Facts to assist you while travelling to Sierra Leone.

 

Sierra Leone population

  • 4 million people.

Capital and Largest City

  • Freetown.

Official Language(s)

  • English.

Currency

  • Leone.

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 16:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC.

Calling Code

  • +232.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Julius Maada Wonie Bio is a Sierra Leonean politician, and the current president of Sierra Leone since 4 April 2018.

Climate

  • The climate of Sierra Leone is tropical. Although it could technically be classified as a tropical monsoon climate, it could also be described as a climate that is transitional between a continually wet tropical rainforest climate and a tropical savanna climate. There are two seasons. The dry season lasts from November to May, and the rainy season lasts from June to October. Average rainfall is highest at the coast, 3000–5000 mm per year, but precipitation decreases as you move further inland.

Transport

  • The main airport in Sierra Leone is the Lungi International Airport, located in Lungi. The country does not share rail links with adjacent countries. Because of widespread poverty, high petroleum prices and a large portion of the population residing in small communities, walking is often the preferred method of transportation in Sierra Leone. Major ports of Sierra Leone include Bonthe, Freetown, Pepel, and Queen Elizabeth II Quay.

Economy

  • Sierra Leone’s main industries include diamonds mining, small-scale manufacturing (cigarettes, beverages, textiles, footwear), petroleum refining, and commercial ship repair.

Hospitality

  • Sierra Leoneans are extremely polite and manner conscious. Locals give lots of attention to one’s neatness of dress and style of presentation, especially in urban areas. Courteous and eloquent greetings are important in their society. Elders are always respected. People in Sierra Leone are also generous, especially towards their guests. A “good” host is always a generous host. It is polite for guests to leave some food on the plate, thanking the host profusely for his or her generosity.

Greetings

  • Greetings in Sierra Leone vary according to ethnic group. In Krio, Hello is ”Kushe”. In Mende, it is ”Bua”, and in Temne it is ”Seke”.

Money

  • The Leone is the official currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The Leone is abbreviated as ‘’Le’’ placed before the amount.

Transportation

  • People in Sierra Leone drive on the right side of the road. The minimum age for citizens to drive a car is 18. Driving under influence in Sierra Leone is taken seriously, so make sure to abide by the local rules of the road. The maximum allowed speed limit is 70 km/h on urban roads. Children who are younger than 5 years are prohibited to be in the front seat of a moving vehicle.

Safety

  • Due to the high levels of poverty in Sierra Leone, it is not the safest country to travel to. Visitors face a high risk of pick pocketing and theft. It is best to treat crowded places with caution, and avoid other places entirely, if possible. Nightclubs and bars are typically hotspots for criminals, muggers, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Sierra Leone is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Although the seas close to the beach are generally safe for experienced swimmers, there has been a number of reported cases of drowning due to strong currents.

Culture

  • The two largest ethnic groups residing in the country are the Temne and Mende. Other ethnic communities in the country include the Limba, Kono, Loko, Fullah, Mandingo, and other smaller groups. While English is the country’s official language, the Mende and the Temne are the principal vernacular languages spoken in the south and north of the country. Krio is an English-based Creole language is a first language for only 10% of the population. However, this unique language is understood by nearly the entire population. Most of Sierra Leone’s population is Muslim, with the approximate percentage nearing a whopping 78.6%. They coexist with a smaller group of Christians, who account for about 20.8% of the population.

Shops

  • Sierra Leone has numerous stores, shopping centres, and malls that are modern like that of those in western countries, especially in its capital city. Therefore, shopping and entertainment should be no hassle. Sierra Leone also has some online shopping options.

 

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Part of our identity at Relocation Africa is the fact that we are multifaceted and diverse. We are engaged in numerous independent and international commercial initiatives outside of our company such as EuRA, which we are a proud member of, and we take pleasure in the satisfaction and fulfilment that comes from our involvement in external causes and activities.  

 

Relocation Africa celebrates every achievement, triumph, and milestone, and pays homage to each of them, whether great or small, in order to acknowledge their individual importance.  

 

We celebrate being a member of the Cape Chapters, which is a branch of the South African Chamber of Commerce, based in the UK. The SACC is an organisation that promotes fair trade and investment into and out of South Africa. Additionally, the South African Chamber of Commerce also acts as a meeting point for South African business in the UK and promotes business opportunities between the two nations. Prioritising South African businesses first and foremost, the SACC considers themselves to be a means through which crucial knowledge about relevant business practices can be shared, a platform through which advice and training can be offered to its members, as well as a united voice in instances when dealing with government bodies and representatives.  

