When was the last time that you in the diaspora went out of your way to patronize a Sierra Leone owned business? Or sat down and watched an hour of Sierra Leone TV? Or listened to some Sierra Leonean artists music? When was the last time that you instead thought negatively about Sierra Leone music, TV and businesses? Chances are you are more likely to have done the latter more recently than the former. The truth is we all decry that Sierra Leone business is mediocre but we don’t go out of our way to help make it better.
How can we make it better you are wondering?
By consistently consuming more of it, providing more feedback and demanding better quality. We don’t solve the problem by ignoring it. Or having preconceived negative opinions.
Businesses, artists, television are all trying. They want your attention and business. So we come across flyers and people promoting every bit of what they do. But often times we disregard and compare these businesses to others; instead of patronizing them and providing constructive feedback where necessary. And demanding improvements.
The idea for this post came to us even before I came across this tweet. But someone said “See you country like a baby that needs to seat, crawl, walk, grow, talk, trained and cared for Especially! #SierraLeone”. This quote struck us as true. A loving parent nurtures their child to develop and grow. Sometimes your baby is a wiz and picks up all these developmental areas without much effort from you. Other times you have to nurture and prod them to achieve these developmental milestones. What you don’t do is just ignore them. And ignore is what a lot of Sierra Leoneans do to Sierra Leone business. They disregard Sierra Leone forms of business and compare our businesses to Nigeria’s or Ghana’s for example. We should also be proud of what we are doing and show support. The lack of support from the community can be disheartening and as such we may end up losing people who are truly talented and can contribute to Sierra Leone’s development through their talent/skill.
Much like Nigeria, South Korea has increased their recognition and visibility in the world through music and television. Both country have helped shaped their image to the world through these industries. You can now hear Nigerian artists Davido’s song on popular radio stations in the U.S. Korean dramas have helped shaped our perception of Korea as a wholesome, wealthy and family oriented society which has boost tourism and interest in the country. BTS, one of South Korea’s boybands is very popular worldwide. On BellaNaija you can find the most opulent weddings that sometimes leave you truly amazed. What would have happened if Koreans didn’t watch their television shows? Would producers have continued to produce one after an other to meet the demand and along the way make great improvements? Possibly not.
With Sierra Leoneans we are so used to not supporting our industries that many great or promising things go overlooked and unnoticed. That is slowly changing and we acknowledge that but it is still the attitude that “wans na salone business…” implying that it will be mediocre. It is time that we change this attitude and start taking ourselves and our businesses seriously. Expecting great things from them and holding them accountable when they don’t meet our expectations.
If there’s one takeaway from this post, one action item, that you the reader can do to start working on whatever preconceived notions you may have about Salone business, do this. Download the Limey Social app for free in the App Store and Google Play (no this post is not sponsored). Once you download the app use this app and all its features to keep up with what is going on in Sierra Leone. Develop a habit of checking in atleast once a day. No the app is not perfect but it offers a lot of useful features. Do this with a positive and open mind and see if your attitude will not start to change.