People in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leoner would be the correct name for the
people of the country. For them, however, their
ethnicity is more important than their nationality. A
total of 16 peoples live in Sierra Leone.
The Temne and Mende people make up the majority of
the population with 35 and 31 percent respectively. The
Temne live mainly in the west and north of the country,
the Mende in the south and east. Mende (like the
Mandinka) belong to the Mandé peoples. Minorities are
the Limba (8 percent) and the Kono (5 percent). Mandinka,
Loko and Creoles each have 2 percent of the population.
The Creoles are descendants of freed or escaped
slaves from the West Indies such as Jamaica and the
United States. Great Britain also freed many slaves from
slave ships after abolishing slavery in 1808 and brought
them to Sierra Leone. Between 1787 and around 1855 a
particularly large number of these freed slaves came to
Sierra Leone. Many of these freed slaves settled in
Freetown. This is one of the reasons why the city got
its name: the city of the free. The Creoles had close
ties to the colonial power Great Britain. They held high
positions in politics. Their language Krio is based on
42 out of 100 people in Sierra Leone live in the
city. So the majority live in the country. However,
people always move to the cities.
The children of Sierra Leone
Each woman in Sierra Leone has an average of 4.3
children. That is much. With us, each woman has an
average of only 1.4 children. Children and young people
in Sierra Leone make up a large proportion of the
population. A little more than half of the population is
under 18 years of age.
Infant mortality is 3.3 percent, child mortality 7.8
percent (as of 2018, ours: 0.2 and 0.3 percent). That
means: more than three out of 100 newborn children die,
almost eight out of 100 do not celebrate their first
birthday. Sierra Leone has the fifth highest
five-year-old mortality in the world (10.5 percent). The
numbers may have gone down over the past few decades,
but they're still way too high.
Languages in Sierra Leone
The official language is English and so classes in
the school are also in English. The most common
language, however, is Krio. This is a Creole language
based on English and adopted African elements,
especially from the Yoruba and Igbo, as many freed
slaves belonged to these peoples. But French and
Portuguese words also had an influence on Krio. The Krio
word pickin, for example, comes from the Portuguese
pequeno (small) and means child.
Krio is used today as the lingua franca with which
the different ethnic groups communicate with one
another. 10 percent of the population speak Krio as
their mother tongue, almost the entire rest of the
population speaks it as a second language.
How is Krio written?
Krio is written in Latin letters. There are no Q and
X, but three letters from the African alphabet: Ɛ, Ŋ and
Ɔ. Written it looks like this, for example: Ɛvribɔdi bɔn
fri ɛn gɛt in yon rayt, nɔn wan nɔ pas in kɔmpin. That
means: Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and
If you want to say hello to someone, it means: Kushe
. And Wetin na yu nem? means "What's your name?" You
then answer, for example, Mi nem Jemz. ("My name is
James."). By the way, the girl's name is Titi and Bobo's
name is boy.
Languages of the People
But every people in Sierra Leone also has its own
language. Since Temne and Mende make up more than 60
percent of the population, their languages are also
the most widely spoken: Temne more in the west and
north, Mende in the south and east.
Religions in Sierra Leone
71 percent of the population of Sierra Leone are
Muslims, so they belong to Islam. Christians are 27
percent, the majority (18 percent) are Protestants. The
remaining 2 percent follow traditional religions or do
not profess any religion.