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26th May 2018

Mende and Limba Writers Exchange Interesting Religious Viewpoints!

By a press release (03/06/17)

“Many Mendes in Sierra Leone practice Mende Religion, and not Christianity or Islam,” a Mende writer tells a Limba colleague.


This unique religious exchange was between Oswald Hanciles, the Guru (Krio/Mende) and Mohammed Dumbuya (Limba). Mohammed Dumbuya, do you just like causing noise?  MD: Are you a reactionary scared of any change? (Pictured:  SLPP and APC leaders L-R, Albert Margai, Milton Margai and Siaka Stevens).

Look at what you have written there: “The problem I have with you is recreation of facts.” Typically, you didn't bring out a single fact I have recreated.

Mohammed Dumbuya writes again: “You seem so engrossed in manufacturing more religious frontiers to the point of blasphemy.”  As usual, you didn't point out to a single line from my posting on ‘religious frontiers’ I have been ‘manufacturing’. Do you know what you sound like? 

Like one of those characters in one of Chinua Achebe's books who equipped with the white man's knowledge spews out series of jawbreakers to bamboozle an audience of largely illiterate people. There are VERY learned people here. There are no illiterate people here. 

You absolutely need to go and study more before you dabble into areas of knowledge you clearly are shallowly informed about. Look at your silly words: “Let me warn you that after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the whole Christianity and Christendom was united under one body of thought....” No timeline there. So, even the 21st century is ‘after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ...’. (U teacher dem do u bad bad ting! Nar for go ask dem for refund!!).

Ever heard of the period known as the Reformation in European history in the 16th century? Ever heard of Martin Luther, the Catholic priest, who catalyzed the Reformation? Ever heard of the Eastern European church? 

Fanatics; slave mentality is oozing in this line of yours: “We don't have an African or Jewish God as you will have us to believe.” Your gross mind is incapable of appreciating my literary device there. We have African Gods. We have a Jewish God. We have a post Prophet Mohammed Arabic God. That is, the way God is perceived by different people all over the world is different. Clearly, as an ethnic Limba, you are totally unaware of the Limba God; the Limba religion.

As a proud Krio-Mende, I am conscious about the Mende God; I love the Mende religion - a religion which in practice has proven itself to be more humane than the Christian religion in practice.

The Mende religion has no temples or priests. The Mende religion is within every breathe of the Mende in every second of his or her living.

When a Mende greets in the morning with ‘how are you; how is your health?’ the response would be... “Kahye ee Ngewo Ma...” (There is no rust in God).

If a Mende says to the other, “Tomorrow I will travel to Bo”; the other person would say, “Ngewo Luuma”. (If God agrees, then you will go to Bo).

The Mende mother or wife takes great care of her child, and almost equitably, feeds the other children in her household who are not her biological children.  Most often than not, the Mende woman does not engage in heated verbal exchanges, but, even when provoked, would say, “Gee Doe aa Ngewo Ma”.  (I rely on God to judge your transgression against me).

It's unthinkable for a Mende household to kill a goat for a meal and keep all the goat meat within one household. The goat meat would certainly be shared among many households in the area. When Jesus said: “If you have two coats give one to your brother who has none”... he could have learned that telepathically from the Mende people.

There are no orphanages among traditional Mende. Mende religion would find it reprehensible that children who have lost their parents are not automatically taken care of my other relatives. That is Mende religion in practice. There are no old people homes among the Mende. Mende religion guarantees that the elderly are taken care of by the young.  Even in the 21st century, Mende beggars on the streets of large towns are very rare sights - Mende religion dictates that young families that allow their elderly to beg on the streets are cursed, or, will be cursed. 

The Mende is likely to bend over backward to welcome a total stranger into his or her home - the best room, the best food; and to those strangers who choose to stay permanently, land to farm, and a wife for males. That is in harmony with the Biblical caution: “Be careful how you treat strangers, they may be angels in disguise.”

I love Christianity. I am supportive of Christians who practice what Jesus preached. But, my point is that the source of the Godly words of Jesus, are not limited to the Jew, Jesus. In other words, the essence of Jesus' words, were being lived by the Mende people long before Jesus was brought to these shores by the white man.

Let me tell you something which may surprise you. The vast majority of Mendes who live within Sierra Leone are practicing Mende Religion, and not Christianity or Islam. The adherence to Christianity and Islam is just a gloss among Mende people. I suspect the same thing can be said of all the tribes in Sierra Leone.

I aim to cure Sierra Leoneans of their chronic inferiority complex, so that they can say to the white man: “We have taken a bit from your Bible and your Qur'an and blended it with the Mende religion (or, Temne, Limba, Kono, Gissi religion, etc.)...We are going to spread our religion to you in Europe and America.”

I pause.

Oswald Hanciles, the Guru


1958 -1980


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