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As FCC sets to celebrate 225th anniversary of Freetown…

Mayor says Freetown is the oldest municipality in Africa

 March 9, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai

Mayor of the Freetown City Council (FCC), Bode Gibson, has told journalists that Freetown is the oldest municipality in Africa after it was discovered by freed slaves on 11th March, 1792- some two hundred and twenty-five years ago.

He made the above conclusion in a press conference organised by FCC on Tuesday 7th March, 2017.

Mayor Gibson said when the freed slaves, who were mainly Christians, arrived in Freetown, they landed at a place now called Government Wharf and went straight to St. Georges Cathedral to offer prayers to God for a safe journey.

“The basement of the Freetown City Council, which is being used as the Mayor’s Parlour, was the place where slaves were kept until they departed to the Americas and other parts of the world. When they returned, they settled at central Freetown but when the place was becoming very tight for them, they spread out to other places like Wilberforce, Aberdeen, Fourah Bay, Cline Town, among others,” he said.

He disclosed that FCC was celebrating the 225th anniversary, because Freetown was the place where the famous Fourah Bay College was situated, and that most Africans came to gain education in Freetown.

He added that the municipality has gone through good, bad, bitter and sweet times, making it one of the most resilience cities in Africa.

“To mark the 225th anniversary, we have invited the Mayors of Aliphat in Canada where the freed slaves from Nova Scotia came from, Banjul, Monrovia, Calaba, Lagos and all the Mayors of other Municipal councils in Sierra Leone, including all Chairpersons of all District Councils. The Mayor of Hull City in the United Kingdom, which have been the first significant twining of FCC for 37 years now, has informed us that he would have loved to come but on 11th March, this year, Hull City will be celebrating a significant event too. I want to use this opportunity to inform you also that 400 freed slaves were originated from Hull City and William Wilberforce, a philanthropist, whose name was given to Wilberforce village, was born in Hull City,” he said.

He said they would have a year-long celebration that would be launched by President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, noting that on Saturday 11th March, 2017, the gate of the Victoria Park would be opened as an assembly point and that participants would march to various points within Freetown including the popular cotton tree.

He disclosed that 600 school children have been carefully selected by the council to be taught the history of Freetown and Sierra Leone as well.

Mayor Gibson said the cotton tree stands to be a pride to Freetown but expressed his frustrations over the manner in which beggars and disables have transformed it into a begging place, making it an eyesore to the public and foreigners.

A member of the FCC Celebration Committee, Cassandra Garber, said the situation around the cotton tree was an eyesore, adding that the tree stands close to important buildings like State House, the National Museum, the Law Court, among others.

Giving brief background to the name Freetown, Bowenson Philip Mr. Philip, who is a member of the celebration committee, said what inspired the settlement of freedom for slaves, who fought the Americans on the side of the British, was when they found freedom and spiritual liberty in Freetown.

“Since they were essentially Christians, they took the gospel to other African nations. Freetown served as headquarters for British territory especially in West Africa. It was a place for European civilization, education, and commerce. 60 percent of today’s generation have little or no idea about Freetown settlement,” he said.

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