Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Families -- Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone -- Social life and customs, Young adults -- Sierra Leone



Physical Description

1 online resource (60 pages)


The Republic of Sierra Leone is situated on the Northwest African coast and occupies an area of 28,000 square miles. It is bounded on t he north and the east by the Republic of Guinea, on the south by Liberia, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 2.5 million people, comprised of thirteen tribes. The main tribal grouping are the Limbas, Mendes, Temnes, and Creoles. With the exception of the descendants of former slaves residing in t he Colony area, most of t he occupants of the interior are believed to have emigrated into Sierra Leone from neighboring West African territories at an earlier period. Largely illiterate and primitive in some aspects, these interior tribes rely mainly on subsistence farming. They contrast sharply with the settlers or Creoles who reside in the colony area. The Creoles are highly literate, "civilized" and practice western culture and traditions more than any other group in Sierra Leone.

Due to British policy and the obvious dislike of European influence by the inhabitants of the hinterland, it took a long time before development programs could be instituted in that part of the country. In fact, the northern tribes, the subject of my paper, because of their stranger traditional opposition to western culture lagged behind in improvement and social reforms. For instance, while schools were opened in the colony area in 1787, and in the southern and eastern provinces in 1906, the north did not get its first high school until 1950. In the first part of this work I intend to examine t he social institutions of the Northerners with particular emphasis on their family system. I shall devote the second part to analyzing the changing attitudes of literate and illiterate Sierra Leoneans from the North towards family relationships. I shall also explain how far the assimilation of European culture by these people has affected the traditional African Society. In my conclusion, I shall make recommendations and suggestions on how the two cultures, Western and African, can be used to benefit the inhabitants of the north.


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