Time to remember our heroes and heroines

7 December 2007 at 11:06 | 764 views

By Ahmed Ojulla Bangura,UK.

Sierra Leone, like any other Sub-Saharan African country, has a chronicle of events of famous men and women who sacrificed in diverse ways be they political, social, or military. They are our role models who deserve a place in history that is worth emulating by present and future generations. Unfortunately, their indelible sacrifices have not been given the utmost attention they deserve.

Our neglect in complimenting their great exemplary achievements erodes the sense of patriotism and identity to uphold our values, norm and beliefs. This might may be one of the reasons why most of us do not appreciate our true identity. Many of us have been conditioned to disregard anything in our country and continent as outdated and underdeveloped.

Sierra Leonean men and women have not only made their contributions within the national jurisdiction but beyond. They have sacrificed their lives to resist colonialism and slavery;protected lives and properties in our motherland during our decade old ‘stigma’ war, and contributed to a war (WWII) that helped liberate Europe from the claws of Hitler.

Today, annual commemorations are held everywhere in Europe, USA and other Western countries to glorify the bravery of their lost heroes and heroines without mentioning a word of appreciation to our Sierra Leonean men in particular and African men in general. Their efforts are slowly fading out of history and most of the present generation in those European and Western countries have little or no understanding that great African men contributed to their liberation. They have made monuments, museums and written books of praise singing about the sacrifices their(white) soldiers made during the European liberation war (WWII. No mention of black or African soldiers these days. That is their right to do it as it is a moral responsibility on us to do likewise.

Africa has one of her memorable days that could teach a lot of history to pupils in schools. That is the day of the African Child (June 16th).This day shows what FREEDOM means. The action of those Heroes and Heroines shows how a man’s best servant is himself. Unfortunately, the usefulness of this day has changed from recognition, monumental and solemn shoulder to shoulder stance with the sacrifice of those children in their struggle against apartheid to a festive jamboree in schools.

This has led to misinformation of most pupils on the significance of that day. The lack of knowledge about the huge sacrifice made by those Soweto teenagers in their restoration of our identity, rights and values in our curriculum, theatres, oral history, would send to oblivion the road to freedom and patriotism. When that happens, we limit our chances of having Africans that we can be proud of.

Today, Africa has legends (dead and alive) in political and social struggles in Africa, West Indies, and the USA. But as the saying goes, charity begins at home. We need Sierra Leonean legends to be stamped on our books, museums, streets, national parks, streets and monuments. They should be placed in strategic places and a national day to commemorate their sacrifices established.

Remember, learning is a continuous life long process that can be achieved through hearing, seeing, smelling, touching and tasting. Let us use every way possible to learn about out great men and women. Their sacrifice are golden;they can never be assessed in monetary terms.

Long Live Sierra Leone!!!