Written by Hadi Bah    PDF Print E-mail
Obscure and unsung village is ancestral home of late President Siaka Stevens
News - Discover Sierra Leone

Most ancestral villages of a president or political leader in many parts of the world have something to set them apart from other settlements. Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire, hometown of Félix Houphouët-Boigny has the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. Yoni, home village President Ernest Bai Koroma has a university and a new road.

kabassaNot so Kabassa village. Deep in Tonko Limba territory, the ancestral village of Siaka Stevens, the man who dominated Sierra Leonean politics as prime minister and president for decades remains obscure, unsung and unrecognized. Not even a sign at the entrance to the village lets visitors know of its significance as the ancestral home of President Stevens.

Most Sierra Leoneans will recognize the name because Kabassa Lodge, one of the most luxurious and infamous mansions in Sierra Leone built by President Stevens and once lived in by Capt. Valentine Strasser, leader of the National Provisional Ruling Council, is named after the village.

Situated on the dirt road between Madina and the Great Scarcies River, Kabassa ( more photos at my (Hadi Bah) Facebook page) is as plain as any other village in that part of Sierra Leone. Surrounded by mango and coconut trees, the houses are a mixture of mud and grass thatch and mud block and zinc roof. A roundabout near two signs comprises downtown Kabassa.

Near the roundabout next to a hut stands a half painted house with a rusty zinc roof which villagers pointed out was the familial home of President Stevens. According to the same villagers, one of the former president's sons, a high official in the current government is a frequent visitor to the area.

President Siaka Stevens who liked to drop hints that he belonged to all tribes and regions of Sierra Leone was born in Moyamba and culturally, was a Mende, the dominant ethnic group in that part of Sierra Leone. Yet, when it came time to divorce himself from the Sierra Leone People's Party and his pals the Margai brothers, he niftily returned to his Limba and northern roots.

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