 

Our director with representatives who attended the SACC-Cape Chambers launch event

With specific focus on the Western Cape, the South African Chamber of Commerce hosted the Cape Chapters launch event in celebration of the organisation’s new developments and partnerships. The launch event was undertaken by 130 guests, all of whom were prominent figures, diplomats, and stakeholders in the industry. The launch event was officialised with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was conducted by the British High Commissioner, Anthony Phillipson, and the Chairman of the SACC, Sharon Constançon. Celebrations filled the air as guests enjoyed a banquet of delicious refreshments, engaged in constructive conversations, and displayed gratitude to the long list of proud sponsors who each played a role in the success of the evening.  

 

Relocation Africa graciously and generously consolidated their position in the industry, and their keen interest in the new opportunities that this cooperation will produce, with their commitment to strengthening and establishing relationships, by being one of the many sponsors of the Cape Chapters launch event. Given the company’s allegiance and dedication to establishing international connections, as well as their location in the birthplace of the Cape Chapters, the Western Cape, such proceedings seemed fitting. 

 

Other sponsors whose assistance was integral to the success of the evening are:  

 

  • Natalie Naudé, who provided the evening’s entertainment. The Congo Cowboys kept the guests entertained with their exhilarating performances that are representative of the coalescence of African and international efforts.  
  • Frankie Bells Real Estate, for their significant cash donation that stands as testimony to their commitment to the growth of UK-South Africa relations. 
  • David Naudé, the trusted and creative photographer, and Bjorn Salsone, the reliable MC extraordinaire. 
  • Abroadscope, whose support has been instrumental in allowing for a seamless and successful event. 
  • The British High Commission, who provided the venue and refreshments for the launch event.  
  • Table Mountain water, who sponsored the water, and De Grendel, who sponsored the wines. 

 

 

The purpose of the Cape Chapter is essentially to improve economic associations and business relations between the United Kingdom and South Africa, particularly the Western Cape. Its commencement is representative of the efforts of all involved parties to promote innovation, collaboration, and trade partnerships. The Commencement of the Cape Chapters is primarily based in the Western Cape owing to its ideal location, its diverse and ever-growing business community, as well as its entrepreneurial spirit. However, the organisation has every intention to spread beyond the province’s borders and into the rest of the country.  

 

Sharon Constançon, Chairman of the SA Chamber of Commerce UK, in her extraordinary speech at the launch event, describing the Cape Chapter, said:  

 

“The launch of the Cape Chapter is a momentous occasion for the South African Chamber of commerce UK. It signifies our commitment to expanding our reach and strengthening our presence in key regions. With its dynamic business community and entrepreneurial spirit, the Western Cape is a natural choice for our next chapter. We look forward to working closely with local businesses, government agencies, and partners to create new avenues for growth, trade, and collaboration.” 

 

Apart from successful trade and collaboration, the Cape Chapters will also produce lots of fruitful benefits for all parties, including more investments, cultural enrichment, and a large medium for the exchange of knowledge. Most importantly, the Cape Chapter, and all that it entails, will pave the way for a prosperous UK-South Africa partnership.  

 

Other benefits from this initiative include strengthening the bi-lateral ties and professional relationships between South Africa and the UK by:  

 

  • Advocating for Business 
  • Promoting Trade and Partnerships 
  • Celebrating Culture and Heritage 
  • Encouraging Investment 
  • Cultivating Knowledge Exchange 

 

Our director with representatives who attended the SACC-Cape Chambers launch event

Being an organisation whose primary objective is growth, the South African Chamber of Commerce is always inviting and accepting memberships from any credible South African business who shares its interests in the strengthening of global commercial connections. Signing up for a membership is as easy as visiting their website by clicking here and following the prompts. There are multiple variations of SACC memberships to suit their large and diverse audience, including memberships for young professionals, student associates, entrepreneurs, NGO’s, SME’s, corporates, as well as platinum memberships and strategic memberships. Each of these memberships are equipped with their own advantages and benefits.  

 

Some of SACC’s most prestigious and renowned membership holders are amongst the likes of Absa Bank, AngloAmerican, Investec, and Barclays.  

