The Sierra Leone Web

  Hagar-Mae Godwin grew up in Freetown and attended Harford School in Moyamba. She writes poems as a hobby.  


Sierra Leone – A Poetic Tale

What happened to the "Athens of West Africa?"
What happened to "self-rule and independence for Sierra Leone?"
What happened to the ebullient slogan, "One Country, One People, Forward Now, and Forward Forever?"

Sierra Leone gained her independence on April 27, 1961
With one altruist government in office since.
Sir Milton Margai, may your soul rest in perfect peace

Selfless, progressive, and ardent, you were a dynamic influence
Leading a new nation to attain her place on the global directory
The possibilities seemed unlimited.

Alas, your passing and then the dawn of an era
Of corruption, nepotism, bribery and blatant misuse of our natural resources
Absolute power inherently became the manifestation of our nefarious politicians.

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, were a thing of the past,
Opposition parties banned, Sierra Leone became a one party state.
Neutrality was unacceptable – either join the corrupt politicians or be branded an adversary.

Thugs were hired to uphold the dictates of corrupt politicians,
Special intelligentsia units were created to harass the non-conformists,
Identity tax cards were introduced and so began the downward spiral of the nation.

Elections were rigged; opponents manhandled and imprisoned indefinitely
Incumbents eliminated, invoking fear on pathfinders who ventured to bring about a change in society.
 The reign of terror and regression had begun.

University students staged numerous rallies protesting government policies,
The army was sent in to quell rallies with tear gas and guns.
Outspoken lecturers then became public enemies of the state.

Civil liberties curtailed to the bare minimum
The educated citizens departed the land they love
Creating a monumental brain drain in the country.

Shameless and arrogant, so-called "protectors" of the motherland,
The army staged numerous coups and counter-coups against the corrupt government
Only to be found more power drunk and tactless than those they ousted.

When will this vicious cycle end?
When will we realize that united we stand, divided we fall?
Our destiny is in our hands to shape our future.

The wake-up call has been sounded and the die has been cast
With open-mindedness, a collective resolve, and sustainable peace,
This is a chance for a new beginning for every Sierra Leonean.

In memory of our compatriots who perished during the civil war,
Let us rise up from the ashes with an unflinching national pride and self-determination
Regaining the title once again as "The Athens of West Africa" in the new millennium.


Unique Africa

Africa, oh Africa,
Land of the great Pharaohs
That constructed majestic pyramids, a timeless wonder to behold.
Land of the great ruins of Zimbabwe
The most mysterious ruins on the continent.
Land of the Ngorongoro Gorge
Dr. Leakey’s discovery site of Homo sapiens’ oldest skull.

Africa, oh Africa,
Land of the Sahara Desert
The largest desert on earth.
Land of the River Nile
The longest river in the world. Land of the most thrilling Safari adventure
To observe and experience the greatest number of exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Africa, oh Africa,
Land of the Pygmies
The smallest people inhabiting the Congo’s rain forest
Land of the Mahogany, the Ebony and the Baobab trees
Unique, hardy trees of the African forestland
Land of Chaka Zulu
The unforgettable South African warrior who fought fiercely for his country.

Africa, oh Africa,
Home of Miriam Makeba, Manu Dibango, Tabu Ley Rochereau and Hugh Masekela
Talented musicians harmonizing the world with their rhythmic African melodies.
 Home of Nelson Mandela and the late Steven Biko
Renowned freedom fighters of the apartheid system that strangled South Africa.
Land of exotic people and diversified cultures
Fascinating, colorful, dazzling and very mysterious.

Africa, oh Africa
Land of my ancestors,
My birth,
My nurturer,
Your sights and sounds
Ingrained in my heart forever
Treasured memories to last my lifetime.


Random Thoughts

Revolution, the engine of change in any society,
A change for improvement and progress in the lives of the citizens,
A change for equal opportunity, growth and national prosperity for all,
A change to bridge the gap between the have and the have-not,
A change to enlighten the masses to the ills that initially sparked the revolution.

What is the meaning of the revolution in Sierra Leone?
Will this revolution we have witnessed bring about the change so badly needed?
Will it make the government more accountable and transparent to its citizens?
Will it make the government more responsive to the welfare of its people?
Only time will tell if this revolution will make a difference in the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

Revolution, the engine of change in any society provides
A chance for leaders to implement a sound educational system to enlighten the masses,
A chance to improve the health, well-being and standard of living for its citizens,
A chance to eradicate infant mortality, malnourishment, and discontent in our youths,
A chance for children to grow, aspire their full potential and become productive citizens.

Revolution, the engine of change in any society, can allow us
An opportunity to give democracy a chance in the political dynamics of a state,
An opportunity to enact fair laws to protect the civil rights of the people,
An opportunity for every citizen to be law abiding for the peace, stability and harmony of society,
An opportunity for the growth, development and advancement of a nation.

What is the meaning of the revolution in Sierra Leone?

In every town and village there is wide spread destruction of lives, abject poverty and misery.
What visions do the government foresee for the development of Sierra Leone?
What difference will the upcoming elections usher into our country?
The world waits with great expectation to witness the miraculous change in our society.


Sierra Leone - An Abridged Political Time Line

Sir Milton Margai
Sir Albert Margai
Lt. Colonel Juxon-Smith
Siaki Probyn Stevens
Brigadier Joseph Momoh
Captain Valentine Strasser
Maada Bio
Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
Foday Sankoh, Johnny Paul Koroma, Maskita, etc.

So many names, evoking different feelings for Sierra Leoneans.
What attributes do these names hold for us today?
Fond cherished memories? Horror stories and hunting nightmares?
The nation’s progressive agenda or the regression into the abyss?
Individually, we have our ideas and recollections of our leaders.

Sir Milton Margai, a time of upward mobility for the country and people,
Sir Albert Margai, a time of rampant nepotism and greed in the ministerial machinery,
Lt. Colonel Juxon-Smith, a time of strict Marshall Law and curfew order,
Siaka Stevens, a time of blatant corruption, kleptocracy, abusive power and suppression of civil rights,
Brigadier Joseph Momoh, a time of national discontent, failure and hopelessness.

Valentine Strasser, a time of military might by inept, semi-illiterate young guns,
 Maada Bio, the dawn of another counter-coup with dire consequences,
Ahmad Tejan-Kabbah, a time of profound inability to crush the rebels desecrating our country,
Foday Sankoh, a time of unprecedented terror, horrific mutilations, drugged child soldiers creating mayhem,
Johnny Paul Koroma and Maskita, cohorts of Foday Sankoh, a time of lost hopes, dreams and the cataclysmic descent of Sierra Leone.

So many names, so few recollections of justice, peace, and prosperity
What happened to the national aspirations prior to Sierra Leone’s independence?
Democratic principles were in place and reflected in our society.
Law courts, chieftaincies and district courts, to solve our differences
Law and order was prevalent in every corner of the land.

Nowadays, rebels wield AK-47’s and machetes on the general populace
Terrorizing, dehumanizing and forcibly controlling their unfortunate lives
While inept politicians promise lip service changes
Failing miserably to implement these vital innovations