CULTURE! The Oxford dictionary defined it as “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and the Cambridge dictionary puts it as “The way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. People identify themselves along cultural lines and strong bonds are formed through generations. Culture is as old as humanity itself but has been misunderstood or misrepresented.
It is usually said that a person will not know where they are going unless they know where they come from. This to my interpretation fits the bill for knowing your heritage culture. I also believe that every group of people practice some form of culture possibly passed down to them. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, from art and architecture to the songs we listen to, from things relatively insignificant as a gift to more important things such as a language all contribute to defining our culture.
It was about 35 degrees Celsius on a Thursday afternoon when the vehicle I was travelling in pulled up to a gate in Aberdeen, West of Freetown. I chuckled and said to my drive “we don reach sef?”, which translates as “are we here already”. Either I was too busy on my laptop to notice the drove from IMAT (where I was stayed for my holiday), or the journey was much shorter than I anticipated.
By the time the gatekeeper opened the gate to let us in, I was already out of the vehicle and trying to figure out where the reception area was. I absolutely dislike sitting in a vehicle waiting for gates to be opened, drivers to park properly or even being held up in the Freetown traffic. In fact I do not like to be chauffeured around but as someone who cannot drive, I have very little choice in the matter. As a result, I try to spend as little time as possible in any vehicle. The minute I sense there could be a slight hold up, I am out of the vehicle walking towards my destination.
Freetown! What can I say about this beautiful city that has not already been said? Apparently there is a lot more but I’ll save that for future posts as I have so much more to share with you all.
For now, I am just going to share a few photos I took during one of many family vacations to this wonderful city. Before I leave you to enjoy the pictures, here are a few facts about this historically rich and important city.
– Freetown is the capital city of Sierra Leone.
– European explores first reached Freetown in the 15th century
– Freetown was had the first colony of freed slaves in Africa, dubbed the “Province of freedom”.
– Has the largest natural harbour in Africa
– Has West Africa’s oldest university, Fourah Bay College, established in 1827
– Population of a little over 1.2 million
– In a recent research, Sierra Leone is listed second on the list of countries with the best diets in the world.
This is what lonely planet has to say about Freetown. “And it might just be the only capital in the world where when you emerge from the airport, blinking after an overnight flight, you find yourself standing on the wooden deck of a port flanked by a backdrop of mountains, beaches and palm trees so idyllic you wonder if it’s real. Well it’s all real, all of it – the chatter and the chaos and the colour and the dirt and the lush lobster dinners and the devastating war history – and those lovely white sands too”. Need I say any more?
So when planning your next holiday, think outside the box and consider Freetown. The fact that it might not be the obvious choices for first time visitors makes it even more thrilling and satisfying to anyone that makes the leap of faith.
Just a quick note to say that the photos below do not cover the entire city and were taken at only two out of many beautiful beaches that dots the Freetown peninsular. Come back soon as I will be sharing my experiences with a bit of rich history of Freetown and its surroundings backed with beautiful pictures.