How Islam came to Sierra Leone: interview in Vai / English with al-Hajj Brimah, 1967

Humphrey’s main research interest during his 1966-67 trip to Sierra Leone was the arrival and subsequent history of Islam in that country. Here he recorded an interview with al-Hajj Brimah on 2/6/1967. Al-Hajj Brimah speaks in Vai, through a translator. He describes how the Muslim religion came to Sierra Leone: initially through the Mandingo people, who arrived from Guineau via Liberia.

To hear the interview, click on the white triangle below.

If this does not work in your browser, click HERE to open a new tab and hear the audio.

Humphrey’s 1967 journal describes this interview from page 1311 onwards: this will be added in a another post later this year.

The photo was taken earlier that year on 13/1/67, the feast of Id-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, in Klinetown, Freetown.


Atlantic currents?

Boxing Day, 2013, Howmore, South Uist
Boxing Day, 2013, Howmore, South Uist
Atlantic coast, York Beach, Freetown, 1967
Atlantic coast, York Beach, Freetown, 1967

Here is Humphrey, with son and granddaughter, on Boxing Day 2013 on the Atlantic beach at Howmore on the Isle of South Uist (Scotland) – here are Humphrey’s family (including the same son, Thomas?) and friends on York Beach in Sierra Leone almost 50 years earlier. Sand and rocks, grass and seaweed …

What should this blog be called, spanning Africa, Palestine, Canada, Peru, Wales? We thought of ‘transatlantic currents‘, but the war experiences cover Peru on the Pacific coast and Palestine and Egypt on the Mediterranean. In mentioning slaves in the context of Africa and the Americas, most people will automatically think of the transatlantic slave trade. But Humphrey’s research was on African slaves captured and owned by other Africans in Africa, drawing in particular on the extraordinary writings of the German explorer Nachtigal.  Nachtigal’s account in fact covered his travels over five and a half years in the Sahara to countries like Libya, Chad and the Sudan (including Darfur), but not his time in West Africa, where he eventually died. Humphrey himself visited the Sudan as an external examiner, a trip recorded in one of his many African journals.

Maybe an all-embracing title simply cannot capture the diversity of Humphrey’s life. (posted by Thomas and Julie)

From Africa and the Americas to Wales: explorers, slaves and war children; religions, pilgrimage and sermons.

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