Kai Londo – The Great Kissi Warrior and King Who Developed Kailahun District

Kai Londo was a man of reputable pedigree and stature. One cannot observe Black History Month without highlighting his contribution to local development. Throughout his time, he served as a charismatic and influential leader among his subordinates.

Kai Londo was born on May 18 1845, in the village of Luawa. His parents are originally from the indigenous Kissi ethnic group. Since birth, Londo was part of a very high, politically dominant family. His father was a powerful Kissi chief in Eastern Sierra Leone. As required for the sons of kings, Londo was introduced in warfare, training extensively in the art.

Around 1875, Kai Londo established friendly ties with the famous Mende warrior Ndawa, who would later on become his nemesis. They orchestrated series of military campaigns against Chief Benya of small Bo. Notwithstanding, Kai Londo fell out with Ndawa over the unfair treatment of his men and the unequal division of properties looted.

An embittered Ndawa took revenge on Kai Londo, who he perceived to be a traitor. He led a large army deep into the environs of Luawa country. The frightened kinsmen and Kissi elders suddenly met with Londo, admonishing him to lead the men of Luawa and protect the land.

Kai Londo thereby administered his men in a ruthless offensive attack on Ndawa’s camp, shattering the Mende invaders.

Appreciative of this accomplishment, the Kissi elders would ceremonially make Kai Londo the supreme ruler of Luawa. The event was filled with traditional rites including the presentation of Luawa’s soil in a piece of white country cloth to Londo.

Kai Londo embarked on massive road and infrastructural development across Luawa State. He also established a new capital Kailahun or “Kai’s Town”. Similar to his father, Kai was also very powerful to the extent of conquering surrounding states, bringing them under his political supervision and autonomy. To his subjects, they saw him as a wise and just ruler. Some foreign chiefs willingly subjected their sovereignty to Kai Londo and joined the Luawa State.

Back from military glory, Kai Londo died of a sudden illness on October 10, 1896.

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