Traditional Forms of Communication of the Malimba of Sierra Leone


The main purpose of this work is to explore some of the various traditional forms of communication of the Malimba people of Sierra Leone. It is worth mentioning here that these modes, devices and systems of indigenous traditional communication of the Malimba discussed in this work are by no means the only ones, nor are they all extinct. Furthermore, these traditional forms of communication are also common with many other African ethnic groups within and outside Sierra Leone. The work attempts to provide a brief history of the Malimba and a discussion on the political organization of the Malimba and the Hulimba language. The work also examines the nature and content of Malimba traditional communication and the mode of control/ ownership of the communication system. Communication processes among the Malimba and many other African people are in various forms and are geared toward achieving different communication goals and objectives such as directives, news, advertising, public relations, education, and entertainment.

The original African spirit is that which cherishes the virtues of good conduct, altruism, hard work and productivity, fairness and honesty. These virtues were the values Malimba society held in high esteem and communicated to one another and outsiders. The entire community owned or controlled the communication system while the “Gbaku” (chief) and village or clan heads acted as trustee(s) and head of the ‘gate keeping’ process (cf.Des Wilson 1987). The original Malimba spirit believed and was committed to the well-being of every member of the society. The system was not competitive since it belonged to the entire community. A strategic function of traditional communication in Africa is the regulation of justice and deviance, set conventions, customs, and traditions which regulated social behaviour, harmony and stability (Bussottii (2015), pp.205 – 222). The Malimba indigenous traditional communication was people-centered, pragmatic, objective and, to a great extent, transformational. Unfortunately, with the incursion of Arab influences and western imperialism into Africa, with all their exploitative, parasitic and dehumanizing traits, came the spirit of materialism, mindlessness and egocentrism which brought along myriad of vices and traumas to the entire African society. Sierra Leoneans, like many other Africans, became indoctrinated through western imperialism into thinking and believing that everything western is better and thus went on to emulate everything Western. This work argues that Sierra Leoneans should not neglect the significant traditional communication forms and structures that have been with us from time immemorial, and that we must continue to develop, to invent and to perfect these our indigenous traditional communications and innovations. However, in order for Sierra Leoneans to achieve a true, enduring and sustainable development, we first need to set right the issues of ethics in our work and social life, and also address our patriotic credentials. Development is a matter of attitude. And for us to have the right attitude we will have to grapple with those good values prevalent in the traditional African society. The traditional African society was/is rooted in its ethics and therefore we must inculcate those rich values embedded in the traditional Malimba media and the society in general.

KEYWORDS : Communication,Culture, Traditional, Channels,Traditional communication,Development communication

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S.M.Koroma, D (2021). Traditional Forms of Communication of the Malimba of Sierra Leone. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

S.M.Koroma, David "Traditional Forms of Communication of the Malimba of Sierra Leone" Afribary. Afribary, 08 Mar. 2021, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.


S.M.Koroma, David . "Traditional Forms of Communication of the Malimba of Sierra Leone". Afribary, Afribary, 08 Mar. 2021. Web. 25 Jun. 2024. < >.


S.M.Koroma, David . "Traditional Forms of Communication of the Malimba of Sierra Leone" Afribary (2021). Accessed June 25, 2024.