It is an open secret that a huge percentage of Sierra Leoneans lack knowledge about the history of the country, especially as related to the days of Her Majesty’s Protectorate.
This reality has adversely impacted on the nation and it is sad to note that not much is being done to reminisce the past and educate the Sierra Leonean populace about the country’s pre-independence history.
A popular reggae legend once said: “If you know your history, you will know where you are coming from”. This has also been buttressed by a popular adage that states: “You need to know where you are coming from if you want to progress in life”.
With the aforementioned reality, it is clear that Sierra Leone will remain static in terms of development if efforts are not intensified to keep the citizens abreast with the nation’s past.
As the nation commences a year-long commemoration of its 50th Independence Anniversary, there could be no better time to promote the history of Sierra Leone than now.
This is one such period that the young generation could be adequately informed about Sierra Leone in the colonial era.
Recognizing the importance of the aforementioned, a son of the soil called Siaka Kroma, recently jet into the country from Nairobi to formally launch a novel titled: “Gomna’s Children”.
The novel authored by Siaka Kroma depicts Sierra Leone during the colonial era. The book launch took place on Thursday 6th January 2011 at the British Council Hall, Tower Hill in Freetown, and the occasion was graced by imminent personalities in the country.
Gomna’s Children highlights the participation of Sierra Leone during the Second World War; a reality that many citizens are oblivious to.
The novel features three main characters – Jemisi Gomna, chief of Maino, a small town in the hinterland, and two of his children, Jusu and Kava.
Siaka Kroma narrates the pre-independence story of Sierra Leone through the fictitious Chief Gomna’s family.
The book explains the introduction of education in Sierra Leone by the ‘Whiteman’. The people by then considered education as inconsequential. It introduction was therefore a major challenge for the locals. Attempts to kick against the idea were rebuffed and the locals reluctantly accept the concept.
The two children of Gomna – Jusu and Kava – were sent to school on separate intervals. Jusu, who was first to attain the ‘white man’s’ education later joined the army and represented Sierra Leone during the Second World War in Europe in 1939. Kava also received education but remained in Sierra Leone.
On his return after the Burma war, Jusu found it difficult to adapt to the culture of his people. He was now more educated and exposed that he found it difficult to endure the culture and tradition of his people, though he was once part of such beliefs and practices.
It reached a point when the locals decide to teach Jusu a lesson to respect tradition. But when he finally succeeded in blending the ways of his people with his education background and international exposure, he became an agent for change in his community.
Gomna’s Children consists of eight chapters and provides an interesting reading due to the simplicity of language used and the concise but perfect sequence of the narration.
The young generation must be taught about the country’s history so they will know where they are coming from, and the book titled Gomna’s Children guarantees such education.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.