I have seen a lot of weddings since I was a young girl in Sierra Leone and I really use to love our weddings, but ooo yah not anymore ooo not anymore. since we started doing other people’s weddings or should I say copy other people traditional way of dressing for our weddings. Have we ever wondered why our stories hardly ever make news or they don’t make news more often? the reason being we are not original or authentic at all. How do we as Sierra Leoneans dress for our traditional weddings that is authentically ours? that as soon as a stranger or foreigner sees it they can tell we are Sierra Leoneans. We do our head wraps with gele(Nigerian traditional head tie)we spend so much money on expensive laces and to get them designed like Nigerian…The curse of social media right? everyone has a phone nowadays and can access Naija weddings. Nigerian culture is good don’t get me wrong and the people are warm and friendly. They themselves will not miss any opportunity to uphold, uplift, showcase their cultures and traditions. That is why they are known all around the globe for their weddings. They don’t need our help in selling their brands/culture, they definitely can do it for themselves. Ghanaians use the gele as Nigerians but will never see them use anything but kente(Kante) for their traditional weddings and men doing the wrapper over their bare body. Ivorians, Guineans, Gambians can all be identified by their weddings but not Sierra Leoneans. What is wrong with our gara tie-dye, our print, with our oku lapper, with our Batik, Brillion,(wi country Klos) docket & lappa, kabbaslot? We know times are changing so we should be changing with the times too, get them modernized and style in fashionable ways, work with big producers or suppliers of these materials to see how best they could be modernized adding stones, glitz, pearls, shimmer to make them attractive.
I believe as the youth of this country. Mama Salone is ours to build because if we don’t our children will suffer the most. Let us develop our identity, let’s not make the mistake of our parents, yes I know the war destroyed some of our traditions and culture the very fabric of our identity but the war is way in our past. Let’s stop with the excuses, let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves, we are known as a resilient nation we can do anything if we put our minds to. Let’s build our identity around our weddings; the way we dress as it can help promote Salone and help in tourism in a way, Let’s build our brand or rather let’s rebrand our wedding culture, let’s stop using the gele(we kin call am ashokeh! nor to we yone), let’s stop promoting other cultures and start rebranding ours in a way that can be more attractive to us as Sierra Leoneans; as we youth are the drivers of trends, the most active users of the internet and social media.
Okay, ar don tok burku gbaing…but I am truly looking forward to the first traditional wedding that will truly incorporated all of the tiny details that’s differentiate us from the rest of West Africa, Africa, and the world. The gumbay dance, Doctor Olloh music….good days huh? I miss them. I miss my people. I miss Sierra Leone #bringbackourweddings#bringbackSalone. https://dasalonetiti.wordpress.com