Ma Dengn Festival 2017 Review – December vibes in Freetown at its best

On the 16th and 17th of December 2017, Ma Dengn held its sixth edition. It was a weekend full of the best Sierra Leonean music, food, traditions, fashion, art and crafts. Here are some highlights of the festival.

Opening ceremony by the Bridge Project

A premiere for this edition was the official opening of the festival by organization ‘The Bridge Project.’ They inaugurated the event with a flash mob of dramatic performances. It was a fusion of modern cultural practices and respected traditions. It was moving to see the new generation of creatives do acrobatic stunts, fire dances and an acoustic version of the national anthem.

Salone products

The Ma Dengn festival was held at the Radisson Blu gardens in Aberdeen. The space was filled with straw huts that served as sales booths for various brands. Including Nina’s Coffee, The Warehouse and boutiques with handmade clothes and locally made beauty products. It gave the perfect opportunity to shop for Christmas presents or souvenirs.

Live music

This year the line up showcased the most popular Sierra Leonean artists. From afro-pop masters that belong to the popular KME record label, to new school hip hop artists Yung Sal and Drizilik, to Milo Jazz king Arkman. The artists were backed by the live band Freetown Uncut and gave stellar performances. But it wasn’t just the pop artists that took over the stage. One of the best performances must have been the legendary Amie Kallon, who brought along Mende devil masks, traditional dancers and her own band. It was old skool Sierra Leonean tribal music at its best.


The fashion show is one of the most celebrated elements of the Ma Dengn program. It features Sierra Leone’s leading fashion brands, including the likes of Madam Wokie and Swank Couture. There were clothes for both children and adults and the runway was backed with pumping afro-beat tracks on which the models flaunted their outfits.

Round up

Freetown in December is a capital bustling with energy and events, and Ma Dengn is certainly one where the best of all worlds merges. The crowd is fantastic and there isn’t a better place to see long lost friends (both local and JCs) during the month of December.

If you missed Ma Dengn this year fear not, you will have the chance to check it out next year.

About the author

Esther Kamara is a Dutch-Sierra Leonean that was born and raised in Amsterdam. After finishing her bachelor Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam she moved to Freetown, where she now works as a freelance writer and artist manager. Her brainchildren are otherworldly short stories and peculiar drawings of non-existing characters. Her contributions to the blog do not necessarily reflect the views of Visit Sierra Leone. Although she tried to be as accurate as possible, these observations are always momentarily and therefore subject to change.
1 Response
  1. Kay

    Great article. Hope to catch the festival in future years, I do wish they did it later in December as I know many holiday goers miss it because of the high ticket prices this time of year.

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