2001.




Travel

Visa & travel advice

Applicants who wish to receive their Visas the same day, must pay an expedited fee of US$ 50.00 and should submit their application latest 1 p.m. to be collected between the hours of 2 - 3 p.m.

Those who wish not to expedite their visa processing would have to wait three business days for the process to complete.

Those wishing to travel to Sierra Leone must have and submit the following.

TRAVEL ADVICES

  • Best period

Sierra Leone is very hot and humid throughout the year, but the coastal areas stay relatively cool. The rainy season gets to be very wet, however, so we recommend planning your visit between November and April, when it will be hot and dry.

  • Safety

The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a great deal of information about safety and security in Sierra Leone.

It can’t be repeated often enough: be sensible when you travel. Crime rates vary within Sierra Leone, so be alert and aware of your surroundings. Always keep important items like passports and excess cash in a safe place.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Sierra Leone or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.

History

The history of Sierra Leone began when the lands became inhabited by indigenous African peoples at least 2,500 years ago. Sierra Leone has played a significant part in modern African political liberty and nationalism, and became independent of the United Kingdom in 1961.

The Afro-European colony was founded by a British organization for freed American slaves on March 11, 1792. These were about 1200 Black Loyalists who had relocated from Nova Scotia after being resettled in freedom by Great Britain following the American Revolutionary War. The residents, including women, voted that year for the first time in elections for their officers.[1] Later other liberated slaves were also settled at Freetown. The people in this area developed as an ethnic group known as Krios, always a minority in the territory, which was dominated by the Temne and Mende peoples, together with several minority groups.

Arts & Culture

  • Music:

Sierra Leone's music is a mixture of native, French, British and Creole influences.

Palm wine music is representative, played by an acoustic guitar with percussion in countries throughout coastal West Africa. Gumbe (goombay), a genre more closely associated with the music of West Africa, has also had a long presence in the form of milo-jazz

Sierra Leone, like much of West Africa is open to Rap, Reggae, Dancehall, R&B, and Grime (music).

  • Literature

Literature of Sierra Leone is the collection of written and spoken work, mostly fictional, in Sierra Leone which is a small country in Africa that has recently suffered a civil war lasting from 1991 until 2002. Before the civil war, Sierra Leone had many writers contributing to its literature and since the end of the war the country has been in the process of rebuilding this literature. This is an overview of some important aspects of the literature of Sierra Leone before, during, and after the civil war.

  • Film industry

The movie industry in Sierra Leone is struggling to find a place on the world stage and the name Desmond Finney seems to be synonymous with that struggle. Recently this medium caught up with Mr. Finney at his Premier Media office to seek his views about the movie industry in Sierra Leone and his role in it.

Mr. Finney maintained that in a period of twenty-four months, about 400 Sierra Leonean movies have been produced and this was a testament to the determination of the Sierra Leone youth to see a vibrant movie industry in the country. STARCO is host to at least three new movie releases every week. On the quality of these movies, Mr. Finney states that some of them leave a lot to be desired because very few of them have actually made it out to the international scene.

 

 

  • Famous monuments

Bunce Island

The De Ruyter Stone

 

  • Architecture history

Around the capital, Freetown, the architecture of the houses is somewhat unique. Often wood and clapboard in structure, they are noticeably influenced by Krio and colonial English styles. Also in Freetown, large buildings have become a source of national pride, especially the government State House and the national football stadium, which is a central gathering place for many large events.

Outside of Freetown, the "traditional" house in Sierra Leone is a clay and earth structure, built with a thatch roof. Construction can either be "wattle and daub" (wattle is the frame of a group of poles secured by the intertwining of twigs and vines; this frame is then "daubed" or plastered with soft earth to cover it), or clay and earth blocks, which are dried and hardened in the sun. These construction techniques have the advantage of allowing the house to stay relatively cool inside during the season of hot and dry months. Modern materials are now often incorporated into building techniques, especially zinc sheets for roofs and cement to cover floors and walls. While making the interior of the house considerably less cool during the heat, these materials do allow for more permanent structures needing less maintenance.

Houses are either round or rectangular, and typically offer a veranda, a central parlor, and two or three interior rooms. These may function as bedrooms or food storage areas, or both.




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