April 27 – Independence Day in Sierra Leone and Togo

Posted on April 27, 2016

Two West African nations celebrate their independence today.

Here's a difference:

Togo became independent of France on this date in 1960, and Sierra Leone became independent of the United Kingdom on this date in 1961. Because of this difference, Togo's official language is French, and Sierra Leone's is English.

Here's a similarity:

Both countries celebrate in typical ways: speeches by government officials, marches and parades, work holidays and gatherings and banquets.

Here's a difference:

Togo relies mostly on agriculture, but Sierra Leone is rich with mineral wealth, such as diamonds, titanium, bauxite, rutile, and gold. The latter is also blessed with one of the world's largest natural harbors.

Here's a similarity:

A majority of the people in both nations are poor, and life expectancy in both nations is low, people averaging lifetimes of only 56 or 57 years. These sad truths must stem partly from the fact that both nations were ravaged by centuries of slavery and partly from the fact that the governments of both nations have been unstable; Togo suffered from a military coup and 38-year dictatorship, and Sierra Leone suffered from a deadly civil war and the recent Ebola outbreak.

And here are some interesting things to see in Togo and Sierra Leone:

TOGO - Koutammakou, land of the Batammariba, with their two-story mud “tower houses”

SIERRA LEONE – Bunce Island features a British “slave castle” – thankfully, now long unused and being reclaimed by the forest!

TOGO - The fetish market, where you can buy feathers, skulls, skins, and herbs

SIERRA LEONE – Outamba-Kilimi National Park features loads of wildlife plus ancient rainforests

TOGO – The Grand Marche, an open-air market extraordinaire!

SIERRA LEONE – The “banana islands” are rather banana shaped – and lovely!

TOGO – Hikes and sights near Kpalime

SIERRA LEONE – Lumley Beach is becoming far more developed, but parts still look like this

To learn more about Togo, check out this earlier post. And this post is about Sierra Leone.

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