Sierra Leonean Eddie Hanson Appointed Deputy Mayor of Camden, London

Sierra Leonean man, Eddie Hanson who left Sierra Leone as a refugee has become the first Black Deputy Mayor of Camden, London, England.

Eddie, who was elected councilor in May 2022, was appointed Deputy Mayor of Camden on Wednesday 15 May 2024 at the Annual General Meeting of the Council.

Picture: Eddie Hanson

Eddie Hanson is a member of the UK Labor Party, CEO of The Game Changers UK, and former cabinet adviser.

Eddie’s rise from councilor to Mayor didn’t come as easy as one may think.

Born in Sierra Leone, Eddie was one of the many Sierra Leoneans who fled the eleven years bloody civil war that costed the lives of thousands of Sierra Leoneans.

Speaking about his experiences during the civil war in Sierra Leone, Eddie said, “You don’t know if you’re going to survive until the next day.”

Sierra Leone, one of the most peaceful countries in Africa as at today, was ravaged by a civil war in the 1990s, a conflict which led to the deaths of over 50,000 people spanning eleven years.

“I was a child – I was a kid – when the war happened in Sierra Leone. I was captured as a child by one of the militia and I was taken away for quite a while. When a war happens, when you’re a child, you don’t know if you’re going to survive the next day. You don’t know if they are going to kill your parents. You don’t know if they’re going to kill your loved ones,” said Eddie.

Eddie might have survived the war, but his brother died in the war.

“My brother died. He got killed during the war, and I know that a lot of civilians came to the UK as a sanctuary. I’m very delighted to be in Camden now, and for what Camden has provided myself and my family. Today I’m smiling – happy – but things were hard. Things were hard,” he said.

Eddie family were amongst the hundreds of the lucky families who managed fled the war in Sierra Leone.

As the United Kingdom is tightening its borders and immigration laws, Eddie warns that asylum seekers faced treacherous journeys like this before they stood any chance of applying for help from the UK government.

“My family were lucky,” he said. “I’m eternally grateful to my parents and my sisters as it’s because of their sacrifices that I had a childhood that my sisters growing up in hostels Yugoslavia and hotels in Camden could only have dreamt of,” he continued.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583

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