We talk about the controversial efforts to bring peace to Sierra Leone. As part of the agreement to end the civil war, members of the rebel forces were invited to participate at high levels of government…these were the same people who committed atrocities such as hacking off the limbs of children. First, we’ll speak with anthropologist Joseph Opala(oh-PA-la) Opala is an American who lived in Sierra Leone for 23 years. This past May, the Sierra Leone army staged a coup and Opala thought he would be safe in the hotel where the Nigerian General was staying.
Earlier this year, 75 year old South Carolina resident Mary Moran had the unique opportunity to go to Sierra Leone with other members of her family. Moran's mother had taught her a song in an African language which had been in the family since an ancestor had been brought over from Africa two hundred years ago. In 1989, through the efforts of anthropologist Joseph Opala and ethnomusicologist Cynthia Schmidt, it had been discovered that this song, composed in the Mende language, was still sung by certain villagers in Sierra Leone.