 

Some impressive advantages of being a member of SACC include:  

 

  • Guaranteed invitations to all events, including private and international functions, to network and build relationships, and learn.  
  • Earning up to 10% from any commercial returns received by SACC when sourcing business leads to hand to British Chamber. 
  • Earning up to 25% of the commercial returns received by SACC when fostering direct business introduction to British Chamber. 
  • Ability to place your services on offer on the Business Hub for proactive engagement of services to other members. 
  • Involvement in projects, with appropriate praise and acknowledgements.  
  • Platform to promote achievements and accolades. 
  • Possible discounted membership or attendance rates. 

 

The Cape Chapters launch event presented an amazing opportunity to network with the representatives of those companies already involved, and we are certain that, with continuous involvement of South African businesses and the perpetual growing number of their members, there will be many more evenings like this. The South African Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Chapter look forward to many more delightful evenings and events.  

 

The South African Chamber of Commerce holds a great deal of opportunities for commercial growth and development, regardless of the stage or nature of your business – whether an entrepreneur, an SME, or a large corporate. Their website is filled with educational pieces that can benefit not only those seeking to join their membership program, but also individuals and organisations seeking to gain information on relevant topics.  

 

In another recent event, Relocation Africa also had the honour of attending another function held by the Cape Chapters at Cape Town’s very own Royal Cape Yacht Club. The evening was spectacular, with an amazing line-up of speakers shedding much needed light on important topics in the industry. From rule of law, to the best way to go about attaining a visa, and the state of the global economy in relation to industry, the conversation went above the expectations of the audience. Relocation Africa is proud to be a part of the SACC UK, and a proud member of the Cape Chapters.   

 

 

Visit their website to stay informed or join their memberships or email nnaude@sachamber.co.uk for more information.    

 

Visit our Knowledge Centre to access our news posts, exclusive blogs, and insightful webinars. To read more about other initiatives and organisations that Relocation Africa is involved in, check out our article on the 2023 EuRA Sustainability Symposium 

 

One of the South African work visa categories is the critical skills work visa, which refers to a list of skills or qualifications that are lacking in the country.

On the 3rd of October 2023, a newly updated critical skills list was published, detailing the skills that South Africa is currently experiencing a scarcity of. The new list gave emphasis to two specific skills: Veterinary Nurses and Veterinarians.

Candidate Engineers may now also apply for critical skills work visas, which was not possible before, as the Engineering Council did not issue recommendation letters for this category.

One of the most challenging aspects of the previous critical skills list was that it required the critical skills visa applicant to submit a proof of application in order to attain a certificate of registration with a SAQA accredited body. Additionally, it also required from the applicant a critical skills recommendation letter, from the same SAQA accredited body, as confirmation of the applicant’s skills or qualifications. This was particularly difficult owing to the fact that some SAQA accredit bodies do not offer the services of issuing such recommendation letters, and in some instances, applicants could not find a specific SAQA accredited body in line with their critical skill.

The newly updated critical skills list refers to proof of application for a certificate of registration with a SAQA accredited professional body, where applicable (i.e., if required by law), or a critical skills recommendation letter from a SAQA accredited body.

 

To stay informed on global trending topics in the industry, visit our Knowledge Centre where you can access our exclusive range of insightful news posts, webinars, and blogs.

 

 

 

Ubuntu is a uniquely African concept that exists in communities all over the continent in various forms. The word ‘’Ubuntu’’ itself, however, has South African roots in Nguni languages such as Xhosa and Zulu, and means ‘’humanity’’. To South Africans, the philosophy of Ubuntu is particularly special as it was endorsed and promoted by the late leader of our country, Nelson Mandela, during his presidency. In the book, Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage, Mandela defined Ubuntu as, “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others”.

 

This definition, however, cannot nearly encapsulate all the significance and power that this word holds. There is a tendency to trivialise the philosophy of Ubuntu to simply refer to being generous to our neighbours, when in actuality, it is the very foundation of any successful society. It is our values that shape us into authentic human beings and our inherent desire to be a part of a larger and more significant relational, communal, societal, environmental, and spiritual world. Another renowned South African politician, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, described Ubuntu as meaning “My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in what is yours.”

 

We practice Ubuntu nearly every day of our lives in ways that we may not know. When we show respect to elders, when we help our community, a neighbour, or a friend, or when we place the needs of others above our own in an act of selflessness, we are undeniably carrying out the spirit of Ubuntu.

 

South Africa sees a change of seasons during the month of September, as we transition from winter to spring. On the 24th of September, in the sunny weather, South Africans all over the country beam brightly as they celebrate National Heritage Day with friends, family, and delicious food. This year, instead of the usual braai, Relocation Africa decided to celebrate National Heritage Day by commemorating the concept that is deeply embedded in our heritage and culture; the philosophy of Ubuntu.

