serving the Sierra Leone community worldwide
Sierra Leone its POPULATIONThe population of Sierra Leone now exceeds six million - the highest density being in the Western area whilst the lowest is in the more remote northern and eastern parts of the country. Freetown, the country's capital is also the commercial and education centre. Sierra Leone consists of approximately twenty ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs, the two largest of these being the Mende and Temne, about equal in number representing sixty per cent of the country's population. The Mende language predominates in the south, the Temne likewise to the north. About 10 per cent of the population is Krio, descendants of freed slaves who came to Freetown from the West Indies, North America and Britain; their language being the lingua franca of Sierra Leone. However, the official language of Sierra Leone is English. Other elements of Sierra Leone citizenry originate from other West African states, Lebanon, Pakistan and India.
With regard to religion in Sierra Leone, the predominant faith is that of Islam, which is practiced by around sixty per cent of the population - strongest in the Northern Province. Mainly in the Southern Province and Freetown area, Christianity has a 30 per cent following whilst ten per cent observe traditional African religions.
Unlike so many other countries in today's world, the religious mix of Sierra Leone is of no local consequence in as much as everyone gets along just fine - a Muslim's closest friend will often be a Christian and vice versa and, notwithstanding the countries recent problems, this fact represents such a refreshing social scenario, and something much of the world would do well to take on board.
Whilst Krio customs are partially derived from Victorian England with something of an affinity to Western cultures, tribal customs can differ greatly. For example, secret organisations including the women's Bundu and the men's Poro societies, among others, play an important role in tribal life.
Attire will differ dramatically between the urban and rural areas of Sierra Leone with many in Freetown wearing western styles of clothing during the week, relaxing in African style over the weekends. In more rural communities, people wear more of a tribal style local to their area.