Preserving our heritage
A heritage is something that is handed down to us by our ancestors, Heritage is something of the past be it tradition or relics. In Sierra Leone today, we often ask ourselves where are ours? When we turn around in search all we find out is that they all lay in ruins.
The jetty down government wharf and the stone bricks steps behind NASSIT building also down at the colonial built jetty are in ruins. These are monumental structures that are to be preserved for generations yet unborn to see what Sierra Leone used to be by the end of the Slave Trade for the wharf was here where the freed slaves were said to have landed in 1787.
These are important scenes where slaves were loaded and shipped to Europe during the days of slavery. Thank God, the historic cotton tree is under refurbishment by one of the leading phone companies, Africell.
The significance of those relics we got through our jagged history from colonial days cannot be overstated. These need to be preserved for our unborn children and those that are interested in our murky history to also benefit. Truly, they are an integral part of our history and deserve to be treated as such.
But in Sierra Leone today, we are gradually wiping them off sights. Preserving our heritage could serve as a tourist attraction and even generate income for this country. Why have we forgotten our past and the horrendous act of slavery so soon? In very recent times the newly elected American President Barrack Obama paid a swift visit to Ghana just to see the slave dungeon at Elimina in Cape Coast. The Cape Coast Castle in Ghana was the place used by slave’s merchants to transport slaves to Europe and America.
Would it not have been a pride for Obama to have visited Sierra Leone and a have quick glance at our slavery heritage at Government Wharf and other places in Freetown? Other places like Bunce Island still have relics of slave chains and slave forts. The rapid extinction of these slave heritages sends the feelings that we don’t care about our past; it might as well be that our ancestors are not happy with us for this wanton destruction of our heritage.
Furthermore, Sierra Leone being one of the first slave ports in West Africa where slaves were set free in December 1787, we should have at least some gothic monument to show for it. With the elimination of these relics of slavery, many Sierra Leoneans don’t see what we have in our national museum. All over the world preserved relics of the past are on show, but what we have in our national museum are just mask devils and lanterns and they could be found anywhere in this country.Â It’s about time we start thinking about our culture and heritage before both disappear.
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