RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL TOURIST BOARD SIERRA LEONE
News Release from the National Tourist Board – Sierra Leone
History is shaken tonight, our iconic heritage and monumental symbol is down. The famous Cotton Tree is fallen. This tree has been part of core tour itineraries and tour packages which served major tourist generating regions. As a sector this is a gap and a challenge time for the sector. People, tourists and independent travelers around the world used to visit “the old maa” for its long standing slave history and landmark relevance.
We must not forget that the historic symbol of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, is a large kapok tree known as the “Cotton Tree.” According to our history, the tree gained importance in 1792 when a group of formerly enslaved people settled the site of what is now Freetown. As a nation we must attach historical worthiness to this tree, with somuch positive attitude that characterized our reach history.
It is believed by some to have been the resting place for the Black Poor when the arrived in Sierra Leone in 1787. They apparently rested and prayed underneath the shade of the tree.
The Nova Scotians upon arrival in 1792 are also said to have sung “Return ye, ransomed sinners home” at this site though some views are held that the tree associated with this settlers is some distance away.
Without hesitation: The Cotton Tree is synonymous to Freetown and has inspired many works of creative art. She has been so useful In the dry season and harmattan when sheds its leaves and branches but also in the rains the tree can be admired in all its splendour. Its magnetic pull makes it an attractive sight for visiting tourists.
Our land mark must be regained as an attraction not sorceries.