The Make Sierra Leone Famous podcast “How Makeda Cole and SLACfest Built England’s Coolest Community For Sierra Leonean Creatives” is out now. Host Vickie Remoe chats with Makeda Cole, co-founder of Young Salone and curator of the Sierra Leone Arts & Culture Festival (SLACfest).
Cole, who was born in the UK, talks about the contrast between what she heard about Sierra Leone and her experiences once she embraced her Salone identity.
“When we had the mudslide it opened my eyes in terms of understanding the thrust and passion our people have to learn about our culture. It was a complete contrast to what I had heard from family and friends while growing up. Unfortunately, a lot of the things I had heard were negative,” she said.
SLACfest, an annual event that showcases and celebrates Sierra Leonean art and culture, began as a fundraiser after a mudslide killed over 1000 people in 2017.
“I had recently reconnected with Sierra Leone and met with people who are not just family members. I then had the urge to help people from the U.K, I ended up meeting Ciana Bangura and a few others who would become the founding fathers of Young Salone. We got together and decided on how we can give back to people back home who were in dire need”.
A radio broadcast with Makeda Cole on #MakeSierraLeoneFamous goes out on Wednesday at 11:00 GMT on Radio Democracy 98.1. Online the podcast is available on Itunes, Spotify, Audiomack, Anchor, and Google Podcast.
Last week’s show featured Usifu Jalloh, the Cowfoot Prince. Next week Remoe chats with Drizilik.
The podcast is made possible thanks to support from brand partners like the US-based air freight company DotBleu which ships packages to Sierra Leone from Washington DC; the DollHouse Boutique a household name for American fashion with stores in Baltimore and Los Angeles, and the Asmaa James Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports girls and women to improve their livelihoods.