Kai Londo

Kai Londo

Kai Londo (1845-1896) was a great Kissi warrior from Sierra Leone who conquered a large territory and ruled with wisdom. He built new roads and fortified towns and established a new capital at Kailahun.


Early life

Kai Londo was born in 1845 in the village of Luawa in what is now part of Kailahun District in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone to parents from the Kissi ethnic group. Londo hail from a political dominant family, his father was a powerful Kissi chief in Eastern Sierra Leone. From boyhood Londo was trained systematically in the art of warfare.

By 1867, the 22 year old Kai Londo was considered top young warrior of the Eastern Province. At that young age he had already fought in several major war by the side of his fellow Kissi warriors, who were much older than him. In 1875, Kai Londo joined the famous Mende warrior, Ndawa, in a series of military campaigns against Chief Benya of Small Bo. But Kail Londo fell out with Ndawa over the treatment of his Kissi men by the Mende people. Ndawa took revenge on Kai Londo by leading his warriors into the heart of Luawa country. The Kissi elders met and called upon Kai to lead the men of Luawa and "defend their land. After a series of preliminary skirmishes designed to test and confuse the enemy, Kai Londo led his forces in a punishing dawn attack on Ndawa's camp, defeating the Mende invaders.

The Kissi elders then called upon Kai Londo to become the supreme ruler of Luawa, and they held a ceremony in which the new King was presented with a handful of Luawa's soil in a piece of white country cloth. Kai Londo immediately set about improving and expanding the Luawa State. He built new roads and fortified towns and established a new capital at Kailahun. He conquered surrounding villages and towns, bringing them under his direct control; and his rule was so wise that some foreign chiefs willingly joined the Luawa state as vassals of Kai Londo.


In 1890, a British travelling official described Kai as "powerful and a mighty man of war, but understanding what was for the lasting interest of his people...a chief who was never spoken of except in highest terms". Kai Londo died of a sudden illness in 1896, soon after a great military victory. He was among the last of Sierra Leone's great and thoroughly independent warrior kings.


External links


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