ON PETER CONTEH AND "DIAMONDS ON THE SOLES OF HER SHOES"

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So after viewing a copy of Peter Conteh’s film “DOTSOHS”, I thought he’d be a really good person to bring to my school in my never ending effort to spread the word about Sierra Leone and share all the love and some of the frustration with others. So I went through this not so difficult process with the administration at school and got the school to fork over some dollars to bring Mr. Conteh or as I will come to know him “Sneaky Pete” to Haverford.
He was to be here a week and to talk for about 30mins after showing his film but that wasnt till Thursday and he got here on a MOnday. I went to meet him in Philly…(i was late ofcourse but thats nothing new). What I discovered in the week that was to follow was a brilliant, energetic, down to earth, opinionated and wonderful young lad. I thought his film was great but him Peter the person was even better……I now have countless memories of jokes and stories that i will tell national enquiry when Peter becomes a World reknown film maker.

What I need to confess is that because of my closed minded and somewhat over racialized American mentality, I must admit I was a little dissapointed when i found out that Peter was “biracial”…(i term i would later learn was a little crass and dated….and have denounced for a more appropriate ” dual heritage”) because I thought that would lessen his love for Sierra Leone or make him different or confused or someother ideas i had. And even if his love for Sierra Leone was different from mine. Why should i expect everyone to feel the way i do?….(one of my countless faults i’m sure). Anyways, to get back on topic, Peter succeeded in breaking any prejudices i might have had in this regard and left me even more amazed at the different dyanmics or variations of people and THE INFINITE FLUIDITY OF IDENTITY.

For example, whereas I had this undying love for Krio language Peter who partially grew up in BO would have none of that. Matter fact, he had no love of krio at all ( even though i think its cause he doesn’t have dem krio linguistical machinations). Anyways, so this really left us divided over some Sierra Leonean issues and many of the other loaded topics we took on for discussion, as I have a predominantly Freetown/American upbringing and him with his BO/British Background.

All in all….I had a fantastic time getting to know Peter and teaching him some American slang and him passing on some words from the Great Isle, WICKED!!! After all was said and done however, it wasn’t Sierra Leone that bridged the gap between us…but…MUSIC…his and mine undying appreciation for sound and rhythm…which is inevitably a manifestation of those age old African sounds….beats….and motions…

So yeah see the film…..there is a link to it somewhere on line (i’ll put it up if Peter gives me permission) or just send him an email peter.conteh@gmail.com and he’ll give it to you. Here are some pics he took in Kono i think and A photo of me and Peter in Philly the day he left to go back to MANCHESTA!!! MUCH LOVE TO PETER CONTEH AND ALL THE BEST ON THE JOURNEY TO BECOMING THE NEXT SEMBENE OUSMANE OR MAYBE EVEN BETTER!!

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Vickie Remoe is a Marketing Communications Specialist, a business consultant, and an entrepreneur with 7 years of experience. She also holds a M.S. Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.