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Local languages, food, customs & religion


The Krios, which are the repatriated settlers of Freetown, today live in the multi-ethnic country. Though English is the official language, krio, which is a hybrid language modelled on English and containing words from several West African languages, especially Yoruba, is widely spoken throughout the country,allowing different tribal groups a common language.

A total of 12 languages are spoken within the borders of Sierra Leone. Most of the languages belong to the mande language family originating from countries to the North such as Guinea and Mali. People speaking these languages inhabitat the interior of the country. Along the coast, the language spoken belong to the west atlantic sub family.

The Mendes are the dominant tribe in the South and East while the Temnes are the dominant in the North and West.

The staple dish is rice and sauce (plasas), which most often  is made of green vegetables cooked with palm oil and stewed meat, pig foot, and smoked fish. Small “cookery” shops will serve generous portions of these whilst more modern restaurants will serve you a moderate portion. Look out the streets for sizzling foods “fry fry” such as fried fish, plantains , potatoes, beans, etc. Fresh fish is also available at all the beach bars.

Modern restaurants serve a variety of meals ranging from breakfasts to full three course dinners.

Sierra Leoneans are warm hospitable and God-fearing people. It reflects the diverse nature of religion with people from different tribal backgrounds. Multicultural values, traditions and beliefs can be seen through the diverse languages a, literal arts, festivals, rituals, performing arts and crafts, traditional and religious beliefs and practices. Traditional norms and customs still dominate although there is a significant Islamic and Christian community.

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