The Mende of Sierra Leone: A West African People in Transition

The Mende of Sierra Leone: A West African People in Transition

The Mende of Sierra Leone: A West African People in Transition

The Mende of Sierra Leone: A West African People in Transition

Excerpt

People in Britain know very little about people in West Africa. Yet now that one West African colony, the Gold Coast, is well set on the road to self-government and others may follow, it behoves the outside world to pay more attention to what manner of men they are who live there. This book about the Mende helps to fill a need. For, backward as Sierra Leone may have been since the philanthropic impulses which established Freetown as a home for liberated slaves in the early nineteenth century spent themselves, its people are sharing in the social and political awakening of West Africa. The Mende of the Sierra Leone Protectorate are a numerous and proud people, likely to make themselves felt with increasing force in the affairs of the region. The fact, too, that they share a common culture with their neighbours across the Liberian border may come to be of significance if their group consciousness should take the form of a political nationalism.

This book does not really need a preface. Dr. Little is no novice who has to have an introduction to his public. Already he is the Head of a University Department of Anthropology, and is widely known as the author of an important and authoritative work, Negroes in Britain, based largely on his own field study of the coloured community in Cardiff nearly ten years ago. He has asked me to write these few opening words here, I take it, mainly as a gesture of friendship -- especially recalling, perhaps, that for a few days I shared with him his field experiences in the heart of Mendeland. There I was witness to his amicable relations with the people, to his wide knowledge of their affairs, and to the enthusiasm and care with which he was collecting his data. Under his guidance I visited chiefs' compounds, mosques, mission schools, administrators' offices and traders' stores. I saw African soap being made . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.