 

We took the opportunity to coordinate a clothing drive for an organisation that we would like to give recognition to. Sisters Incorporated is based in the same community as our head office, and for this reason, we reached out to other members of the community for help, thereby making the clothing drive a communal effort instead of a mere company project. We handed out flyers, spoke to neighbouring businesses, and encouraged residents to get involved in the effort. Words cannot describe the joyous feeling of hearing the doorbell ring and seeing the kind person on the other side of the gate standing with their donations in hand, or the warm feeling of recognising the good that exists in the world.

 

Love is not lost, generosity is not lost, humility and kindness are not lost. It lives here in Africa.

 

Eventually, the clothing drive evolved as we saw people bring in all kinds of gently used items of value. The staff in our head office began bringing their donations in slowly but surely, and members outside of our company overwhelmed us with the number of boxes of clothes, crockery, cutlery, crafts, toys, trinkets, ornaments, and so much more, that were being brought in. It was heartwarming to see the energy that everyone was investing into doing something for a greater cause.

 

The day of the drop-off finally arrived and the women in the office found themselves sharing the duties of packing the goods into boxes. Good actions do good things for the soul, and this is evident in the way that the ladies in the office were passing around ceramic cups and glass trinkets to be wrapped securely in newspaper and packed neatly into boxes, folding clothes into piles, and pointing out the fun crafts that would all be added to the donations for Sisters Incorporated.

 

The scene encapsulated unity, helpfulness, and companionship. These are all the principles that Sisters Incorporated represent and instill in the women that they provide care for.

 

About Sisters Incorporated

Sisters Incorporated offers aid to abused women and children irrespective of their race, ethnicity, age, or class. They work hard at providing trauma counselling for these women and upskilling them in aim to transform them into active members of the public. Part of their mission statement is ‘’We provide care – free of judgement, criticism, and bias – and aspire to empower those who pass through our doors, to become better equipped for their role in society’’.

 

Upon arriving at their gates, the ladies at Sisters Incorporated greeted us with warm embraces and welcomed us inside their office. We sat and chatted for so long that we lost track of time, with topics of conversation ranging from details of the amazing work that they do at bettering the wellbeing of the women in the community, to how our values align with one another’s, and the different ways in which any individual can help out.

 

We encourage our readers to visit Sisters Incorporated’s website, and support them in any way possible. Their staff is eager to arrange a meeting with any potential donors, educate and inform you on what they do, or even embrace you and offer assistance if you ever find yourself needing help.

 

They offer holistic care, meaning that their objective is to help the individual heal in every way that they may need healing. This means that they have an in-house social worker to help the women and children overcome the trauma and abuse of their past. With a staff of over fourteen members, and an equally sized group of volunteers, their personnel include two house mothers who rotate shifts in order to have someone on duty 24/7, in the event that any woman may need immediate assistance. They also employ a cook who prepares warm meals for the ladies and their children every day, three times a day. More importantly, they have an amazing workforce that is dedicated to teaching the ladies practical skills that they can make use of in future as a means to generate an income for themselves, such as sowing, beading, and crafts.

 

Sisters Incorporated would not be able to do the extraordinary work that they do alone. Each person plays a vital role in the success of Sisters Incorporated and their ability to provide aid to those in need. Every member of their staff, every volunteer, every woman that walks through the gates seeking assistance, and every donor, contributes to the mechanism that is Sisters Incorporated. They are a true embodiment of the philosophy of Ubuntu. In their story, and even in efforts shown by the community and beyond, lies every factor that Nelson Mandela associated with the meaning of Ubuntu: Helpfulness, sharing, respect, care, trust, and unselfishness.

 

According to the South African philosophy, a person who behaves in these ways has Ubuntu, and therefore they are a full person.

 

Ubuntu is the natural propensity of the human to establish connections and build upon them. In South Africa, it is symbolic of our ability to unite with one another in striving towards a common good, and it encourages us toward selfless acts. Ubuntu is the word for humanity in the native Nguni languages of South Africa, and humanity is a quality we owe to each other.

 

 

 

Learn more about the inspirational work being done at Sisters Incorporated or contact their unsung heroes to make a donation by visiting their website.

 

 

 

Read more on the importance of charity and selflessness in a similar blog, or visit our Knowledge Centre to access our exclusive blogs, newsposts, and educational webinars.