Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast Explores the Future of Krio Culture

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In the seventh episode of the Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast: ‘Krio Culture is Dying-So What?’ Our host Vickie Remoe is in a multigenerational conversation with Krio natives Bossedeh George, a tour guide and Krio language teacher and Victor Remoe-Doherty, an entrepreneur and real estate enthusiast who is also Vickie’s father. Together they delve into the state of the Krio culture, examining whether it is evolving or on the brink of extinction.

Is the Krio Culture Dying In Sierra Leone?

Despite being one of the smallest ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, comprising about 1 percent of the population, the Krios have the most widely spoken language in the country. About 4 million (90 %) of Sierra Leoneans speak the Krio language today.

Majority of the Krios are found in Freetown, where they first landed from slave ships. The Krio community is not only made up of Nova Scotians, the Black Poor and the Maroons from the western lands but they also contain with them freed captives from other African territories.

The Krio language was formed as a result of the African captives seeking ways to communicate with other Krios and the broader population of Sierra Leone as they did not understand the English language.

In modern day Sierra Leone, there has been an explosion of Krio culture. Elements of Krio culture such as Krio fashion, folktales, slangs have been widely adopted by other cultural groups within the country.

According to George, this is a good sign that the Krio culture is thriving. He argues that a dying culture is one that resists change and refuses to embrace dynamism, whereas the Krio culture is adaptable and evolving.

“The Krio culture is not dying because there are a lot of people preserving the culture, through assimilation. For a culture to survive in the 21st century, it has to evolve and has to be able to assimilate other cultures and I think that is exactly what the Krio culture is doing but in a modern day.”

Remoe-Doherty, reflecting the thoughts of the older generation, expressed concerns that the Krio culture is under threat as certain key cultural norms appear to be vanishing.

To him, these activities were unique and distinguished Krios from other cultural groups in the country. However, the adaptability and modernization of the Krio culture now poses a threat as it has become difficult to differentiate Krios from other cultural groups.

“Those days, you would not want anybody to see you in Church without a suit on the 1st Sunday of the month. And those days, men did not wear print. The only people who wore print were Krio women but now, everyone is doing it,” he said.

In the end, it was highlighted that the Krio culture is a beautiful one, rich in history and uniqueness. Despite the debate of whether it is fading or thriving, one thing remains clear: Krios are an integral part of Salone culture and identity. As our guest George aptly put it, “Krio posin nor go sell e birthright fo koko en ebeh!”

Make Sierra Leone Famous Podcast is Available on Video and Audio on Youtube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts

This episode also touched on Krio norms and family life, the Krio culture being more English than African, secret societies, as well as the withdrawal of Krios from governmental roles. To catch a rewind of the episode, click on this link to stay in tune.

A new episode of the Make Sierra Leone Famous podcast will go out this Thursday at 10:00 AM. It will be available online via YouTube, Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Audiomack, so make sure to not miss it!

 

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