It’s been an interesting year. I could use many words to describe 2020, but let’s just leave it at “interesting”. One thing 2020 taught me, though, is that we are not in control as much as we think we are or would like to be. Despite the turbulence of 2020, I am grateful that God kept me steady. I haven’t been that good at documenting my time back home in Sierra Leone, and in the spirit of gratefulness, I’d like to share some 2020 highlights.
I challenged myself to perform at the Vagina monologues-and I did! I was a bunch of nerves and my legs were trembling, but I did it. Femme Collective does the Vagina Monologues in Freetown every year in February, and in 2020, I read out two poems I wrote ( Wam Pepe and A Bin Smɔl).
In February, I took part in a leadership fellowship ( African Women’s Leadership Institute) with Akina Mama Wa Afrika and African Women’s Development Fund in Accra. It was so great to be in a space with other feminist sisters and refreshing to talk about our shared experiences as young women trying to dismantle patriarchy in our countries. There was also a lot of focus on self-care, and I also tried a different type of yoga for the first time, with the help of an amazing instructor who was a part of the workshop.
Podcasts– I am so happy that Sierra Leone is doing well on the podcast scene, and it was an honor to be interviewed by two platforms I really admire-Boku Tok Podcast and Y Square Pod. Check out the interviews here and subscribe to these podcasts!
Poda-Poda Stories– ” No matter what, art and creativity can still shine through” sums up Poda-Poda Stories this year. We shared work from Sierra Leonean poets and writers, shared some historical facts about Sierra Leonean creatives on social media, and Africa’s leading literary blog, Brittle Paper recognized us. It was also a great year for interviews, and I am grateful to writers like Pede Hollist, Ishmael Beah, Oumar Farouk Sesay, and Nadia Maddy, who shared their light with us.
SLACFEST– Young Salone are great ambassadors of Sierra Leone and it was an honor to take part in their annual celebration of Sierra Leonean culture and history at SLACFEST, as a panelist and a host. I interviewed the publisher of Sierra Leonean Writers Series, Professor Osman Sankoh (Mallam O), who shared his journey as publisher and editor and the future of publishing in Sierra Leone.
Advisory Committees– I was invited to serve on two advisory committees this year: The Young Feminist Fund (FRIDA) global advisory committee, and Girl to Girl (G2G) Empowerment in Sierra Leone. It’s really exciting to be a part of organisations and movements that advance the rights of women and girls.
I served as a judge for the National Essay Competition (NEC) organised by UBA Sierra Leone and the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. This is a great initiative wherein the top three winners got a scholarship of Le 50,000,000, Le 30,000,000 and Le 20,000,000 respectively, from the UBA foundation. I was blown away by most of the essay entries, and I hope this can revive a culture of writing in schools .
In 2020, I learned to just let go of things I couldn’t control and make the best of what was within reach, and I am taking that with me into 2021. To family and friends who made the journey of 2020 easier to bear, thank you .
May 2021 be kind to us all.