Maria’s great grandfather! – The late Imam of Lalehun, Alikaly Fofana.
Introducing Maria’s great grandfather on her fathers side. Alikaly Fofana came from Guinea and was of the Susu tribe. The Susu are descendants of their Manding ancestors who originally lived in the mountainous Mali-Guinea border.
Maria’s great grandfather was the Imam of Lalehun. It is most commonly used as the title of a worship leader of a mosque and Muslim community. In this context, imams may lead Islamic worship services, serve as community leaders , and provide religious guidance. Alikaly Fofana was a talker and loved to converse. He was considered a very wise man in his old age and many people would seek his counsel.
Religious tolerance is something Sierra Leone can be proud of, we fight each other for many reasons but religion is not one of them. Maria was raised as a Muslim then became a Christian, got married in a church. Her entire family are Muslims. It’s simply not an issue. We share the same values.
About 60% of Sierra Leone is Muslim, 20 – 30% Christian, and 5- 10% indigenous and other religious beliefs.
Lalehun is located 40 km (approx. 1.5 hours) from Kenema in Gola Central. There is a network of trails that offers opportunities for trekking and camping in the forest and viewing rare wildlife such as the White-necked Picarthartes, Gola Malimbe and African Buffalo, as well as various primate species. Visitors are also able to visit an incredible viewpoint overlooking the primary forest.
Don’t miss the `Gola’ masked devil dance performed by Lalehun villagers, arranged for upon request.
Thank you Oma Gerda for sharing the family history. Hugely appreciated.