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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE KRIO LANGUAGE, S/L LINGUA FRANCA, BEING SPOKEN WRITTEN AND READ FLUENTLY

Krio is the language that all the different tribes in the country are able to understand without translation, to use verbally at ease. The Temne communities would have been hard put to get the serious impact of the messages contained in Di San Wam or Bɔbɔ Pen, if the words were in Kono language. The Mende communities, likewise, would not have understood the lyrics of Tutu Pati or Bɔbɔ Bɛlɛ if they had been written in Limba. But, because the expressions were in Krio, they promoted instant singing and jazzing followed by the required food for thought.

With this spontaneous benefit that everyone gains by the use of the spoken form of Krio, there is wisdom in advocating strongly that the knowledge of the written form be a compulsory teaching programme to the highest level in addition to the ability to reading fluently across board in the North, South, East and West of the country.

We are aware of the inclusion of the teaching of Krio in the secondary school level curriculum; but with the proviso of it being an alternative choice, the impact of its desired success has been very weak.

An objective evaluation of social interaction among the different tribes will prove that during the almost sixty years post-independence period, the Krio language has gained the status of being the lingua franca of oral communication. The reality of this development provides the indisputable motive for positive measures to be taken for the universal acquisition of all forms of knowledge of the language to be a policy enactment.

Let us no longer be in denial of the de facto situation. The spirits of our pioneer advocates will rejoice. To recall, Thomas Decker whose translation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the out-put of his personal initiative won the hearts of Sierra Leoneans and was performed as part of the country’s Independence celebration programme in 1961 and received royal acclaim. Also, Clifford Nelson Fyle who, together with Professor Durosimi Eldred Jones, published the very first Krio to English Dictionary. Applying the gift of foresight, these personalities have left future generations of Sierra Leoneans a valuable legacy. In the interest of the togetherness of the sixteen tribes in Sierra Leone, it is the duty of our present leaders to accept the reality of this salient development. There should be no more “Ifs” and “Hows”. The Krio language has acquired pride of position and we must accept this reality.


By (Canon) Cassandra Garber

President, Krio Descendants Union.

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