maandag 8 maart 2021

Sierra Leonean women writers

Mijn jonge vriend Susu appt me: "Today international women's day, so no school". Een vriendin van hem die ik ook goed ken, plaatst op haar status een foto over zelfvertrouwen van vrouwen. 

Ter gelegenheid van internationale vrouwendag neem ik hieronder een bericht over van de website Poda poda is de naam van de minibusjes die in Freetown rijden. Ze rijden tussen een vast begin- en eindpunt vaste routes. Elk busje heeft behalve de chauffeur een 'apprentice' (leerling) die de bestemming roept en het geld int - met een stapel vieze verfrommelde duizendtjes in zijn hand. Er zijn geen haltebordjes en de bestemming staat niet op de bus. Op de busjes staat vaak een vrome bijbeltekst of een favoriete voetbalclub. Op het beginpunt en de tussenstops roept de apprentice de bestemming, bijvoorbeeld: "Lumley, Lumley, Lumley!" 

Het tarief wordt bepaald door het aantal zones dat je wilt meereizen: oneway, twoway, threeway. Een oneway is dus geen enkele reis maar een zone. Toen ik in 2014 in Sierra Leone was, kostte één zone 1000 leones, toen ongeveer 20 eurocent, nu nog maar 10 eurocent. Het bustarief is inmiddels verhoogt naar 1500 leones, ongeveer 15 cent per zone. 

De website Poda Poda verzamelt Sierra Leoonse verhalen. Oprichter Ngozi Cole hoorde veel verhalen in de poda poda op weg naar school. Hij vertelt: 

My name is Ngozi Cole, and I love stories. I love reading them, I love telling them and I love sharing them. During high school days in Freetown , I journeyed to school via rickety buses, called “poda poda”. I heard some of the most interesting stories of everyday Sierra Leoneans in those buses, and they are the heartbeat of my city, Freetown.

As a digital platform, Poda-Poda gathers rich stories from Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leonean disapora. Read, share, and of course , submit your stories about Sierra Leone to us at

Sierra Leonean women writers

On International Women’s Day, we are highlighting some of the storytellers who have documented the lives and experiences of Sierra Leoneans through novels, poetry and other forms of literary expressions. We are dedicating this post to all young Sierra Leonean women writers and storytellers-keep pushing, keep writing, keep telling our stories.

Gladys Casely-Hayford: A literary powerhouse, Gladys May Casely- Hayford was the only child of writer and women’s rights activist Adelaide Casely-Hayford. Her creative work spanned drama, poetry and painting. Her collection Take Am So was published in 1948, two years before her death.

Marjorie Jones: Marjorie Jones was a Sierra Leonean researcher, editor and writer. She was the assistant editor of the renowned journal, African Literature, which promoted African literature and writers. She supported the work of her husband Professor Eldred Jones tremendously, and they co-wrote several books including a memoir, The Freetown Bond: A Life Under Two Flags.

Daphne Pratt: Daphne Pratt is a Sierra Leonean literary icon, poet and educator. Her books Krio Salad and SoSo Parebul are widely used to learn the Krio language. She wrote Masire, a play in Krio which was performed in Freetown in December 2006, and Salon Na Wi Yon, a collection of Krio poems published in 2008.

Yema Lucilda Hunter: Yema Lucilda Hunter is a librarian, novelist and biographer. She has written a number of novels including BitterSweet and Redemption Song. Hunter is also the author of Biography:An African Treasure: In Search of Gladys Caseley-Hayford, where she documents the life and work of Gladys Casely-Hayford.

Dr Talabi Lucan: Dr Talabi Aisie Lucan was a renowned Sierra Leonean educationist, writer , scholar and biographer. Her work includes The life and times of paramount chief Madam Ella Koblo Gulama , Jeneba, and various textbooks for primary schools in Sierra Leone.

Amie Kallon: A renowned musician and dancer, Amie Kallon is a prominent figure of oral literature in Sierra Leone. Amie Kallon is a cultural icon and a pioneer in bringing traditional music and Mende folklore to the international stage.

Aminatta Forna: Aminatta Forna is a Scottish and Sierra Leonean writer. Her novel The Memory of Love was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for "Best Book" and was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her acclaimed memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water highlights the brutal political climate that led up to Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Samuella Conteh: Samuella Conteh is a Sierra Leonean poet and dramatist, whose rich has been internationally recognized. Her poetry collections include Love Colors and The Unsung Sung, and she has been featured in several anthologies.

Dr Fatu Taqi: Dr Fatu Taqi is a writer, scholar and women’s rights activist. Her books include Contemporary Fireside Poems: An Anthology, and her work has been published in various Sierra Leonean collections.

Nadia Maddy: Nadia Maddy is a writer and founder of the Indie Book Show Africa. She’s the author of The Palm Oil Stain, a book that documents the lives of women during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

Sylvia Savage: Sylvia Modupeh Savage: A Sierra Leonean educator who wrote several textbooks and children’s story collection written entirely in Krio-Grama Os and Stori Lɛf Pan Yu.

Marilyn Awoonor-Renner: Marilyn Awoonor-Renner was a Sierra Leonean writer and educator. She wrote Sierra Leone children’s literature classics Kamara Family and Pa Demba’s Heir .

Elizabeth Kamara: Elizabeth Lucy Kamara is a Sierra Leonean writer, poet and scholar. She is the Head of the English Unit at the Fourah Bay College , the University of Sierra Leone. Kamara is the author of Distilled : A Collection of Poems and has published some of her works in several anthologies.

Namina Forna: Namina Forna is a Sierra Leonean -American writer and author of the New York Times best seller The Gilded Ones. This book is significant as it centers a black West African female hero in young adult fantasy genre.

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