DEAR SIERRA LEONE, LET’S HAVE A HEART TO HEART SESSION
October 13, 2020
Dear Sierra Leone,
I write this letter in a complete state of dilemma.
On one hand, I am optimistic about the future I perceive through the amazing young female leaders I have had the opportunity to meet and network with.
And on the other hand, I am afraid that our lack of structure in all facets of society; from our individual failures to take responsibility (our huge sense of entitlement) to our gross misunderstanding of leadership and honesty will consistently impede our ability to grow and build a nation that is fully united irrespective of who our political leaders are.
As I write to you, I realize that we have more work to do and very little to celebrate. But like many other countries across the region, our problems are not unique, it is our unwillingness to fight and sustain positive change that poses to be our primary challenge.
This brings me to the numerous times I have seen people sabotage the good works of their compatriots because they lack personal gains. In the same vein this very generation is filled with people that deem themselves extra or of a superior class without anything to show for it.
As I walked the streets of Freetown, I was not surprised to notice that the backbone of our society (the young people) are receiving constant battering from politics and the societal pressure of becoming. Seemingly quite an entitled lot, the balance between receiving support and being entitled remains very disproportionate.
While there are many ills ranging from the senseless and rather blind loyalty many of us have aligned to political powers; to the constant fight amongst ourselves to be seen. What breaks my heart the most is our collective inability to move from our comfort zones and stand for something.
Very recently, I had set up meetings to meet specific people whose interest for excellence goes beyond Sierra Leone, and coincidentally, all of them were women. It was at this point I realized that women are becoming more engaged in operating businesses that have the absolute tendency to create more impact in and sustain our economy- “The Sierra Leonean Economy is FEMALE”.
Like many African countries, the need to be seen as progressive when not actualizing any progress is indeed not a strange phenomenon. From activism to entrepreneurship, to politics and the private sector, from public life to private life, what it seems we truly care about is the desire to be seen, be powerful and affluent without the accompanying impact.
Until we are deliberate in our actions, consistent in our fight for a better life, hold ourselves accountable for our actions, genuinely support our own, understand the dangers of entitlement, understand that our problems hardly start with politicians but ourselves, we will not be able to live fully.
Our friends in Nigeria through a very structured and consistent fight devoid of politics are almost at the brink of winning the fight against police brutality, whilst we cannot say the same in the fight against corruption and many more that needs a collective voice. We can only win if we learn to use our collective voices to tear down those systems costing our lives. “TRUE” service must become our mantra, with an emphasis on TRUE.
Sierra Leone, it breaks my heart to cut my letter short, primarily because I have seen firsthand the misguided view of our young people that do NOT cultivate the habit of reading. And since I do not want to bore you, I think this will be the end of the letter.
However, please understand that while I have intentionally talked through sensitive issues in plain language, it does not make our problems less sophisticated nor does it make the needed solutions easier to attain.
For further consideration, I hope you look out for George Shadrack Kamanda’s new book “CITIZENSHIP REIMAGINED” as I do. I have heard great stories about the lessons to be learned from it, in becoming responsible citizens.