The Make Sierra Leone Famous podcast returns for a second season of engaging and uplifting conversations with some of the country’s brightest minds.
The podcast began in 2020 as a platform for celebrating Sierra Leone and its natives while reclaiming stories from the white gaze inherent in the post-war development narratives. We’re currently experiencing a golden age––a global cultural renaissance led by Africans. Vickie’s mission with the Make Sierra Leone Famous podcast is to ensure that Sierra Leoneans take their rightful place in this global black creative explosion.
The podcast is not the only medium Vickie uses to further that mission. She has several adjacent projects, including her children’s books, Adama Loves Akara and A Print for Ami. These are narratives for early-stage readers centering on Sierra Leone’s cultural food and fashion heritage. Vickie also founded the Swit Salone blog, which curates and reports on Sierra Leonean current events in a format that makes the country’s cultural and political happenings accessible to all, and receives over one million hits a year. Outside of those endeavors, the multi-faceted presenter and writer run a marketing company that helps African businesses and organizations promote themselves in exciting and authentic ways.
Vickie pivoted from TV to the podcast due to the constraints brought on by the pandemic. Originally a series on her eponymous TV show, Make Sierra Leone Famous allows Vickie to further the emerging cultural resurgence amongst millennial Sierra Leoneans. Podcasting enables her to broach a broader range of topics in a more in-depth format and reach a wider audience.
As well as being available on all major podcast streaming platforms, this season of Make Sierra Leone Famous is being broadcast every Wednesday on Radio Democracy 98.1FM. Season 2 represents a slight shift in direction as Vickie interviews rising Sierra Leonean stars, from business pioneers to musical mavericks. Across the season’s 14 episodes, Vickie exposes listeners to various Sierra Leonean talents. The season launched on Independence Day, featuring storyteller and educator, Usifu Jalloh. Last season the podcast lived solely online and was focused on unearthing forgotten gems of Sierra Leonean history. Episodes include exploring Freetown’s oldest church built by Jamaicans, how the Mende language spread amongst Gola communities, and ‘the untold story of Mandingos who became Temne Chiefs.’
Working alongside Vickie is a home-grown production team headed by Frankvin Bob McEwen, a self-taught engineer. He met Vickie through the free blogging tutorials that she provided in 2019. The podcast’s sponsors for this season are a mixture of local and diaspora-run Sierra Leonean businesses, encompassing a theme central to all of Vickie’s work, which is a desire to bridge the gap between ‘home base’ Sierra Leoneans and the growing diaspora. If you’re interested in supporting Salone’s rise to fame, listen to interviews with the likes of Drizilik, chef Renata Kamara and author Namina Forna via radio or wherever you get your podcasts (Apple, Spotify, etc.).
Credit: Memuna Konteh