What are some of those objects?
Iyamide: You have these ‘Bod Os’ – you don’t see them anywhere else in West Africa. These are colourful, sometimes two-storey wooden houses, which are very similar to the houses you see on the east coast of America. This is the legacy of the Nova Scotian connection, of enslaved people who fought for the British against the American revolutionaries. They were promised their freedom, but after the British lost the war, they moved these ‘Black Loyalists’ to Nova Scotia, in Canada.
Melissa: They didn’t like it much, and one of their number, Thomas Peters, travelled to London to ask for resettlement for his people. So they were sent to Sierra Leone, to reinforce the struggling colony there. They took the design of the ‘Bod Os’ with them.
Iyamide: On display we also have a bible in the Krio language. You have the language Krio- this is still the main language spoken in Sierra Leone today. It is a mix of all the different influences of Krio culture, including European traders who came to deal on the African coast- Portuguese, French. There’s also a lot of Yoruba. The largest ethnic group among the Liberated Africans were Yoruba- my name is Yoruba, so you have Krios with African names and European names. You see the same fusion in our traditional clothes.